April 20 – 27, 2013 is National Volunteer Appreciation Week – and we have a special appreciation for the volunteers who help us here at our clinic in Waynesboro! Scores of volunteers donate their time and services at the Wildlife Center in a variety of ways – cleaning animal enclosures, feeding orphaned wildlife, assisting the veterinarians with daily treatments, transporting patients to and from the Center, and more!
As we honor our hard-working volunteers this week, we asked them: Why do you volunteer at the Center? What keeps you coming back? Throughout this week we’ll share their responses on our blog.
Interested in volunteering with us? Learn more!
This post is from Animal Care volunteer Angel. Angel has been volunteering with the Wildlife Center since 2012:
I live about 20 minutes away from the Wildlife Center. I knew the Center was in Waynesboro - I have taken a critter or two there and even watched when there was a TV program on Animal Planet. But I did not really become familiar with the Wildlife Center until the tragedy in Norfolk in 2011, when the eaglets came to the Center. I started watching the Critter Cam and over the past couple of years, have shed many tears of joy – and sadness – depending on the situation related to the critters. The staff at the Center are very compassionate, and they know when to keep trying or when to let an animal go humanely.
I have learned so much about wildlife over the past 2+ years that I have watched the cam, or "sat in" on classroom sessions and or participated in the chat. When I learned that volunteers are utilized at the Center, I put it on my “bucket list” in the top five things I wanted to do.
I usually volunteer at the Wildlife Center on Saturdays. Each time that I volunteer, it is exciting to help with whatever tasks I am asked to do by the rehab staff. These tasks have included meal preparation (yes! there are menus for the critters, and yes, I can chop mice!), delivered meals to some of the critters, helped with exercising raptors, cleaned aquariums, making bulk diets, creating enrichments, hosed pens, and even got to help feed baby squirrels. Snakes are not a favorite critter of mine – but one Saturday, I even cleaned the enclosures that Albus, Severus, Corny, and Malcolm were in. I told Kelli that I was a bit out of my comfort zone - but when I decided that I wanted to volunteer, that meant to learn more and get more comfortable with snakes if asked to work with them. The most important thing to me, however, is that when I am working on these tasks it frees the rehab staff to work on the animals that require their expert care.
Most recently the staff has been working a good deal with the bear cubs - there are six little cubs, the Syrian bear, and then the yearling and many, many, MANY baby squirrels, opossums (they are so cute), and baby bunnies. I enjoy watching the rehab staff work with the animals. There is quite a process to the feeding of baby animals and each animal gets as much time as it takes to receive its feeding and what comes after (an interesting process in some cases).
Volunteering at the Center allows me to give back to them – to thank them for what they have given me: a greater love for and always improving knowledge of wildlife.
Read more from our other volunteers on our blog!