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 Outreach Docent volunteer Bill. Bill has been volunteering with us since 2011:
When major shoulder surgery in fall 2010 ended my part-time career as a wine warehouse and delivery manager, it gave me the opportunity to put into action a thought I had entertained for many years – put my energy into volunteering somewhere. A lifelong affection for wildlife led me to the Wildlife Center of Virginia in early 2011, and a talent for talking with folks about things I love led me to the Outreach Department, where I began leading visitors through the facility at tours and open houses. But the thing that really sent my enthusiasm through the roof was the opportunity to handle and work with the non-releasable hawks and owls - the avian members of the Wildlife Ambassador Corps.
This, in turn, sent my mind to working on innovative ways to take these magnificent animals out into the public for outreach and fundraising events. During the last couple of years, I've taken these critters to wineries, brewpubs, tulip festivals, and barbecue roadhouses to do events with whimsical names like Wings over Wine Country, Tulips and Talons, and Raptors over the Rivanna. At all these events, we meet people who have never heard of the Wildlife Center, and in so doing make new friends and supporters. The comment most often heard is a variation of "Wow, I never realized how beautiful these birds are." Hearing comments like that inspires me to continue to work on finding even more ways to have the avian ambassadors help me make new friends and supporters for the Wildlife Center. Standing before an audience with a magnificent hawk or inscrutable owl perched calmly on the glove, talking with a rapt audience about the wonderful work done by the Wildlife Center on behalf of all Virginia wildlife – it just doesn't get any better than that.