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 Tina. Tina has been volunteering with us since 2012:
After working 38 years at a university, I was looking forward to my retirement and I knew I wanted to spend some of my "free" time as a volunteer, somewhere. My goal was to keep active, learn new skills, and give back to society. I love being outdoors in nature, so volunteering where that is a component would be ideal.
I became familiar with the work of the Wildlife Center of Virginia a few years ago when the three Norfolk bald eaglets, whose mother was killed after colliding with a plane, were brought to the Center. I watched them thrive on the WCV's web cam and marveled at the care and attention the WCV staff gave to these young raptors. On the website, I continued to follow the eagle NX, who was fitted with a GPS pack. I also read about all the other patients and non-releasable education animals at the WCV. The seed was planted that here was a place I wanted to visit and perhaps volunteer.
Fast forward to my retirement in July 2012, when I signed up for a WCV Open House tour. I was so impressed with the facility, the professionalism of the staff and the vets, and the friendly, caring atmosphere. After the tour, I filled out a volunteer form, attended a volunteer orientation session a few weeks later and began volunteering shortly after. I joined the Animal Care team headed by the professional rehabbers Amber and Kelli. I volunteer twice a week, helping with the care of recovering patients.
Every day is different at the Wildlife Center! New patients, new activities, new interns and externs to work with … it is stimulating and exciting. Helping injured animals, reptiles, birds and raptors heal, grow strong, and be released back to their natural habitat is so very rewarding! Being active and working outdoors in the flight pens and aviary is just what I needed to do after recent years sitting and working at a desk.
Every day I learn something new from the staff and the vets. Every day I learn from the animal patients too, about our connectedness with nature and how humans impact wildlife, both positively and negatively. It is now the spring "baby" season at the Wildlife Center and the staff have their hands full taking care of these orphaned or injured animals. I can see the importance of the volunteers' work, which gives the staff more time to do their skilled work. This has become such a rewarding experience for me and I hope to continue volunteering at the Wildlife Center for as long as I am able! Thank you, Wildlife Center of Virginia, for all you do for the wildlife!
Read more from our other volunteers on our blog!