Each fall, for the past 13 years, the Wildlife Center of Virginia has proudly offered The Garden of Eagles calendar. Labeling it a “calendar” seems inadequate. Yes, The Garden of Eagles includes the days of the week and the months of the year. Yes, that calendar notes important holidays – like the Fourth of July, or Labor Day – as well as Save the Eagles Day, and International Vulture Awareness Day.
But The Garden of Eagles is so much more than a calendar. It’s a collection of breathtaking photos of Bald Eagles, captured in the wild. It is a compilation of special insights into eagles – their habits, their habitats, their lifecycles, their lives.
And, above all else, it is a labor of love – a love for wildlife, a love for Bald Eagles.
These calendars have been crafted each year by Debbi Skluzak. She has collected photographs from a wide array of talented artists, painstakingly selecting the very best photos to be featured in The Garden of Eagles. She has pored over each line of text, each photo placement, each headline and cutline. She worked carefully with the printer each year to make sure that each and every photo was beautifully reproduced, and each fall she gave up her dining-room table as she sent out calendars ordered by wildlife enthusiasts across the country – and around the world.
Those calendars have helped teach thousands of individuals to care about, and care for, wildlife and Bald Eagles. Those calendars have become holiday traditions in many households. In the history of this project, I’m not sure if anyone has ever marked an appointment or an upcoming meeting on the calendar. I think some of these calendars might be displayed behind UV-protective glass and then safely stored with the other family heirlooms.
For the Wildlife Center, the sales of The Garden of Eagles have helped us continue to provide state-of-the-art treatment for Bald Eagles in need. The proceeds helped us build a remarkable “palace” for Buddy, our resident eagle. Some of the proceeds have supported the important Bald Eagle work of the Center for Conservation Biology. And the calendar has helped us build a worldwide community of supporters.
Debbi has informed us, that because of personal issues, she will not be able to take on the creation of The Garden of Eagles calendar for 2023. And we know that no one else could do it.
We extend to Debbi our very best wishes – and our enormous gratitude for her staggering contribution to Bald Eagles and the Wildlife Center.
-- Ed Clark
Wildlife Center of Virginia
A message from Debbi [aka Congowings]:
For some time I have been taking care of some personal issues which had to take priority. I was hoping to be able to get back to some of my normal routines, but have realized it will be a bit longer. Unfortunately, one of my normal routines since 2009 has been creating the calendar fundraiser for the Wildlife Center of Virginia - The Garden of Eagles.
The calendar has been a labor of love over the years which I have enjoyed putting together. The photographers have been an inspiration and I have appreciated their support. The calendar would not have been possible without their beautiful photos.
The support of so many WCV fans has been what has made it possible to create, print and distribute the calendar over the years. Everyone can be proud of what we accomplished - both in donations to the Center and providing information about the Bald Eagle - and wildlife. We have come so far from the first response Mr. Huwa made, “it will never work”. I think we proved him wrong. And I take great delight in that. :)
I had hoped I would be able to work on the calendar in September. Unfortunately, I have come to the realization that I am unable to give the calendar the attention and time it needs. It is a difficult decision for me to reach. I know many will be disappointed - as I am. I am hopeful that come next year I will be able to create a 2024 calendar and hope everyone who has supported it in the past will continue to do so.
I do hope everyone might consider donating what they usually donate for the calendar and Buddy Bucks - either by a donation or purchasing items offered in the store. Caring for Critters is a wonderful way to support the Center.
I want to thank the Center for their help in creating the calendar over the years - photos, copy, Ed’s Message and their welcome input. So many people have helped over the years in so many different ways.
Thank you again for your support and friendship. It means so much to me and also to the Center.
In the meantime - be sure to “attend” the 2022 Gala! So many wonderful items to bid on and your donations help wildlife. As always - take care and enjoy watching the Critter Cams!