Wildlife Center of Virginia Inspires the Desire to Give Back
How do I begin to convey the message of how important the work is that the Wildlife Center of Virginia (WCV) performs and why I am personally inspired to give back to them as often as I can? Not only healing critters to return to the wild, not only the teaching of the world on how to care for our environment, not only conservation....but the family we have become through WCV’s moderated discussion and watching critter cams. How do I convey that 19 special needs kids feel better about themselves and their extreme medical needs by watching the WCV hospital cams...and as a result they cooperate with their own physical exams? Or that 19 kids dip into their pockets to come up with a $1.00 of their meager allowance to give to WCV because they are so moved by what they see and what they learn, that they want to give back? And these are people that have nothing. How do I describe how one very special person finds emotional healing from seeing the important role that the non-releasable ambassadors play in teaching the world, in spite of their disabilities? And how a person discovers how much they are loved and valued just for who they are. I think maybe I can best tell why we are so inspired to give back through the words of one of our special WCV followers. Some call her Carrie, others call her Izzy. Here is her story:
“I used to believe that the labels that others give us growing up were defining of us for life. It seemed as though there was no way in which to escape them or the stigma they create and that they followed me no matter where I went. You see when people encounter me on any level they are often quick to notice that I walk differently, I shake or twitch without any real warning, and my vision isn’t quite straight or focused. Instantly that starts the conversation of “what is wrong with you” a conversation I’ve had for as long as I can remember. When I tell them I have Cerebral Palsy then a different conversation begins one that often degrades my intellect as they start to connect that label to someone who must have a mental impairment. It’s a frustrating and hurtful cycle that happens all too often and while I used to chalk it up to ignorance or lack of education even that wasn’t enough to push the hurt away.
Many will tell you of the lifesaving work that the Wildlife Center of Virginia does for wildlife, but I want to be the one that tells you they also shape and change the lives of their donors. For you see those things I used to believe and the pain I used to feel isn’t part of my life anymore. I know what you’re wondering, where does the connection come from? Well allow me to introduce you to the concept of Education Ambassadors twenty-four amazing animals who are all non-releasable with differences that make them unable to be released into the wild. Each of these animals comes with a background story, and the circumstances that lead them to have visual impairments, flight difficulty, beak misalignment etc. Yet no one questions “what is wrong with them” and no one suggests even for a second that they are of less worth or value than their wild counterparts.
That is because in my experience what they may lack in one area the ambassadors more than make up for in another. The staff at the wildlife center all recognize this, and you can see it in their handling practices and in the way in which they interact with the ambassadors. The connection created allows the staff to see beyond the difference to the inner light and personality that each ambassador holds, and they are treasured and valued for who they are. The job of these ambassadors is to help promote the centers mission of caring for and about wildlife but I argue they do so much more than that.
When children or adults witness these animals and their differences they are able to see that being different isn’t necessarily a bad thing, or if they themselves have a difference they may as I have come to realize that isn’t what defines you. You are unique and have something to offer to society as a whole if those around you take the time to look beyond what they see. For each ambassador is strong and is capable of inspiring and teaching others in spite of the challenges they face. Moreover if you spend enough time around each of these ambassadors you will start to notice their differences less and less until they are completely overshadowed by all that you have come to love about them.
To put it simply I have become an ambassador in my own life, ever inspired because of the staff and education ambassadors at the Wildlife Center of Virginia. No longer am I defined by the stigma or the labels. I have let my inner qualities shine through and my personality take flight. I never would have seen this side of myself I truly believe without this experience. So when asked why I donate, I can say without hesitation I donate so that others who feel just as lost, just as limited as I did can see they have more to offer than others may have them believe and when they let go of those labels life is truly wild. “
Review from #MyGivingStory
This organization is outstanding in all aspects. Their staff is sincere, forthright, humorous and genuinely believe in and model their mission of teaching the world to care about wildlife and the environment in all they do.
I have learned so much and also have so much fun watching the critter cams at this facility and interacting with a world wide audience through their moderated discussion. I am honored to support them
This organization cares for injured native Virginia wildlife. If an animal can't released into the wild it is given a home and cared for at the center for the remainder of its natural life. The Center also educates people about Virginia wildlife and also all interested parties to attend wildlife releases and view the goings on at the Center through critter cams. When you donate, you are thanked promptly and made to feel like your donation is important, no matter how large or small it is.
This organization tirelessly rehabilitates Virginia wildlife. If an animal is not releasable, it is given lifetime sanctuary and may become an education animal. I like the fact that they educate the public about Virginia wildlife and their habitats. I intend to make at least donation later this year to this organization.
Great organizaton with caring volunteers. They are very responsible with donated money, as they feel that is still the donor's money. The donor has simply entrusted it to the Center. I like that concept. They also have numerous updates on their animals and critter cams, so people can see how the animals are being cared for.
The Wildlife Center of Virginia exemplifies the wonderful work being done with sick and injured wildlife,making it their mission to return these animals back into their home territory.
Teaching Critter Nation, students in the classrooms, and all those watching the Critter Cams is a valuable tool. The Center tells it like it is with openness, honesty, and sincerity, with a little bit of humor thrown in.
Review from Guidestar
This non profit is outstanding and leads others around the world in research and rehabilitation of orphanded or injured animals. They strive to return as many animals as possible back into the wild as they should be. They are a leader of programs adapted around the world and have interns form other countries as well as local to learn and go out and spread their knowledge and wisdom. The employees there are all the best and try to make each individual case patient their top priority and learn from each case.
I do not support any charity without thoughtful review of their work and sincerity. WCV is A+ in my book - their vet staff appear to be some of the best in their field(s), their rehabbers and trainers are very knowledgable and caring, they have as part of their mission statement to offer education of wildlife medicine/care to professionals and the general public. I support this organization and confidently endorse them to you for your consideration.
I found this website in April 2011 when the "rock stars" were moved from their nest in NBG to the Wildlife Center. They were in need of much tender lovin' care when Mom Norfolk was killed and it was determined that the male would not be able to take care of them. Over the last plus year, I have visited and donated to this so very important cause. The head of this Center, Ed Clark and his whole staff are such wonderful and careing people. They have taught us and many, many young people the value of nature . The money that they have been given has been put to such great use and has allowed release back into the wild many wonderful animals and most of all, my favorite, THE AMERICAN BALD EAGLE. Please help them to continue their work.
What I enjoy about this group includes their dedication to all forms of wildlife, their patience in explaining issues to educate people, their ability to advise members of the public about dealing with wildlife problems and that their own state recognizes their accomplishments enough to entrust them with important cases, like the three bald eaglets from the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. Unfortunately, at the present time, I am unable to donate as much as I would like to do.
I found out about WCV a year ago. In the last year, I have found this organization to be one of the most astounding places that cares for our injured and sick wildlife from bears to baby squirrels. I have donated to them several times as the need is there to protect our wildlife. WCV has gone over and above to educate the public regarding wildlife and issues surrounding their capabilities to live full lives. They go out to the public with educational animals so that others may know about that animal and learn. They work with classrooms around the countr educating our children about wildlife, which I find to be immeasurable. This organization is the most wonderful place and deserves recognition for all it has done and will continue to do.
I don’t live in Virginia. I’ve never been east of Illinois, but I love this place. All they do for wildlife is wonderful and inspiring. They also educate, showing compassion for all life and respect for cultures and understanding to those who may not know better about taking care of wildlife and what what’s best for them. I’ve always thought I knew a lot, but I’ve learned so much from watching their cam, reading their blog of very well informed, fun and good natured moderators including a lot of the staff at WCV, mostly Ed Clark who through humor has educated and informed so many of what is important for both the public and wildlife. I did get to know them by watching the eagle nest in Virginia, and the sad news of the mother eagle being killed, but through that tragedy a wonderful facility became famous and now gets lots of well-deserved attention. Now they can show the hard work they do saving many animals that would die, many due to man (lead, hit by cars, etc). They are a wonderful example of man saving nature.