Social media and wildlife rehabilitation.
Being retired and looking for ways to entertain myself with my new found spare time, stumbled upon online cams devoted to wildlife in a way I did not know existed. The Wildlife Center of Virginia became involved in the rescue of three eaglets that had lost their mother to an airplane accident at the Norfolk Airport. All of those who had been watching the eaglets from egg laying, to hatch, to banding, were devastated. WCV quickly responded to take on the care and rehab of these majestic birds. They installed a cam in their new 'home' so those thousands of viewers could continue to follow their progress. Many questions were answered by the tremendous and knowledgeable staff to allay any fears we had. Fast forward two years later, this teaching hospital has taken in thousands of native wildlife patients and allowed the general public to be a part of their rehab and release back to the wild. I am more than proud to donate to this exemplary organization when the need arises to help obtain a new piece of hospital equipment or food for the many 'critters', be they patients or wildlife ambassadors. The WCV acknowledges every dime they receive with a personal letter signed by Mr. Edward Clark, president, so you can be assured your donation is greatly appreciated. Please join us at wildlifecenter.org to watch and learn about eagles, falcons, vultures, black bears every day. We have a moderated discussion every day, cam in the classroom series for many schools, hospital cam day monthly, book club discussions bi-monthly, and three cams to view our wildlife ambassadors every day. If you have ever thought of going on an African Safari, WCV offers those also at a great price. I have gone on one and can attest to the fact that it was an experience of a lifetime.
Review from #MyGivingStory
He was an eaglet named Buddy. He had a strange looking beak due to Avian Pox and would never have survived in the wild. But he did survive and is now a magnificent wildlife ambassador. This eagle opened my eyes to and started my giving relationship with the wildlife hospital at the Wildlife Center of Virginia. Over the years I have continued to learn about wildlife through this organization. I have met all the wonderful wildlife ambassadors including a charismatic black vulture who likes to play peek-a-boo. I have learned about the problems that our wildlife encounter and am trying to pass this information on to others. I have seen the wonderful things the doctors and all the staff at the center do to try to get as many injured animals as possible back into the wild. I have been saddened when some do not survive but I have also been overcome with joy witnessing the release back into the wild of some magnificent creature. I have seen what my contributions do, whether it’s providing food, obtaining medical equipment or building a bear cub rearing facility. I will continue my giving relationship as long as they continue to help critters.
Review from #MyGivingStory
The Wonderful Wildlife Center of Virginia
In April, 2011, I was watching the eagle family on a live cam at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens with students and teachers at the middle school where I worked. The cam allowed us to look into their nest high in a tree. We had watched the eggs hatch, and the three baby chicks grow as they were lovingly tended and fed by Mom and Dad for weeks.
Suddenly, something was wrong. Mom had flown away to get food, and as the day wore on, she didn't return. The forlorn chicks peered over the edge of the nest waiting for the Mom that would never come back. An eagle, later identified as Mom Norfolk, had been struck by a plane and killed on the nearby runway.
Later that day, Dad Eagle brought the chicks a fish, but the Va. Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries experts determined that he would not be able to provide enough food for the three growing chicks.
A plan was made to remove the chicks and relocate them to the Wildlife Center of Virginia, a nationally respected teaching hospital for wildlife in Waynesboro, VA. Under the guidance of Ed Clark, the President and co-founder of WCV, the chicks were sent to WCV, and the staff went into action. They foraged in the woods for sticks and branches to build a large nest. They strung wire from the trees and installed a live video cam to show the thousands of people watching from around the world exactly what was happening. Ed Clark kept everyone informed, with a moderated blog, on all aspects of their care. What would have been certain death for one or more of the chicks was transformed into a life-saving rescue. The Center did an outstanding job of keeping everyone up-to-date and entertained as the chicks grew, and they were all successfully released into the wild when they were ready.
The Center's quick response and care and attention to detail in this wildlife emergency was impressive, and they continue to treat thousands of patients every year with the same care and skill. They have an outstanding, friendly staff; and vets and interns come from all the world to be trained there. They are careful in the management of their funds, and maintain an appreciative and close relationship with their many supporters.
I have been enriched and entertained by their live cams, online educational blogs and programs, and have attended their open houses and other events. The Wildlife Center of Virginia is exceptionally well-run, and I am greatly impressed by their skill and dedication to their mission of teaching the world to care about and care for wildlife and the environment. I highly recommend the Wildlife Center of Virginia at wildlifecenter.org - it's a great place!
Review from #MyGivingStory
Caring for wildlife takes a heart of gold.
Wildlife has been given a bad rap for many years, but many don’t realize that it is us humans that are destroying their habitat. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for animals, whether they are domesticated or wild. After becoming involved in an online wildlife webcam on a pair of bald eagles, my love for wildlife came out full force. The female eagle was killed in an accident shortly after three eggs hatched. The male could not defend the territory from intruders and take care of the eaglets, so they were removed and sent to the Wildlife Center of Virginia to be raised until they could go out on their own. This center is a working hospital and teaching facility for all wildlife. They went above and beyond and started webcams for viewers to watch their progress as the eaglets grew. As time went on, the Wildlife Center of Virginia was able to install more webcams of a variety of mammals and birds. To watch the progress of the rehabilitation was truly educational, amazing, and exciting. The care that they provide is exceptional from performing surgery, treating wounds, to watching them exercise in preparation for release, to actually watching a release. The Wildlife Center of Virginia conducts open houses for the public on occasion. During these times, you can tour the facility, maybe even catching a treatment being performed on a patient, and also visit the educational critters in the outside enclosures. After I took my first tour, they had my heart and donations. I may not be able to donate much, but I know that it all goes to the care of these beautiful creatures. To see a glimpse of the care, check out their website at www.wildlifecenter.org.
Review from #MyGivingStory
The Wildlife Center of Virginia won me over with those silly bear cubs. Baby bears climbing trees, swinging in hammocks, chewing on each other’s ears, turning over a plastic igloo and making it a rocking ride, stuffing into dens like clowns in a clown car, playing in the snow. These cubs were mostly orphans who were not old enough to survive in the wild on their own. They were being given a chance by the Wildlife Center of Virginia (WCV).
WCV serves so many different functions for varying audiences. Most obviously, they take care of injured Virginia wildlife, but this is only one piece of their mission. Teaching is their goal: going to schools and events with wildlife ambassadors to teach children, bringing vets and students from around the world to be trained on new techniques for healing wildlife, helping non-profits learn best practices in running their own charities, spreading the word about dangers for wild animals (lead poisoning, litter in the roads, protecting turtles on roadways.)
Another way of connecting people with wildlife is through their Outreach to the online community. Live webcams show the ongoing rehabilitation of different animals (owls, eagles, hawks, beaver, opossum, vultures, and, of course, the bear cubs). WCV brings us into their world though their monthly Hospital Cam where you can actually watch the vets, techs and students treat the patients (baby squirrels and baby bunnies are particularly adorable).
WCV treats its contributors as part of the family. We learn to accept the unhappy endings for some of the animals, but celebrate the amazing releases back to the wild. And seeing bear cubs run free is the prize for being a member of that family.
Wildlife Center of Virginia http://wildlifecenter.org/
Review from #MyGivingStory
I learned about Wildlife Center of Virginia in 2011 when they took in three eaglets whose mother had been killed. These eaglets had been on a webcam and had a large following. WCV worked very hard to set up a webcam for the many viewers of the eaglets in order to watch them grow. This webcam has morphed into a Critter Cam. This provides an amazing window on the recovery of injured wildlife. What I have learned about WCV during the past year is that they are an extraordinarily caring wildlife teaching hospital. Their staff works to save wildlife as diverse as snakes and bears and falcons (and lots of bunnies). They teach the public about wildlife ("don't throw apple cores out the window of your car. Birds will fly down to eat them and get hit by other cars."). And as a teaching hospital, they train new wildlife vets. Any injured animal is lucky if he or she ends up in the qualified hands of the WCV staff.
Review from Guidestar
Every educator endeavors to teach their students using 'real world' activities and through the Wildlife Center of Virginia, I have achieved that goal. My inspiration to support this group came from 26 5th grade students. It started in 2011 when a trio of juvenile bald eagles arrived at WCV. The students at my school had been following them on a live eagle cam and were saddened when they had to be removed from their nest and raised at WCV. My 5th graders wanted to help the eaglets, so with the help of another teacher, we started a 'Penny War'. The students and staff were encouraged to donate their loose change. In two short weeks, we had raised $213.48, which the students were happy to send to the Wildlife Center of Virginia. However, supporting the Wildlife Center of Virginia didn't end with the Penny War or the school year. In the fall, with a new class of 5th graders, we choose to adopt one of the animal ambassadors. During the school year, my students improved their reading, math, and writing through the learning opportunities provided by WCV. They wrote stories, poetry, solved area/perimeter problems and countless word problems, and improved their expository reading ability, all related to wildlife. There were countless science and social studies lessons as well. The students were delighted when their shared projects appeared on WCV's website for others to read. During online classes, with people from WCV, my students in Arizona were able to learn from others, not just 'the teacher'. The enthusiasm my students display continues my support of this organization and has expanded it to where students have made and donated ornaments which were auctioned off to raise money for WCV. My students learn about wildlife, how they can be better stewards of the environment/planet, and how they can teach others the lessons they have learned. I continue to support the Wildlife Center of Virginia as they support me in my journey to teach my students about the 'real world'.
Review from #MyGivingStory
The Wildlife Center of Virginia entered my life last April when 3 young bald eagles arrived on their doorstep, along with their admiring web-cam 'family'. My students and I had been following the eaglets through the web-cam and were devastated when they were removed. Our school became involved through a "Penny War", which raised $213.48 in one week! My 5th grade students and I adopted one of their education ambassadors and through the WCV Critter Cam moderated dicussion, my students have been learning about owls, wildlife, and the careers associated with wildlife rehabilitation. They have also become aware of the wildlife around them in our small community and are becoming pro-active about wildlife. With the guidance, information, and assitance of WCV's Outreach coordinators, I have taken my students beyond the textbook while incorporating and teaching the state standards. I have been able to use this information in reading, writing, math, science, and social studiees. The "Cam in the Classroom" sessions have provided a wealth of information to my students while proving "You're never to old to learn!"
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
Healing injured wildlife, and teaching the public about wild animals is the mission of The Wildlife Center of Virginia. Many animals are injured either directly or indirectly by the actions of humans, so I am glad to help restore them to health by supporting The Wildlife Center, both financially and as a volunteer. In addition to rescuing and healing injured animals, the Wildlife Center also works hard, by means of their Education Ambassadors, to teach members of the public, particularly children, how we can live in harmony with all the other animals with which we share this planet.
Review from #MyGivingStory
I have been a Wildlife Center of Virginia donor for many many years, but only realized relatively recently that I could have been volunteering as well! Since I started volunteering, I have learned by personal experience what a fabulous job of teaching the Center does. I knew they cared for injured wildlife of all sorts, but in addition to that they are a teaching hospital with veterinary students from all over the world spending varying amounts of time getting hands on experience with an extraordinary variety of animals, and then going out and sharing their knowledge with others wherever they go. With the relatively recent addition of "Critter Cams" that have created a growing "Critter Nation" with members from as far away as Australia, it is clear that the education part of their mission is exploding!
It all began with an eagle nest. In a botanical garden in Norfolk, VA, a pair of eagles built a nest. For many years they reared their young. In the spring of 2011 they were tending their three chicks. I found the webcam that was on their nest and watched them. Then on April 25th of that year, Mom eagle was struck and killed by a landing plane at the nearby airport. The biologists determined that the dad eagle could not care for the growing eaglets alone. They were removed from the nest and taken to The Wildlife Center of Virginia across the state at Waynesboro. They were followed by thousands of 'surrogate parents' who managed to crash the center's internet as well as a lot of Waynesboro's by trying to log on to check on our babies. Within 24 hours the Center had strung wires through trees to set up a borrowed web camera to stream a view of the eaglets.On the moderated discussion on their web page the staff patiently answered all the worried questions. Above and beyond expectations they welcomed us. Since then I have remained an avid supporter of WCV. I have watched cams and participated in discussions about many different animals. As a teaching wildlife hospital, their work saving and releasing wildlife is superb! Their mission is also to teach us about caring for the environment. After all, our human actions have a great effect on wildlife. I will continue to support the WCV in order to be a small part in helping them do what they are called to do, save wildlife and the environment.
Review from #MyGivingStory
Wildlife Center of Virginia is an absolutely awesome place. They provide top notch veterinary care for Virginia wildlife. Through their web cam I have seen some remarkable healing done there. Not only do they provide this care for critters, they are a teaching hospital, training vets and rehabilitators from around the world. Another of their goals is to educate the public on the care of wildlife and our environment. For the past year they have been better able to reach more people through their web cam and chat that runs along beside it. All in all an outstanding organization!
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.