Monday, October 5, 2009

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers 10/05/2009

So, where was Liberty Wildlife when I was a high school student? Sure there were natural history museums that provided summer programming for students, but they were so limited and certainly ‘hands on’ experiences were held at a minimum. At the one I attended, holding the king snake was all that was offered. I bit and I was hooked (maybe that is a little to cliché-ish for a snake example). But, see where I am now? It is a testament to what can happen with up close and personal (sorry for another hackneyed cliché) experiences.

Liberty Wildlife has catapulted to another level this fall, and I so wish it had been an opportunity for me those many years ago. We were approached by a friend of mine who is associated with the Arizona Agri-business and Equine Center (an Independent High School) to collaborate with them in some manner. It seems that many of the students were eager to get some ‘hands on’ experience with wildlife. We settled on offering to a number of advanced students the opportunity to go through our Medical Services training class that started last week. This group of five students and a teacher will be working side by side with the regular medical services students to learn the basics of wildlife rehabilitation. Those who are eighteen will be able to handle the raptors; those under eighteen will progress along a little slower path hoping that with age that they will be able to move into the more advanced activities. Individuals are required by permit to be at least 18 years old to handle birds of prey. But, there are many other critters that need help so there is plenty for everyone to learn and do.

Our veterinarians and our Animal Care Coordinator are excited about the opportunity to work with these eager learners. All of these medical services volunteers lap up the lessons like sponges which makes each class a delight for everyone involved. We learned early on that continuation of our service is dependent on new passionate and eager volunteers. This group of students will be unique in their range of ages but similar to classes in the past by dedication and abilities.

We are hoping that this collaboration will evolve into other areas like orphan care in the spring, the wildlife hotline or the education group. How great to get youngsters involved early in their lives….involved in learning, volunteering, and giving back to the community and the environment.

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