Wishes for Wildlife number 21 is now in the history books…as a great event and success. A huge thank you goes out to all of you who helped, attended, and supported Liberty Wildlife’s mission. The Liberty Wildlife Guardians and Event Chair, Cay Cowie, outdid themselves this year by gathering a plethora of desirable offerings for the Silent Auction and the Super Silent Auction….notice, NO LIVE AUCTION! There were things for the garden including trees, granite, boulders, and yard art. There were services for ladies and gents, antiques and collectibles, art and photography, sports including tickets to sporting events and packets of golf galore, but the big seller as always was the trips and travel section. The bidding was fast and furious on the electronic tablets and the system allowed for bidding from the comfort (but not as much fun) of your own couch.
Further, a display of Liberty Wildlife’s new facility introduced the renderings, hot off the press and architect Phil Weddle was present to answer questions and to wax poetic about his design.
But wait there’s more. The dining area was decorated with home grown succulents-raised locally so that they can take the full sun and remain bountiful and beautiful…and you guessed it they were for sale also. In case you are interested I still have a few left that could adorn your home for a mere $50. The entire event was nature oriented and mission driven. As guests were seated they enjoyed video from the auction…ala…see your face here, so to speak. And then the activities began. A stunning video compiled by Terry Stevens and set to dynamic music immediately caught the attention of the audience…but for the music…you could have heard a pin drop until the applause broke out at the end…”but when wildlife gets in trouble, Liberty Wildlife is there to help”!
Dinner was served and Chef Michael Cairns outdid himself again this year. Just leave it said…no one complained…everyone raved whether or not you chose the vegan entree, the all fish entree, or the surf and turf. Then there was the desert, wheeled in on carts in the four corners of the room, flames burst forth and the cherries jubilee were served. Where else could you serve 350 people flambeed ice cream that is still ice cream….but there at the hands of pros. It was truly spectacular. During dinner guests could view “This Year At Liberty” shown in silence on the big screens…a view into the incredible work done 365 days a year for Arizona’s wildlife…and ultimately for each of you.
After dinner the raffle tickets were drawn and three lucky people walked away with air line tickets on U.S. Airways, a trip to Cabo San Lucas, or a fabulous piece of jewelry from Molina’s Fine Jewelry. Wow!
Corporate Chairs Victoria and Rod Granberry were introduced and proceeded to introduce Liberty Wildlife’s Legacy Award. This year’s award went to Dr. Kathy Orr, founder of Liberty Wildlife and long time devotee to the care of Arizona’s wildlife among her many other contributions to nature and animals. A short video made the audience aware of her devotion to her passion…it was moving, and I didn’t see too many dry eyes in the audience including mine. A totally well deserved award…!
The wild part of our program was yet to come. Michael Barnard of the Phoenix Theatre announced the beginning of “Wild Things” our new game show…mission driven and designed to educate the audience about wildlife and Liberty Wildlife. The room, divided off into teams, Owls, Eagles, Falcons, and Condors, would act as a life line to a contestant from each team. Questions were asked each contestant and our own Vanna (Stephanie Mullins) kept a “Price Waterhouse” score of the proceedings and the game was narrowed to two. These two contestants entered a lightning round and the game proceeded. The final winner won the opportunity to release a rehabilitated animal with the entire team. Each team supported with deafening applause, answers shouted out, and physical attempts at depicting the correct letters.
It was just fun. Every one learned something about wildlife and about Liberty Wildlife and everyone seemed to stay involved.
Finally the audience was invited out to the back garden in view of the entire resort picking up a glass of champagne on the way out to toast to the release of a rehabilitated great horned owl by Honorary Corporate Chair, Rod Granberry. It was spectacular as always…what a great end to a very fun and engaging evening.
This Week at Liberty
The intake number is now at 936. (And if you don’t remember the last update three weeks ago today at which point it was 436, you do the math…!)
We’re BAAAAACK! After the two week hiatus to complete work on this year’s Wishes for Wildlife, we’re back on schedule with the activity level reaching new highs (note the intake number jump in just a couple of weeks!) Wishes for Wildlife was a major hit, the best fundraiser in memory! We take in a golden eagle from up north, dozens more little mammals show up, along with an increasing number of orphaned owls, hawks , and falcons, and life begins to return to a normal(?) pace – at least for this time of year. The Education season reaches a crescendo as the heat of the summer draws near, and the wonderful, dedicated volunteers keep doing their extraordinary work keeping the animals cared for, fed, and safe while the ambient temperature rises by the day. Thanks for sticking with us and welcome back!
The Orphan Care area is now at full throttle, with feeding and cleaning babies beginning at sunrise and continuing throughout the daylight hours. If anybody ever doubts our need for more space, all they need do is take a look in the “Neonatal Care” wing to get an appreciation for the crowded conditions under which our valiant volunteers work to provide life sustaining care to these tiniest and most helpless of Arizona’s residents. Thanks to you all for your efforts!
As the number of patients increases, the need for organization goes up proportionally. Recently our volunteers took it upon themselves to rearrange and stratify the area between the Med Services area and the large bird ICU to make it better organized and productive. Darkened camo curtains were made, each with pockets to hold medical and feeding records. These separate tiers of bins , each on heating pads, to hold smaller birds and animals as they are treated by the OC and Med Services teams. As true now as it was in 400BC, “Mater artium necessitas” – Necessity is the mother of invention. (Plato)
Still the baby humming birds come in. A couple weeks ago, these two tiny newly hatched hummers showed up – in their nest. Feeding anything this small is a challenge, but they are doing well and growing rapidly in the hummingbird enclosure in Orphan Care.
We’re still seeing a number of round-tailed ground squirrels showing up, along with antelope squirrels and a couple of rock squirrel babies thrown in for good measure. On a “cuteness scale” of 1 to 10, these little guys score around 12 and sometimes amaze folks who tour the facility that we actually rehab ALL ends of the food chain without discrimination. Nothing is turned away from Liberty Wildlife, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. Everything has a place in the environment…
As the number of orphans grows, our team of foster parents are all stepping up to perform their seasonal duties. This not only relieves our overworked staff from donning disruptive camouflage clothing and using hand puppets to feed orphaned owls and hawks, it gives the little birds a chance to learn their position in life by observing first hand the behavior of an adult of their own species. Begun over a decade ago, the foster parent program is a big part of “baby bird season” as the youngsters are best cared for by their species and will imprint properly, allowing for eventual release.
Recently, Joe and Jan rescued a small female raccoon who was in some distress along a local highway. She came to the facility and presented no serious injury – except she was pregnant! At first, we were not sure exactly HOW pregnant she was – until one day last week when it was found she had given birth to four little baby raccoons overnight! She and her little ones will remain with us until the babies are old enough to travel.
Last Saturday a group of potential new volunteers gathered under the front overhang and were given an orientation by Carol. Following the filling out of forms and the basic introduction to Liberty Wildlife, the new prospects were given a brief tour of the facility. Now they get to decide if they wish to continue on as volunteers and in what area they want to work. During the process, various volunteers from Med Services, Education, and Rescue and Transport (along with your truly) gave short intros to the various opportunities available to the prospective newbies.
Wishes for Wildlife 2014 put the “Fun” back in “Fundraising!” What has generally been recognized as the best event in memory took place on the 12th and although the final tallies are not yet in, in terms of enjoyment, we knocked this one out of the park! Check out Megan’s HHH above for a more in depth recap. We’ll have more photos up on the W4W website soon. Thanks to all who helped make the event truly memorable!