Hoots, Howls, and Hollers
It occurs to me that we have a statistic that is never measured but is powerfully important. We talk about the number of animals that we save, but we never mention the number of people who are “saved” in the process. Here’s what I mean.
Over the years we have had a number of volunteers who have come to us after a negative scrape with the law. Some of these “scrapes” ended up with community service requirements. We have provided it. Some of these “scrapes” have ended up with incarcerations that have made it difficult for the person to get a job or find a volunteer experience to finish off their legal requirements. Many of those have ended up at Liberty Wildlife for a different kind of rehabilitation. You might be surprised by the number who have stayed with us for a very long time…maybe even been employed by Liberty Wildlife and as they have stabilized and moved on to other pursuits and have had Liberty to “blame” for giving them a second chance.
We have other kinds of folks who come to us with a vague, or even absent an idea of what to do with their lives. Many students show up at Liberty who haven’t had enough life experiences to really know what they want to do in life; they don’t have the resources to “experiment in college” so floundering in and out of jobs leaves them blasé and bored. We had one 16 year old who started in our orphan care department who is now on her way to Veterinary school.
A fairly new recruit came to the state to go to NAU to study zoology only to find the department disappearing. His ennui palpable…he then found Liberty Wildlife and his passion exploded. He will be going back to school at the University of Arizona to study advanced biology with a renewed passion that will surely lead to big things….our loss, his gain and the potential for world gain with passion like that unleashed.
There is another kind of saving that happens at Liberty Wildlife. It has to do with the huge group of people called “retired”. If you could see this group in action you might want a re-definition of retirement. We have a contention of folks who knowingly or not wanted to be “teachers”. Maybe not in the traditional sense…these might have been people who couldn’t go to college to earn that degree, or had families that took their time and energy, or they just didn’t realize what a great career teaching can be especially if you have a tool like a hawk or owl on your arm and knowing that you can reawaken the love of nature in students of all ages. Or maybe you always wanted to be a veterinarian, a vet tech, or some other hero helping animals in need…and you found Liberty Wildlife where training was provided and opportunities abound…you too would feel saved.
It’s all about finding and following your passion. That is indeed a life-saving move. See what I mean. We have saved way more than animals over the years…in fact those animals have saved many of us. It is all about providing a second chance….to whomever needs it.
This Week @ Liberty
The intake total is now at 67.
It’s been fairly cool the past week and as we prepare for a really busy couple weeks, the pace is calm, but building. We said farewell to one of our interns and did some more surgery on condor 455. Lots of education is going on and will go on at some big events over the next few weeks. This update will highlight some of these programs and the people who are presenting them. Most of the larger shows are open to the public, so check out our calendar and try to attend one or more. These include our booth at the Phoenix Open golf tournament on Feb. 1st, the “Superb Owl Shuffle” on the same day, the Verde Canyon Rail Road ride with Sonora the Bald Eagle on Feb.7th, and the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show Feb. 13th – 15th. These are in addition to the usual array of school presentations made by our Education team.
Last Friday our intern finished her stint at Liberty Wildlife and is now going home to Bad Münstereifel, Germany. Kristina Ewers was here for 6 weeks and helped out in Daily Care and wherever she was needed in our operation. She said she enjoyed it and hopefully she will have some great stories to tell her friends and family when she gets home. Thanks, Kristina! You did a great job and we will miss you! Auf wiedersehen!
The little barn owl that came up from Sierra Vista in early December is much improved. His right patagium was an ugly mess when he arrived and although Dr. Wyman worked hard to suture the tissue back together, it was looking doubtful that he would heal. Now, he is doing really well and looks a lot better after his time in the ICU. A big high-five to Dr.Wyman and the Med Services team on this one!
California Condor 455’s lead levels have dropped but she was still having trouble gaining much needed weight. Dr. Orr decided to do one more surgery on her to remove some lesions on the inside of her crop. It was hoped this would make it easier for her to recover from the effects of the lead poisoning. As of this writing, she seems to be doing slightly better and is beginning to move food through her system.
One of the many types of presentations Liberty Wildlife does during the year is bringing some of our education eagles to special “Eagle Courts of Honor.” These are ceremonies at which young men are awarded the highest rank in Scouting, that of Eagle Scout. Recently I took Libby to one of these programs in Gilbert and had the boys meet a real “Eagle” during the event. Libby was great and everyone seemed to enjoy her visit.
One of our top partners in education is the Verde Canyon Rail Road. Last week Peggy, Claudia, and Susie took Anasazi, Chaco, and Ace up to display the birds at the terminal before the train rolled out. It’s a great show for the passengers and they get to learn about the birds they might actually see from the train as they travel northward along the river.
Last week, among other shows, John Glitsos and Joe Miller went to Anasazi School in North Scottsdale and wowed the third graders with Maggie, Chaco, Jester, and two eagles – Aurora and Anasazi (which was the name of their school!) It was John’s debut presentation with Anasazi and he and ‘Sazi did a great job! Joe and his birds were also in top form, getting photographed by most of the adults. The school gave a car full of donations – no really, they filled up my Prius!! Thanks to the kids, the teachers, and the parents of Anasazi School!
READER PHOTO OF THE WEEK!
You’ve heard of (or seen) the movie “Snakes on a plane”? Well, here’s Liberty’s version, “Birds on a trike!”, submitted by Education volunteer Wendy Bozzi.