Wednesday, April 14, 2010

It’s a Wild, Wild Life!


We are blessed to live in an area that has ample opportunities for field trips.  This week we were able to attend an open house at the Wildlife Center of Virginia.  This facility is a hospital for native wildlife.  In an average year, the Wildlife Center treats 2000 patients, with the goal of being able to release the animal back into the wild.

In the initial phase of our tour, we watched a brief video presentation about the facility and how they operate.  Then we were introduced to Hillary, a young opossum who was kept as a pet briefly…but long enough to make her unable to survive in the wild.  She is now a teaching animal for the Center.   Having just completed a study on opossums, this was especially exciting for Olivia and Lindsey.


Next we were given a tour of the facility.  Below are photos of the examination area, x-ray room and operating room.   Much of this equipment was donated by a local hospital…although it’s “out of date” for humans, it comes in real handy with animals in need.


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Next we toured the kitchen area.  The kitchen was interesting with it’s wide array of foods – fruits, veggies, dead mice, worms- yum.   In order to make sure that the animals are getting the proper foods, the staff has made up menu cards showing just the right amount of “food for each type of animal.100_2722 100_2721


Outside, we were able to view several larger birds of prey who will not be able to return to the wild.  The facility houses a golden eagle, bald eagle, red tailed hawk, barred owl and horned owl.   Each of these animals are unable to return to the wild due to injury or illness.

100_2716100_2717 Olivia, the future vet, LOVED this field trip.  She was disappointed that she couldn’t see the baby bear that is onsite, however hopes are high that he will return to the wild, so he gets minimal human contact.

We were also able to pick up a flyer listing easy ways kids can help the center.  Besides purchasing items children can collect native nuts (acorn, hickory, walnut), collect native berries, and my husbands favorite…harvest earthworms (gag).  So we will be adding some of these activities to our lives, the husband will be in charge of handling the earthworms.


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