What a year it’s been! I have found myself saying it over and over again, our 20th year has been a banner year! Our customers, our volunteers, and YOU, our donors are the reason why!
— Mrs. Van

Building Project

In early April we launched a capital campaign via our Facebook page and email list to refurbish our aging aviaries. We needed to raise at least $10,000 not counting the roof on five aviaries. Longtime supporters, Jay and Yvonne Rine made the challenge that if we could raise $2500 that they would match it and then we’d be halfway to our goal. Our volunteer and supporter Sara Adams stepped up with $2500 as did Fred & Sylvie Kring and then The Energy Cooperative’s Round Up Foundation donated $4658 and we were on our way. Upon recommendations we hired J & R Carpentry out of Centerburg. Our challenge was moving bird’s one section at a time while the builders replaced the walls and roofing material. It took less than two weeks but they pulled it off. We thank J & R Carpentry for donating $800 in free labor to this project. We highly recommend them and we were tickled to have the work crew bring their families to our open house event in August?  We thank ALL of you who made donations to this much needed project!

New Birds

We acquired four new birds this summer, all from falconry facilities. None of these birds is injured and all were born in captivity. We are excited to introduce you to: Bellatrix, the Eurasian eagle owl; Luna, the Common barn owl; Minna, the Aplomado falcon; and Harriet, the Peregrine falcon. Luna is already out doing programs, but the other three are in training. Please check out our Facebook page for photos and videos. Here’s a preview created by Cindy Kidwell.
 

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Visit by Permitting Agents

Just as we were finishing up the building project, we were honored to host our permitting agents from U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Ohio Division of Wildlife. Jason Mercado, U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Kate Parsons and Melissa Moser from the Ohio Division of Wildlife came out for a visit on the morning of May 22. We spent a good part of the morning showing them what a “backyard facility” looks like and sharing stories about our animals and our work. We were quite surprised and very touched when Jason presented us with a plaque for our work. One of the highlights of my year!  We pride ourselves on building up our customer base through word-of-mouth and on having a good reputation among our peers and a great relationship with our permitting agencies.

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Our Interns

Our total numbers won’t be in until the end of year, but I am so pleased to report that we conducted 93 programs in 90 days between mid-May and mid-August. Of course, we could not have done it without our two interns, Brent Mitchell and Lindsay Jones. Brent came to us from OSU, and Lindsay from Capital University. They are now in their last semester, and I’m sure are eager to move on to their “next chapter.” They both helped with programming and animal care. Mr. Van got to act retired this Spring and Summer, but he’s back out with us again until our next interns come in. We’ll begin the search for new intern candidates in 2018. Please spread the word! Thanks, Brent & Lindsay. Please stay in touch, and best of luck in future endeavors!

The Finishing Touches & Corporate Partners

We thank our new partners at L.L. Bean, both at Easton and at Corporate headquarters, for their generous grant to purchase gravel and paint to finish off our enclosures. We are working with Aubree Lieberman, Program Coordinator, to partner regularly not only in bringing events to the Easton store, but also to provide service opportunities to their very kind and generous employees. We are grateful and excited about this partnership! More to come.

We also would like to thank the employees of Nationwide Insurance who came out for the Columbus Volunteer Challenge on September 11. These good folks hauled A LOT of gravel and painted many surfaces! Thanks all for your hard work!

We want to thank all of our customers, volunteers and donors for supporting us over however many years you’ve been on board with us!

We’ve been able to conduct more than 3600 programs for more than 600,000 people in more than 21 Ohio counties in the last 20 years while providing a home for our wonderful wildlife ambassadors! We couldn’t do it without you! With your help we are raising the next generation of conservationists, educators, biologists and scientists, striving to ensure that we can all do our part and that we can all impact the environment in positive ways! The kids are our ambassadors and we encourage them to teach what they learn and to be part of the Ohio Nature Education Army!

On to the next 20 Years!

We hope we can count on your continued support whether through monetary donations, your supporting membership, Adopt-An-Animal sponsorships, purchasing a program as a gift to your favorite school, Scout Troop or library, designating us as your Kroger Community Shares recipient, or using Smile Amazon and designating ONE as your recipient while doing your holiday shopping. As always we’ll have a Holiday Wish list at Wild Birds Unlimited Reynoldsburg and Westerville - thanks Pam & Dan Hall and Larry & Julie Baldwin for your years of support! And we’ll be at Lane Avenue Half Price Books from 12/10 to 12/24 gift wrapping your Half Price Books purchases for donations.