Another wonderful year has gone by, and we’re here to share the events that made up 2018. Our greatest accomplishment this past year was also our greatest resource -- our interns and volunteers. We took on three education interns and two animal care interns, though all five participated in providing care for the animals. The good news is that three have stayed on as volunteers while the other two headed off to college. We extend our gratitude to Chelsea Hothem, Hannah Jacks, Teresa Ruppersberg-Arnold, Leah Swisher and Kaitlynn Graham. At around this same time, we also took on Amy Huffenberger as a new animal care volunteer. This resulted in our having two animal care volunteers every day of the week! Ladies, we thank you all, along with our seasoned volunteers, for helping us get through a busy year!
Programs continue to increase annually. October brought us 37 programs/hours of programming in 28 days. June, July and through mid- August brought us 76 programs, and we already have quite a few programs scheduled for 2019. We held 12 open house events and plan to continue to offer these as many times as we possibly can. We also held our First Annual Birthday Bash in August which was quite the success and the animals received some great gifts. The guests got to eat the cake, though!
The only new animal acquired in 2018 is Stella, our female Eastern Red Bat. She came to us from Wildlife Haven in Crawford County with a permanent injury. We lost Lolo, our Silver Fox, after 16 years and also lost Russell, the Crow. We have no idea how old Russell was, but we had him for 14 years. We sure do miss his mischievousness and hearing him hoot like a Great Horned Owl. We are currently looking for a replacement so that Edgar, our other Crow, has a friend.
We were very fortunate to have been the recipient of Xander Nihart’s Eagle Scout project. Xander and his volunteers installed double door systems on our Opossum and Skunk enclosures and installed a window in between Luna, the Barn Owl’s, and Bellatrix, the Eagle Owl’s, enclosures for enrichment (see more on enrichment in the next paragraph). They created multiple other enrichment mechanisms for our animals and added gravel to our parking area! Thank you, Xander and all your volunteers!
To further our effort to provide enrichment for all of our animals, especially those that live alone, we decided to provide a viewing window, complete with a shutter that opens and closes, on the wall that separates Luna’s and Bellatrix’s enclosures. We moved slowly to introduce Luna and Bellatrix until we were able to eventually leave the shutter open for days. Finally, one morning, I found a toy that had been fed through the screen from Luna’s enclosure and pulled through as far as possible into Bellatrix’s side! Proof that they had been interacting. Where are the trail cams? In my office, of course!
We are excited to be working with Charlotte Belland, the Chair of Animation at the Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD), and with her students. We visited multiple times in 2018 and are excited to be hosting their students here in the Spring of 2019.
We are very pleased to share several ways in which you can help us keep our Wildlife Ambassadors well fed and cared for. You can purchase food and other items for our animals at all of the Columbus area Wild Birds Unlimited stores. They will have a wish-list of items we need on hand. Along with our Wild Birds Unlimited partnerships, we are truly blessed to continue to partner with L.L. Bean at Easton and Pet Supplies Plus on 21st Street in Newark, where we visit most months. We thank all of the above for their continued monetary and in-kind donations.
You can once again expect to see us at Half Price Books on Lane Avenue from December 8 through Christmas Eve where we will be gift wrapping Half Price Books purchases in exchange for donations to Ohio Nature Education. And, of course, we’ll have one of our furry or feathered critters with us for your viewing pleasure.
Please feel free to voice any concerns or questions with us.
We wish all of you a joyous and peaceful holiday season. As always, thanks for your support! We couldn’t do it without you!