Monday, March 16, 2009

Wildlife Center of Virginia

Yesterday I visited Virginia's only wildlife hospital, the Wildlife Center in Waynesboro, and took the tour of the indoor and outdoor facility. (The Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center is interested in hosting one of the Wildlife Center's educational programs for our summer camps and for our afterschool program in the fall.)

There were many children on the tour who were fascinated by the stories of animal rescue and the little known facts about animal saftey. We learned how to mount decals on windows to help birds avoid flying into the glass (the decals are shaped like birds of prey, so they not only deflect glare, they also scare other birds away because of shape recognition). We were told that throwing an apple from a car can attract animals that may then get hit--so even though the apple is biodegradable, it still should be properly disposed of. And the tour leader taught us that a lone fawn is not usually orphaned--the mother tends to leave the baby alone during the day, so her presence doesn't attract predators to the baby.

We also got a close look at Spike, the resident snapping turtle-educator (animal educators have injuries that make release into the wild impossible), and Pignoli, the one-eyed barred owl.

The Wildlife Center offers many interesting on-site and traveling programs for children, including "Camouflage," which takes place in the woods and teaches how animals blend into their environments.

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