Wednesday, January 12, 2011

52 Weeks of Giving - Week 2 (Wildlife Rehabilitation Center)

During the second week of January, Sophia, Olivia, and I are doing the second project in our 52 Weeks of Giving.  This week (and during future weeks), we are collecting and trimming newspaper into 8" x 6" pieces for the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota. 

 Feeding a young  squirrel at the
Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota

The WRC states on its website that it goes "...through, literally, tons of newspaper every year. We use the black and white, non-gloss portions to line animal cages. In our Avian Nursery the newspaper pieces are trimmed to neatly fit inside the bird's cages. We'll go through more than 200 of these trimmed sheets every day from late April to late August."

Bluebird with broken wing

They need volunteers to collect, trim, and drop off the newspaper cage liners.  This simple activity saves the WRC money and staff time.

Sophia making newspaper cage liners for the WRC

For those interested in helping with this effort, WRC requests that the sheets be trimmed to 8" x 6" and can be single or multiple pages (e.g., folded).

Olivia putting the cut newspaper cage liners into a paper bag with handles

The trimmed liners should be collected in a handled, paper bag (like a grocery bag) or in a cardboard office paper box (that reams of paper come in) and delivered to the WRC when they are at least 2/3 full.


As I was further exploring the WRC website, I noticed that there is another way to volunteer from home: by becoming a volunteer for the Orphan Outreach Program. The WRC website says that the "...volunteers are licensed rehabbers who provide round-the-clock care to patients who need more feedings than we can provide at the Center."

Newborn squirrel at the WRC

"To become a licensed rehabber, you'll work with the state's DNR in preparing for a test and a home inspection. Once licensed, we'll provide you with the materials you need (baskets for housings, food, syringes, etc.) and pair you with another WRC OOPs volunteer who will act as a mentor. If you'd like to learn more, visit the DNR site on how to obtain your license."

This is something that I'm interested in doing, so I've already contacted the DNR and found the book that used to prepare for the licensing test.  If I can study and pass the test, training at the WRC for the OOP program would begin in March.


There are also opportunities to volunteer at the WRC's facility.  I think volunteering in the Mammal or Waterfowl Nursery would be fascinating. There's a 3-4 month time commitment, and no rabies vaccine is required.

River otters that were rehabilitated at WRC
and then released

A three-shot rabies vaccination and subsequent titer draw after the last shot is required to work with the older animals and birds in the rest of the center.  At $180/shot (for a total of $540 + the fee for the titer draw), it is (unfortunately) cost-prohibitive for me to be a volunteer...unless I can find the money to do this.  In that case, I'd be able to work with animals like river otters, trumpeter swans, geese, fox, and other equally interesting animals.


If you're interested in any one of these opportunities, contact the WRC at (651) 486-9453, visit the WRC website, or fill out the online volunteer application.

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