The sun is shining and the snow is melting! It is that time of year when the wee ones of the wild world will be showing themselves.
Thanks to several donors, the MRWC now has its own "fleet" of vehicles. A grant from the Community Initiatives Program gave us the Mazda 5 a few years ago, as winners of the Scott KIA challenge we were awarded the Kia Rio last year, and a gift from the Alberta Wildlife Rehabilitators' Association allowed us to purchase a used Dodge truck this year!
These various vehicles give us the flexibility we needed and no longer have to rely on volunteers' vehicles to accomplish our day-to-day operations. The truck gets put into use mostly during the fostering season when we are in the field or when a truck is required to complete a task. The Mazda is the education vehicle going to schools, community groups and trade shows. The most economical vehicle, the Kia, is used for errands and travelling done by the international volunteers. Now we just need the new building to park these impressive vehicles in front of!
Changes to our International Volunteer Program in 2015 could include you! Each year, volunteers from all over Europe, Australia and New Zealand have come to stay, work and learn at MRWC. Each volunteer stays between 10-12 weeks with a few leaving early and a few staying for an extended period of time. 9 are already booked to come in 2015.
Make your gifts meaningful this Christmas and donate in a loved one's name. Receive an instant, personalized and printable certificate when you donate through our website. Be sure to check "gift this donation" when filling out the online form. Makes a great teacher's gift too!
This year's AGM was held on June 12 at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre. It was a fun gathering with a presentation on our fostering project given by Carol Kelly and Judy Boyd. A new Board of Directors was voted on and we're very excited with the team that the Centre is moving forward with. Heading up the Board is President, Lois Burkinshaw, Vice President, Liana Shaw and Secretary/Treasurer, Kurt Belich. We now have 6 directors, Andrea Brack, Sharon Bright, Deb Fettig, John Caddy, Sharon MacPherson and Lorna Lansard. Ex-Officio, Carol Kelly and Recording Secretary, Judy Boyd complete the group. Thanks to our new and continuing members!
This year, in the midst of moving female ducks and their young from risky places on the streets of Red Deer, 1 Mama duck and her ducklings became separated. The Centre's staff has become pretty darn good at catching and reuniting in this situation and within about 4 hours they were back together.
Just about this time, the Centre's staff reported ducklings hatching in the incubator so it was decided to put the Mama duck and her little ones into the indoor pond for a short while to give the newly hatched babies a mother to imprint on.
Over the next few days, more and more orphans were admitted to our hospital. Mama duck happily took them on and before long she had reached a total of 42 ducklings in her care! If anyone has ever doubted that a wild duck will foster orphans, this certainly proved that they will!
After the little ones had grown enough, Mama duck and her brood were relased into our wetland.
This year we have we have admitted close to 1800 injured, orphaned and compromised wild creatures; quite a change from our first year over 30 years ago when we received just 14!
The Centre's "Community Wildlife Liaison" (CWL) position has been carried out, part time, as one of Judy Boyd's jobs the past 3 years. Our CWL is called in when a person has a challenge concerning wildlife - e.g.: bats in the roof, a skunk under the shed, a porcupine eating bushes, or noisy crows. The workload for this position became overwhelming for Judy last year, when added to her already busy orphan fostering role. This year, Alberta Animal Services in Red Deer decided to turn all wildlife calls over to us, increasing the workload even further.
To ease the pressure and to respond more efficiently to the calls, we have hired Gwenevere Marshall to do the job. Gwen has worked temporarily for the Centre, on and off for the past 5 years. She is a zoologist and avid environmentalist with a special interest in the corvid family (crows, magpies, jays and ravens).
Over the winter months, due to lack of space with the renovations, the 3 education owls have been living at Education Coordinator, Erin's home in Cochrane. This has given 2 young volunteers the chance to help out with their care. Local teens, Shelby and Reed, have volunteered their time to come 2-3 times per week to assist with cleaning, feeding, handling and training of the owls. They have been a huge help and their dedication is admired and appreciated. Thank you Reed and Shelby!