I stumbled across a Time Off Community Support Grant Program application form at work one day and was surprised to learn that I could apply for a one-week grant of paid time off to support the community in which I work; this an important part of my company’s commitment to their employees and the community.
I perused the application to see what kind of information was requested and immediately started researching various local organizations that I might want to use my grant to volunteer with. And it didn’t take long before I answered that question: Wildlife Rescue Inc. of New Mexico! Why? Because they also have an intensive volunteer program to help injured or sick BIRDS!
I knew immediately that dedicating one week of service to this organization would dramatically improve my ability to care for the birds in our certified wildlife habitat. It would also give me a chance to volunteer for a cause I am passionate about and give back to my community. It seemed like a Win-Win situation so I submitted my application.
That was several weeks ago and am still waiting to hear the Board’s decision. In the meantime, I took a tour of the wildlife clinic (located at the Rio Grande Nature Center) a few weeks ago and began the open-book exam required for handling birds. I also attended the first training session just yesterday. With some other 100 individuals (of all ages), I spent 5 hours at the clinic learning about how the clinic operates and meeting some of their education birds.
Just look at these amazing pictures. These beautiful birds were all rescued by the organization, but are not releasable into the wild due to some permanent injury. Because the organization has a permit to hold birds for education purposes, these birds live at the clinic and are used for educating the public about co-existing with local wildlife and what to do if an animal or bird is injured or sick.
I was impressed by the complexity of the organization and all that goes on behind the scenes to protect our local wildlife and birds! More importantly, I was impressed to learn that this organization is 100% supported by volunteers. There are no paid staff. (Wow!)
I’m waiting to hear the results of my open-book exam and am hoping I pass with flying colors because next Saturday I will attend the hands-on training session at the clinic. I can’t wait!
And, I’m curious, as a bird-lover, where do YOU volunteer and what’s been YOUR experience?