Center for Wildlife Monthly E-newsletter

Our Community has Spoken- Local Wildlife Matters!
Photo Credit: Erin Tuveson
Not only was 2016 an unprecedented year for animal admissions, with 1,831 songbirds, owls, hawks, turtles, squirrels, porcupines, opossums, mice, and woodchucks coming through our doors, but because of your generosity, 2016 was also an unprecedented year for fundraising. We set out with a lofty goal of $60,000 for the month of December, 1/6th of the operating budget needed to fund medication, staff time, specialized heating and lighting, food, and all of the other costs to do our unique work throughout the year.  

With your help, Center for Wildlife raised...$102,514! This is by far the most money we have ever raised in a single month. Over 600 individuals, local businesses, and foundations made gifts from $8 to $15,000 and with your gift you spoke: local wildlife matters, our work matters. This year all of our staff, volunteers, interns, board members, were all hands on deck without a second to breathe. As your gifts, notes, affirmations, and moral support came through in droves, you charged our batteries. You made us smile by saying your children want to grow up like us, you made us cry when you said that we are making a difference in the world and future generations, and you made us laugh (with pride!) when you adopted one of our reptile ambassadors for a friend with the message "reptiles are people too".

Thank you for valuing our work, sharing our stories, and believing in what we do. We are truly humbled by your generosity and that of our community. What's that Margaret Mead saying? "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." It takes a village to build a sustainable future for wildlife and their habitats, and we are so grateful that you have joined us in this mission. We are also grateful that you recognize that we are not separate from nature or wildlife, and that we need them just as much as they need us to steward and protect this earth that we all share.

Movers and Shakers
2016 was a monumental year for Center for Wildlife in many ways. We purchased our own land, and entered the quiet leadership phase of our capital campaign "Investing in Wildlife: Building a Sustainable Future". We grew our board and supporter base. We treated more wild animals, reached more community members, and even held rare animals like the American bittern and the sora in our careful and caring hands. We are proud to share that were recognized as a community Mover and Shaker in York by local journalist Deb McDermott.

Click here to read her feature article!
Update on Squirrel Girl
We have been overwhelmed by the response to September's "squirrel girl," whose story was shared in our year-end appeal letter. We have since learned that the rescuer named her "Squeaky." Squeaky was admitted as an orphan and had sustained significant head trauma. The hole found in her skull caused neurological issues, including an impact on gross motor skills such as eating hard foods. Unlike human teeth, rodents' teeth grow continuously which provide protection against chipping or breaking throughout a life of eating hard food. In turn, eating their preferred diet of seeds, nuts, trees, or bones keep their teeth at a healthy length and prevent overgrowth.

We cheered when she could hold herself upright, then as she took a blueberry offering and broke through its skin to get to the juice and pulp.  When we found seed husks on the ground in her enclosure, the excited murmur of 
"she's eating seeds now!" spread through staff and volunteers like wildfire. Squeaky is making slow but steady progress with her teeth; eating seeds and nuts, and occasionally gnawing on cuttlebones and antlers.   Medical clinic staff still need to trim her teeth every 2-3 weeks, but this is a big improvement from the weekly trimming she 
needed in the fall! 

Because she needs to be anesthesized for this procedure and prolonged exposure can develop secondary health issues, we are hoping that she can regain the skills of eating hard food on her own in order to be a candidate for a quality life of sanctuary with us. When she's not outside with Skeeter, our resident grey squirrel ambassador, getting schooled on proper squirrel behavior, Squeaky enjoys sunbathing on top of her nest box in her clinic room and soaking in the waning afternoon light. We remain cautiously optimistic about her becoming an ambassador and friend to Skeeter, and will look forward to keeping you updated on her progress.

2016 Tax Receipts
The end of the year not only marks the changing of calendars, but also the beginning of tax season. If you would like a summary of your 2016 charitable giving to Center for Wildlife, please email Emma, our Development Coordinator, by January 16, so we can get that to you by the end of the month. Monthly "Friends" donors will automatically receive this report, but we are happy to process other requests as well. Thank you for your generosity!
Muskrat Love
The last mammal admitted in 2016 was a first year, female muskrat. She was found huddled under someone's car in a shopping plaza parking lot in Biddeford. Upon examination we found that she had no injuries and was in perfect body condition. We wanted to get her back to the wild as soon as possible, but when we pulled up her location and habitat that's when things started to get complicated...

The map showed a tiny pond behind a shopping plaza. Muskrats do not hibernate, nor rely completely on stashed food in the winter, but they do have established territories, share dens that they build in the fall, and even store leftover food in "push ups" in the ice. Unable to ask her what happened like a human doctor can ask their patient, we had to try and put pieces together ourselves. Did the small habitat run out of resources and she left to find more food? Was she kicked out of the den because of lack of resources? Did she simply make a wrong turn that day? Sonja donned some snowshoes and headed into the habitat to try and gather more clues and come up with a release or overwintering plan.

Fortunately after some searching, Sonja found two other small ponds and a series of wetlands connected to the original pond behind the plaza. Cat tails and other muskrat preferred plants and grasses were evident, along with a bit of open water and banks. Because she was in great weight, her coat was gorgeous, and she was so feisty, we made the call to get her back to the wild and give her a chance in her home territory. Muskrats are a bit more tolerant of others in the winter compared to nesting season, so we feel good that she will get right back home or have a warmer welcome if she runs into others.  Her story illustrates how difficult it can be to get wildlife back to the wild when development pressures lead to habitat loss, and because we drink the same water and live on the same earth, we encourage stewardship and smarter development that has less impact on our natural resources. 

Barred Owl Returns to the Forest
Photo Credit: Erin Tuveson
This barred owl had been featured in a previous e-newsletter, admitted to the clinic after being found in the road, hit by a car. Upon admission our clinic staff found that he had fairly significant eye trauma and some head trauma. Not surprising considering he was a 1.25lb bird struck by a car traveling ~50 miles per hour on Route 1. After months of supportive and medical care, we are thrilled to share that his head trauma resolved, and his detached retina grew back! Here is a great shot of the barred owl taking a final look at his caretakers. Their camouflage for the New England forest is incredible. Raptors, including owls, have an 85% mortality rate their first winters, and we receive more raptors this time of year than other seasons. How can you help owls and other wildlife? 
  • Keep food and trash out of the road. When you attract prey to forage you attract all species
  • Support your local land trusts and initiatives like York Land Trust, Mount A to the Sea, and Seacoast Land Trust 
  • Attend town meetings and understand where development is being proposed, and advocate for wildlife crossings under and over roads that are being built that may fragment a habitat. Serve on your local Conservation Commission?  Email Sarah about having CFW as a guest speaker 
  • And of course, continue supporting your local wildlife rehabilitator
Farewell, sweet barred owl!  
Does Extinction Matter?

Beyond our programming to pre-K through 12, senior centers, and family and public programming, we enjoy collaborating and being guest speakers for universities, conferences, conservation commissions, or partner events.  Each of our staff have a different perspective, background, and expertise and it can be a welcome break from the "daily grind".  We are also always pleased to have speaker fees go directly toward our work sustaining local wildlife.  

We were thrilled to meet with UNH Department of Natural Resources & the Environment Faculty Fellow, Jennifer Purrenhage, to discuss internships and potential collaborations a few weeks ago.  Out of the meeting came the idea for CFW to visit Jennifer's "Does Extinction Matter?" class, full of students not only in the Natural Resources department, but also those with a focus on Humanities.  The course examines causes and potential consequences of biodiversity loss.  As students consider ecological,
economic, and ethical perspectives, they will be asked to develop an informed personal answer to the question: 'Does extinction matter?'.  

As Center for Wildlife continues to fight an uphill battle against shrinking habitat, air and water pollution, and other threats to local wildlife (and ultimately ourselves), we look forward to gaining insight into what makes a young person decide.  Kristen and Sarah look forward to the visit, and hope that our wildlife ambassadors can work their magic, and spark that answer deep inside that shouts "yes, it does!".  
Working for Wildlife in 2017

Corporate Matches - you could double your support for FREE!

Have you checked with your employer recently to see if they offer matching funds for charitable giving? There are over 23,000 companies in the US that offer matching gifts, often doubling - but sometimes tripling! - your support. Some companies also offer this benefit to retirees or spouses. Locally, employees at Liberty Mutual, Bank of America, IBM, and Exxon Mobil have taken advantage of their corporate programs to support Center for Wildlife. Questions about matching gifts and how to get started? Contact Emma.

Center for Wildlife now part of United Way of York County
We are pleased to report that we have joined forces with United Way of York County! Employees at Hannaford, IDEXX, LLBean, and any other organization that use United Way for charitable giving can now use payroll deduction to make quarterly gifts to Center for Wildlife. We are excited about this partnership, and are grateful for your support!
Upcoming Events
Saturday, January 21st 
(10:00a - 12:00p)
Making Tracks with Wildlife at Mount A

What happened here? Whose footprint is that? Join Center for Wildlife and Mt. A to answer these questions and more! Following a live animal demonstration, we will take a hike and learn how to identify the tracks of our local wildlife as well as the evidence of several telltale wildlife encounters. By recognizing the wing-prints of an owl catching their prey, or the midden left over by a grey squirrel's snack, we can learn so much about our wildlife's winter habits! We will also practice making our own tracks, and seeing how our actions look in the fresh fallen snow.

**Open to all ages; moderate hike; $7 suggested donation
**Email Katie to reserve your spot today

Friday, January 27th
Owl Prowl Series
Our popular Owl Prowl Series is back! This fun event introduces participants to the amazing adaptations of native owls. We'll meet under our education pavilion to learn about native owl species, their ecology, adaptations, and meet local representatives up close! Following the presentation, we'll take a short walk into the surrounding habitat to call for owls and listen for whooo might call back.

This event has a suggested donation of $7 per participant
**Email Katie to reserve your spot today

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