Happy Earth Day 2017!

At the Wildlife Center, we like to think every day is Earth Day! In our daily activities of repairing and rehabilitating wild animals and educating the public on coexisting with wildlife, we hope to have a positive impact on not only one individual animal but on the population of wildlife as well. A healthy ecosystem relies on a healthy wildlife population and vice versa. So many of the animals we see at the Wildlife Center play crucial roles in the health of our environment -- vultures, bats, and opossums just to name a few! There are countless examples of the intimate relationships between wildlife and the environment and the delicate scale on which they are balanced. One of the most classic and beautiful examples is the reintroduction of grey wolves in Yellowstone National Park and their effect on river systems. In a nutshell, the presence of wolves puts pressure on the elk population which decreases heavy browsing on willows, a vital food source for beavers. More willows lead to a healthier beaver population which leads to more dams being built which leads to changes in water movement. How amazing is that? Read more about how wolves change rivers here.

In addition to our efforts in maintaining a healthy wildlife population, at the Wildlife Center of Virginia we strive to do all we can to reduce our carbon footprint by keeping the three “R’s” in mind!

REDUCE: We are lucky to have some pretty awesome supporters of the Wildlife Center, and by “support” I don’t necessarily mean monetary support! Two to three times a week, we receive donations from local grocery stores of produce items that are near or just past the “sell by” date but not yet spoiled. Many of our patients rely on these donations for their meals while in our care! By receiving these donations, we are REDUCING the amount of food that is thrown away by grocery stores.

 

REUSE: When possible, we REUSE or repurpose products that are normally thought to be trash items. One common (and cute!) example of this is the reuse of empty tissue boxes as “hidey-houses” for our squirrel, opossum, and cottontail patients! These boxes provide our small patients with a place to snuggle up to their littermates and feel a sense of security.

RECYCLE: Recycling is quite possibly the easiest thing any of us can do to make a difference for our planet. The average American produces more than four pounds of trash per day. That’s more than 1400 pounds per year! Most of that trash goes straight to a landfill … out of sight, out of mind, right? You can decide that for yourself, but at the Wildlife Center, we strongly support practices such as recycling and composting in order to reduce our contribution to landfills. We encourage you to do the same by familiarizing yourself with the recycling practices in your community!

So today and every day, remember that we’re all inhabitants of the same place and have a responsibility to take care of our earth. Get outside, feel the warm breeze, smell the spring flowers, stand in the dirt, and appreciate our planet!

--Dr. Peach