2022 Year in Review: Lauren Glaze, Communications Coordinator

It’s time to look back on 2022! Check our blog between Christmas and New Year’s for a variety of stories and memories of 2022 from the staff and volunteers of the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

I know that people around me in the office are probably getting tired of hearing me say it, but I adore Marigold, the Center’s education Virginia Opossum. Of all my memories with her so far, my favorite has been planning and conducting a photoshoot with her and her namesake flower. I think that any piece of art made with love is going to turn out to be a good piece of art, and this motivated me to take these portraits. She is an elderly opossum now, so I feared that I didn’t have much longer to create something to honor her and the work she has done in the world as an ambassador for her species.

Connor helped direct Marigold with food as I snapped the shots from the corner of her enclosure. She bumbled around in her friendly Marigold way, sniffing and snuffling among the hues of marigold orange and yellow to welcome us into her humble abode.

 

A handful of mice, a few fingers snaps to redirect her, and an awkward stumble later, Marigold made her way to the platform I had prepared for her, adorned with a garland and vase of marigold flowers.

 

Her face changed [I like to think it lit up with glee] as Connor offered her the flowers (admittedly with a bit of peanut butter smeared on them to really catch her attention).

 

Once she got onto the platform, I think that her model side really came out. The photos were full of emotion, graceful poses, and that special opossum flair.

 

 

This is my favorite memory not only because I now have some hilarious photos to feed my soul for the rest of eternity as a result, but also because it was a unique and special opportunity to sit with a member of this awesome species and learn her individual quirks, facial expressions, and mannerisms when she is at ease — all of which you would never get the opportunity to see in the wild as an opossum is darting away in the dark, hissing at you from afar, or sadly lying injured or dead on the side of the road. The bright, toothy smile on her face that appears when food arrives makes me giggle every time.

 

I’m not sure how much longer Marigold has with us, but I am soaking up every moment, just being present with her as she ages and she takes on the qualities of a geriatric opossum. I hope that these photos warm your heart as she has warmed mine — and remind you that all of the other opossums out there are just as precious as Marigold with their own unique qualities.

— Lauren Glaze, Communications Coordinator

Check out all of our year-in-review posts!