2023 Year in Review: Ashlee VanArsdale, Development Associate

It’s time to look back on 2023! Check our blog between Christmas and New Year’s for a variety of stories and memories of 2023 from the staff and volunteers of the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

For me, the best part about working in Development is speaking to and building relationships with people from many walks of life who support our mission – some have been with us since our barn days, some have been around for 10+ years, and some who just learned who the Wildlife Center is this year at an eagle release or outreach program. However, this year, I got to meet a donor who truly touched my heart and gave me hope for the future for not only the Wildlife Center but for the wildlife that we care for daily.

On May 6, we hosted many donors in person for our Homecoming event – a celebration dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the Wildlife Center where we were able to reflect on our history and the accomplishments we’ve been able to achieve with the support of our generous donors.

Lois, a six-year-old girl, was unable to attend Homecoming since it was scheduled for past her bedtime … so she planned her own event with her friends and family to raise money to donate to the Center! My heart melted when I learned someone of such a young age had the heart and intelligence to want to craft her own fundraising event. I remember when my love for animals started, and I’d say it was around the same age as this sweet girl – I saw much of myself in her!

The event was hosted in Lois’s front yard with animal-themed crafts, food, and an education program led by my coworker, Connor. You could see the light glimmer in Lois’s eyes when Marigold, one of our Virginia Opossum ambassadors, was on the table for the program. Lois was eager to listen, learn, and answer questions.

After her event ended, Lois raised more than $2,500.00 for the Wildlife Center.

Seeing someone of a younger generation already have so much passion and excitement about what we do here at the Wildlife Center tugged at my heartstrings and is a memory that I will never forget.

Thank you, Lois – for your support and for touching my heart. I hope you continue to follow the Wildlife Center and maybe even work with us one day!

Read more about Lois and how this event unfolded on our website!

– Ashlee VanArsdale, Development Associate

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