Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society
The Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (CWRS) is dedicated to treating injured and orphaned wildlife, providing valuable outreach and education services to the community and engaging all volunteers in motivational work and skill building experience.
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It’s Giving Tuesday, a day to give back to the community! To help local wildlife in need, please consider donating to CWRS. Your donation will help provide food, medicine and care for our overwintering patients. Donate now
Volunteer Spotlight: Kathleen Johnson
CWRS is very pleased to start a monthly volunteer spotlight to highlight the amazing work that our volunteers do here every day. CWRS could not exist without the help of our dedicated volunteers who donate their time in animal care, picking up animals at veterinary clinics, educating students, providing leadership on our board of directors and doing site maintenance and construction.
We are thrilled to showcase Kathleen Johnson, a pickup driver volunteer who started this year and has inspired all the staff with her enthusiasm and dedication. Thank-you for all your hard work and helping to ensure wildlife patients arrive at CWRS as quickly as possible, ensuring all our patients have the best possible outcomes!
1. What kind of work do you do?
I am a public servant with the federal government >/P>
2. What brought you to Calgary Wildlife?
I contacted Calgary Wildlife to check on an animal that had been brought in. Through the conversation I had with the kind staff on the phone, I inquired about opportunities to volunteer and learned about the need for drivers. This was right up my alley so forged ahead with an application to volunteer.
3. What is your favorite release story?
I was so pleasantly surprised to have the opportunity to help with releases. After all, the animal care staff and volunteers work incredibly hard directly with all of these amazing animals. The fact they share the exciting experience with all interested volunteers really speaks to the welcoming inclusiveness of everyone at the centre. Choosing a favourite is a tough one. My family and I have helped with Great Horned Owls, Hawks, Blue Jays, Ravens….the list from one summer is incredible to me. The White Faced Ibis will always stand out. I had done the pick up of a mystery bird from a vets’ s office. After a cold spell this bird had been found sitting on someone’s front step. When Ian opened the box we were so excited to discover this unique creature inside. It was such a gentle animal as Ian checked it over and we debated as to what exactly the bird was. Thanks to the great Animal Care team, weeks later the once cold and lost Ibis was rehabilitated and ready to go and I was the lucky one to do it. My daughter accompanied me with her camera in hand and together we released this bird, which barely has Alberta into its most northerly known habitat, at Frank Lake Conservation Centre near High River.
Photo Credit: Caroline Johnson
4. What do you wish others knew about Calgary Wildlife?
I love telling people about how rewarding the volunteer position of driving of wildlife is. With vet clinics accepting animals all over the city, the drivers are critical to ensure animals are quickly picked up and delivered to the centre. The volunteer position is so flexible that it fits anyone’s schedule and you have much more interaction with the wildlife then you expect as you can stay in attendance while the CWRS Animal Care team assesses the animal. The staff and volunteers in the clinic are so welcoming and really patient with answering questions and explaining the interesting facts about the animal or its condition. I was also amazed by the sheer volume of wildlife, mostly birds, to come through the door every single day through the spring and summer. Before volunteering, I had no concept of the diversity and of how much wildlife we all are interacting with every day in Calgary, and the critical role that CWRS has in our local environment. It really is stunning and they do such an amazing job.
5. What is your favorite way to connect with nature and enjoy local wildlife?
Actually through this volunteering, I have visited more parks and protected areas that I have taken for granted and never previously explored. When I have the opportunity to do a release I make sure I have loads of time. Sure enough, I will get to experience a new natural space each time and I love to have the time to enjoy the release and also to enjoy these areas that I’ve driven by a million times but never explored.
6. What is your favorite native animal?
I believe it would be the American Kestrel. So many people don’t realize that this incredible little falcon is flashing through the sky above them frequently throughout the City of Calgary. Whenever I hear their call I look up to try to spot them but am often too slow, which of course makes them all the more alluring. I was thrilled to release a young Kestel right back with its family in NE Calgary.
Positive change marries fundraising!
How do you like to contribute? One of our members came up with a very creative way to raise money for CWRS and improve her life at the same time. Maryann Bredin collected pledges to lose 30 lbs over 6 months, only to be paid out if she achieved her goal and achieve her goal she did! All the money she collected was donated to CWRS and amounted to over $2000! What a creative way to raise money, spread awareness of wildlife in need and provide the motivation to achieve a personal goal! Way to go Maryann! We think this is such an inspiring story of meshing positive change with charitable giving. How could your goals change the world? How could you creatively contribute?