I pulled up to my first day at the Ohio Wildlife Center about 10 minutes late as I had taken at least 2 wrong turns on my way from downtown Columbus to somewhere past Dublin. I stepped over a No Public Access sign to find myself in a green landscape full of trees, grass, plants, bushes, life. My supervisor, Logan, and I walked past a few hawks, owls and even a turkey in a building to my right and approached a cabin-like structure that housed the office of the center. The cabin had originally been a family home until the center was founded and since has been transformed to house the administrative offices as well as a few various turtles, chipmunks, rats, frogs and other amphibians in aquariums. I was then introduced to the warm and receptive team, including a young fox with a head injury that was running around one of the upstairs rooms. Logan let me get situated and then took me on a tour of the grounds.
My name is Olivia Adkins and I’m an incoming third-year at the Ohio State University majoring in Public Management, Leadership and Policy with a minor in Business and a passion for conservation, non-profits and pasta. This combination of a love of the earth and the non-profit sector lead me to the Columbus Foundation Fellowship which brought me to this new and exciting place on a Monday morning.
So I have to admit, I had truly no idea what to expect from Ohio Wildlife Center prior to my arrival. What I indeed found was a small group of very passionate people in facilities that were efficient and effective, words not always used in the non-profit sector. Everyone was warm, welcoming and animal loving. I also ran into a few turtles, frogs, rats, snakes, opossums, owls, merlins, wild turkeys, raccoons, coyotes, foxes and hawks along the way as well. The center was literally bustling with wildlife—a group of young summer campers included.
Ohio Wildlife Center has a wildlife hospital, admitting nearly 5,000 animals per year, where anyone can bring any animals they find injured, sick or in danger free of charge. From a turtle who’s shell had been cracked by a car while crossing the road to orphaned fuzzy ducklings to a hawk that had a run-in with a fire pit, the hospital is full of stories. The center then sends the animals to a rehabilitation facility to monitor progress prior to re-release into the wild. My role at Ohio Wildlife Center will entail digital marketing via the organization website as well as social media engagement. I will be capturing the stories of animals that come through the center as well as assisting in the day to day administration as much as I can!
Throughout the course of my first week I have been acclimating to my new ecosystem and experiencing a lot of firsts– first time getting sprayed by a baby skunk was one of them. This environment is energizing, refreshing and empowering. Positivity cannot be undervalued or overlooked in our world and finding this group of people whose sole mission is to better the world around them with no ulterior motive makes my soul sing. The center’s motto is “fostering awareness and appreciation of Ohio’s native wildlife through rehabilitation, education and wildlife heath studies.” It is a place of growth, education and reemergence and I’m excited to begin my own metamorphosis here.
Prepare for the wildlife puns,