This Thursday, Ohio Wildlife Center held an event called the Evening Release Celebration as a fundraiser and community outreach program. We released a barred owl and two little Virginia Opossums with the company of about 40 guests.
The two opossums were none too eager to be released, they moseyed around for a solid 7 minutes before they wandered back into the wild. These opossums were brought to us when their mother was hit by a car so they had been raised in our wildlife hospital from early stages and were finally ready to hit the ground running– or slowly waddling.
Next, we released a barred owl that had been hit by a car in the winter and had been nursed back to health by our trained veterinary technicians. This release was exhilarating to watch. One of our handlers opened the carrier and out swooped this magnificent bird of prey, climbing upwards into the sky with a roughly four foot wingspan.
Our audience was wowed and quite frankly so was I. Moments such as these exemplify the hard work that I observe everyday from our animal caretakers to our administrative staff coming full circle in releasing a wild creature back to it’s home, healthy and magnificent. The evening continued with live music and animal-lovers mingling with hor d’oeuvrs and drinks in our reclaimed 1891 wooden Bonner barn. The weather was pleasant and I appreciated the genuine passion and light evident in the eyes of the guests around me. Good people doing something good. While events can be strenuous in terms of set up and tear down, I drove home at 10 pm that night exhausted and content. Forty more people just got to witness a miracle of healing, recovery and life. Maybe that’s not much but if even half of our efforts are manifested in donations, volunteerism or conservation efforts, it was well worth the while.
It can be easy to get frustrated and beat down by the 24 hour news cycle of negativity and contention in the human race. But these small victories of pure human energy are the precious fuel that the non-profit sector continues to thrive upon.