We often talk about the number of animals we see at Peace River Wildlife Center. Let’s look at the number of people that impact and are impacted by PRWC. By rough estimate, we have approximately 90,000 visitors each year coming to the Center to tour our permanent residents’ habitats and learn more about native Florida wildlife. Other people that we see are a result of outreach programs at schools, civic organizations, and community events.
PRWC’s mission is to rehabilitate orphaned, injured, and ill native Florida wildlife and get the healthy individuals back out into the wild. Our secondary mission is to educate the people living in and visiting this area how to peacefully coexist with the abundance of wildlife with which we are fortunate enough to share this little corner of paradise.
While the rehab staff consists of a few highly trained, not-so-highly paid rehabbers and technicians, the rest of PRWC’s staff comprises volunteers from all walks of life. More than 100 people a year give their time, their hearts, and often their own money to help keep PRWC open, clean, and operating smoothly. Even our paid staff members can be considered volunteers if one realizes that they could be making significantly more money in the private sector than working for a small non-profit.
Wednesday, February 23, 2017 is the day we celebrate and thank our staff (both volunteers and employees) with a special dinner in their honour, immediately following our annual membership meeting. If you are a member of PRWC or are unsure of your status and would like to attend the annual member meeting, call PRWC to get details.
Originally scheduled for Trabue, the event had to be changed at the last minute when it was decided that the wonderfully unique restaurant would be closed and turned into yet another Italian eatery. Just what downtown Punta Gorda needs—another place to get a bowl of soggy noodles in a pool of ketchup. (In case you couldn’t tell, I am not a fan of Italian food.)
So, we celebrate our volunteers. We thank them for cleaning every cage and habitat every day. They scrub, scoop, and rake. They chop food, wash laundry, and sweep floors. They provide tours, man the gift shop, and answer phones. They rescue injured animals, pick up donated items, and go to outreach events.
They are hospital aides, tour guides, gift shop clerks, maintenance engineers, cleaners, board members, office staffers, rescuers, outreach reps, and home care techs. This amazing little army keeps PRWC running and has been responsible for some of the major changes and improvements over the years. Without them we could not function on a daily basis and could not provide the level of care that we do to our patients and resident animals.
Thanks to our staff of volunteers and employees, Trip Advisor has rated PRWC as the #1 Thing To Do in Punta Gorda. We get visitors from all over the county, state, country, and world. Many of them come to see our star attraction, Luna, the leucistic (albino) owl.
Speaking of Luna, PRWC is having our first annual bluegrass festival as a fundraiser coming up. LunaFest will be Saturday, March 4, starting at 1p.m. at the Punta Gorda History Park. Featuring three well-known area bluegrass bands, LunaFest tickets are only $10 each and due to the intimate nature of the location, a limited number will be sold. Food and drinks will be available onsite. You are encouraged to bring your own chairs. For tickets and more information go to www.peaceriverwildlifecenter.org or call 941-637-3830.
by- Robin Jenkins, DVM