Maintaining the AIWC centre requires a lot of volunteer commitment from a wide range of individuals with varying interests and skills. Each day volunteers work to clean indoor enclosures, ensuring the animals in our care have safe, comfortable, and sanitary environments in which to recover. This also results in numerous loads of laundry every day, meaning AIWC has to repair or replace washing machines and dryers much more frequently than an average household might.
Additional upkeep requires general maintenance like changing lightbulbs and fixing drains, but more significant construction work is ongoing to make sure, not only those animals staying temporarily, but also our resident education ambassadors, Griffin the red tailed hawk and Gulliver the striped skunk, remain safe and secure while at the centre.
Ongoing restoration of outdoor enclosures is necessary to keep recovering animals in and other animals out, while also creating a visual barrier to humans to prevent habituation that may inhibit wildlife release of our patients. You may also remember the severe hailstorms that hit in August 2014 that also caused significant damage to outdoor enclosures, requiring several emergency repair jobs by our volunteer construction team.
Artificial outside ponds must to be filled, emptied, and sanitized throughout the busy summer season. Specialized structures like the runway demand regular upkeep to maintain a safe space that helps recovering birds such as owls practice and regain flight.
AIWC volunteers have completed PVC framing work around large indoor tubs that provide temporary habitat for water-dwelling mammals like beavers and muskrats. Other finishing work has also been done at the centre in recent years (including getting a new sink this winter for the endless dishes we need to do!), and we have plans to upgrade existing structures and build new, necessary spaces to meet our constantly growing patient intake numbers.
AIWC could not provide this level of support to Alberta’s animals without the wide range of rehabilitative facilities available onsite, but this requires significant volunteer and in-kind support. If you would like to help AIWC with its wildlife recovery activities, please consider volunteering at AIWC or contributing to our wildlife baby shower wish list.
By: S. Ruddock, Volunteer Writer