Weber State University students are coordinating in part with the Community Involvement Center to give assistance to the Wildlife
Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. The WRCNU is looking for both volunteers and donations to the facility to help cover its variety of needs.
“It’s an important task,” said Maurice Crichlow, a WSU student who is helping coordinate the event. “Not only is it educational, it’s good for the community. I mean, I’m not one who loves birds, but I go there, and I see that they need help and it’s a worthy cause, and we’re very interested in helping them.”
Crichlow said boxes are placed in front of the Community Involvement Center in the Shepherd Union Building for students to fill with their donations. On Nov. 14, Crichlow said the CIC hopes to be able to fill one of WSU’s shuttle buses with donations for the WRCNU.
“Everything we do is volunteer,” said DaLyn Erickson, executive director for the WRCNU. “This is a community-based organization making some pretty awesome things happen.”
Most of the center’s needs are related to the rehabilitation of animals, including food, equipment, tools and miscellaneous supplies. Some of the food needed includes cat food, bird food, frozen mixed vegetables, raw unsalted whole nuts in shells, rabbit food, and rodent food. Supplies needed include paper towels, garbage bags, hand sanitizer, latex gloves, postage stamps, printer paper and ink. The center is also in need of equipment and tools such as hammers, lawn rakes, screwdrivers, wrenches and properly working power tools of all types.
A full list of the WRCNU’s acceptable items for donations can be found at www.wrcnu.org/pages/needs_list.
Erickson said donations and volunteer work are so essential because it’s what the center is based on and relies on.
“People assume if you have a bald eagle that there’s going to be some kind of federal money or some kind of government money to help save their life,” Erickson said. “There’s not. It’s all donations. You can get a grant for spay(ing) or neutering your pets — which is wonderful — but you can’t get a grant to save a bald eagle’s life. That’s one of the problems that we face, because people assume there’s got to be something out there for these animals, but there’s not.”
The center was formed in 2009 and came about as a result of the Ogden Nature Center closing its wild bird rehabilitation facility. According to its website, the WRCNU is the only wildlife rehabilitation center in Northern Utah.
Erickson said the WRCNU takes in about 1,800 animals each year with the goal of rehabilitating the animals for release back into the wild. The WRCNU takes birds, everything from hummingbirds to eagles, and small mammals such as chipmunks, squirrels, beavers and marmots — “little guys like that,” said Erickson, explaining the shelter doesn’t have the facilities to take in big game animals such as deer or elk.
“A big part of our mission is not only rehabilitation, but education,” Erickson said. “Because of the fact that 90 percent of what we’re getting in through our doors is due to some kind of human impact, that’s something that can be prevented — that we can stop from happening. It’s as simple as raising awareness and getting the word out there, getting the message out that we can prevent some of the stuff coming through our door.”
Erickson said the WRCNU releases about 68 percent of the animals it takes in back into the wild, and for animals that cannot be reintroduced to the wild, it works to try to find homes for them, such as Tracy Aviary, Hogle Zoo, and zoos and aviaries across the nation.
Since the WRCNU helps rehabilitate a lot of birds, Crichlow joked about WSU Wildcats helping a facility that helps birds.
“You know, cats like birds . . . ” he said.
Interested students can bring their donations to WSU and put them in the boxes in front of the CIC. Students interested in doing volunteer work with the WRCNU can call them at 801-814-7888, visit the website at www.wrcnu.org, or like the page on Facebook for more information.