Reasons To Volunteer by Sharran Raney, MLS

Our guest blogger is one of our volunteers: Sharran Raney, MLS. We asked Sharran to give us some of her thoughts about “reasons for volunteering” and here are her top 9 reasons:

Meet new people/Make new friends: for “Strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet” (generally attributed to Actor Will Rogers, n.d.). So if you are new to the area, your friends have moved away, or you are finally in a phase of life that allows you time to cultivate new friendships, volunteering is a great way of finding others with a common interest.

Strengthen current friendships or family connections: by encouraging them to volunteer with you.

Get healthier: for according to the University of California San Diego [UCSD] (2014), moods and emotions like optimism and joy “strengthen the immune system”. In addition, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2013), “…maintaining social engagement, and participating in intellectually stimulating activities” helps keep your brain active and lessens the risk of memory impairment such as Alzheimer’s Disease.

Promote personal growth and self-esteem: as you develop empathy, gain additional abilities to work in collaboration with others and discover your self-efficacy (UCSD, 2014). East Valley Wildlife (EVW) has many knowledgeable volunteers and have periodic training sessions to help you gain skills needed to be successful.

Temporarily forget your troubles: It is true that volunteering will not rid your life of all troubles, but it may help provide you with an opportunity to focus on something else for a little while.

Gain professional experience: Having volunteer experience on your resume lets employers know that you have a passion and enthusiasm for that subject area so much so that you are willing to give of your time and talents. For those of you that are thinking about majoring in or those of you who have majored in subjects similar to Veterinary Medicine, volunteering with EVW may be a chance to see if you will like your major or what area you may actually like to specialize in. Finally, for those of you who need references for a resume or application, one of the best ways to find a good reference is to make those connections even before you need one and then you have them when you do.

Childlike wonder: Get that Christmas-like magic back when you see the birds and small mammals in your care do something charming or remarkable.

A sense of accomplishment: You can know that you made a difference.

Volunteering with EVW is flexible: What I mean is that you can volunteer from home, at someone else’s home or at a community event. You can provide hands-on assistance by directly caring for birds or assist EVW with another specialty and passion such as drawing, painting, writing, marketing, raising money, computer graphic design, or photography. You can help simply by providing encouragement to those who are caring for hundreds of babies during the baby bird season such as by setting up a time with certain volunteers to drop off meals, help them with their dishes (as making baby food for lots of baby birds really causes your dishes to stack up), or write notes of encouragement to those volunteers. The best part is that this is not an exhaustive list. If you have other ideas or ways you could help please let us know!

In summary: Just as each bird is created with their specific beauty and special qualities so is each person created uniquely with their own beauty and qualities. No one can complete certain tasks and help East Valley Wildlife quite the same way you can. We would love to hear from you.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (October 4, 2013). Mental health: Dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease. Retrieved from

University of California San Diego. (2014). Community service: Top 10 reasons to volunteer. Retrieved from

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Falling in Love with South Dakota

roaming peacocks

Recently returned from South Dakota.  Spent an idyllic week in a log cabin near Custer State Park for a conference.  The wildlife was awesome…I mean LARGE wildlife, like tons of bison roaming free (or freeish) in Custer State Park.  It snowed the second day I was there and the native South Dakotans said that it was really rare for snow that early in September.  Visited Mt. Rushmore, of course, and another impressive memorial work…The Crazy Horse Memorial.  I suggest a visit and make sure you partake of the brief movie in the visitor center.  You will leave the movie with a very different perspective of the amount of work that has been accomplished and remains to be done on the memorial.  I added a photo of some interesting “wildlife”, peacocks!  Not sure if they are indigenous or just found their way to the area.  Also saw some wild turkey…BIG birds, but too skittish to get a good photo of them.  COMING NEWS….We will soon have a guest blogger!  Looking forward to her new “voice” in this blog.  If you have any interesting ideas for a blog, send me a comment.


The Medical Language of Rehabbing

There are many medical terms (for humans) that have ‘transitioned’ into the language of rehabbing.  Here are just a few, which you might recognize: (Note: the explanation is written in ‘common’ language, not the more complex medical terminology)

septicemic. When a disease is said to be septicemic, it means that the toxins have invaded the blood stream and can travel to other parts of the system

opportunistic disease.  Is a disease caused by organisms normally residing harmlessly in the body of a healthy bird.  if the bird’s immune system becomes compromised, the pathogens take advantage of this opportunity to cause disease.

pathogen. Is an organism that causes disease (bacteria, viruses, fungi for example)

necrotic. This word means that the cells have died. If there is necrotic tissue in a wound, that tissue has died and needs to be removed so the wound can heal correctly.

palpate.  When you are directed to palpate an area on the bird, you want to use your fingers (usually thumb and forefinger) and GENTLY press/squeeze to check the condition.

debriding.  Means to cut away the foreign, contaminated, necrotic material from a wound or infected lesion until healthy tissue is exposed.

prophylactic.  This word means preventive.  When birds are given a prophylactic dose of medicine, it means they do not have or exhibit signs of a disease, but they are at risk.

Our coming e-book will have a complete glossary of terms used by expert rehabilitators, and rehab terms are used throughout the book.

You will also need to know some terminology if you are to apply for permits and licensing to do rehabilitation work with wildlife.



Any Leftover Easter Goodies????

I thought the title might catch your eye! You might be thinking, ugh!  If I still have Easter candy left over, I would NOT want to eat it!  No candy, but what we are seeking are donations of empty Easter baskets for 2015 Easter Basket Bonanza fund raiser.  We are also in need of clean stuffed toys and small games with an “Spring/Easter” theme.  We could also use ribbons.  Our Easter Basket fundraiser has been a great success for many years.  It has been such a success that we have run out of baskets!  We work on the baskets throughout the year.  Each basket is given a “theme”, for example a “truck” basket, or a “jungle” basket (filled with ‘wild’ stuffed animals).  We become VERY creative when it comes to filling the baskets (last season we had a rubber ducky basket and a pony basket).  Our baskets do not have any candy in them.  Also, During the Spring/Easter season we encourage the public to “Get Stuffed!”  We ask them to purchase a cute cuddly stuffed animal and not a live duckling or chick.  Live baby animals are NOT toys!  So if you have any nice looking baskets, we would love to take them off your hands! along with those toys, games and ribbons.    Send an email to Nancy at that you have baskets to donate!  THANKS.


Things Are Heating Up!

Hi,  After a really hectic baby season here at EVW, we are moving into another busy time.  I wrote previously about our major efforts to move into the twenty first century with our technical doings.  The e-book, Off To A Flying Start, is coming along nicely.  Following an extended  editorial telephone conference, we will soon have the beginnings of a workable document.  Then our techie guru can begin her magic on revisions later this year.  There have been updates to our website and a new Volunteer Response Form.  We hope to have the Volunteer Response Form interactive sometime soon.  If a potential volunteer expresses interest in our work, they will be able to complete the form on line, rather than mailing the form back to us.  Since most of us have forgotten what a postage stamp looks like, this will be a major leap forward!  We will have the new Volunteer Handbook ready shortly. We plan to make that available on line also.  The e-newsletter, Bird Tracks,  is celebrating its anniversary this month!  Cannot believe that only six months ago I was struggling with making sense of how to build an e-newsletter!  Thanks to many of you for your contributions about possible topics.  And the big news…we just might have a guest blogger!!  That is still “in the works”.  I felt it was time to give another voice to this blog, with fresh ideas, topics and new approach to content.  So…stay tuned for more developments.


Altricial vs. Precocial?? Some rehabbin language

In my previous post I mentioned that our September e-newsletter will have information about the licensing requirements for becoming a rehabber in Arizona. What I did not mention, is that wildlife rehabilitators learn what amounts to a new “language” of terms, used when talking about their profession. Two terms that are fairly common for bird (avian) rehabbers…altricial and precocial. These are two frequent terms in an avian rehabilitators vocabulary. The word altricial comes from the Latin word altrix: “nurse”. It describes birds that hatch in a helpless condition and that must be ‘nursed’ until they are able to leave the nest. The word precocial – like the more familiar word precocious – refers to birds that hatch fully developed and are able to leave the nest soon after hatching. In this case, size does matter when it comes to eggs. Some birds that have precocial young have eggs relatively larger in size than the eggs of similar sized birds that have altricial young. Precocial eggs (the larger eggs) contain more nutritive material and require longer to hatch, the young emerge more developed. For an example, the adult killdeer is about the size of a robin. Killdeer chicks are precocial and the killdeer eggs are larger than those of the altricial robin. Killdeer eggs require about 26 days to hatch, while robin eggs require about 13 days. The killdeer young emerge from the egg and are able to run, while the robin’s babies are helpless. The young robins stay in the nest another 10 to 14 days until they are able to leave the nest, then they still flutter around and are under the care of the parents until they learn to fly. There are also semi-altricial and semi-precocial birds, but more about those later!


Upcoming New Handbooks!

We will be working on our Waterfowl Handbook and Volunteer Handbook in the next few months, with plenty of updates. Stay tuned. The work on our coming e-book, Off To A Flying Start, continues, and we are seeking a volunteer to help with the graphics. Things have calmed down a bit after a very busy Spring baby season, but we get plenty of calls, especially following a monsoon. Our Bird Tracks e-newsletter has picked up many new subscribers and the open rate is double the average non-profit e-newsletter! The September e-newsletter will contain a section on what it takes to become a rehabber, how and where to meet the appropriate licensing requirements in Arizona. Go to our website, and click on the subscribe option for the e-newsletter. While you are on the website, click on the Facebook link to read articles by our Director, Nancy, and some great photographs of recent rescues. East Valley Wildlife also is on Linked In, and we have quite an interesting group of people who are linked to our site. For the past year, EVW has really hit the ground running in terms of social media! Stay tuned for more updates.


Summer Sizzles in the Valley

Noted that I have not posted in a while. Spring is one of busiest seasons for rehabbers, plenty of babies to deal with. But the summer has been hectic also, due to some sudden storms. Our Director, Nancy, has been up to capacity, when calls come in about birds being swept from nests due to rain and wind. Check out our website advice, because often there is the possibility of “renesting” a bird, particularly a dove. Doves are excellent parents and will continue to take care of their nestlings, even when the baby is on the ground. But that is not a safe place for it, so we have some hints about replacing the nest…or making a new nest. Watch carefully, and the parents might just return to take care of their babies. We are also in the process of compiling the information for our e-book. The working title is…Off To A Flying Start. The e-book will be for rehabbers and those who want to learn more about the care of songbirds here in this area. I will be posting information about the progress of the e-book. We have also started the new e-newsletter. The title is Bird Tracks, and many of you will recognize that title from our “hard copy” of the newsletter. The e-newsletter is a free subscription and is full of helpful information and updates. Nancy often submits a column for the newsletter. Log onto our website and click on the e-newsletter button to subscribe. We never share or sell email addresses! After you subscribe, the Bird Tracks newsletter will appear in your inbox notification each month, around the middle of each month. There is also a way to unsubscribe, but we hope you will not do that. We also hope that you will share the e-newsletter with others and ask them to subscribe. We are on a mission to get 100 new subscribers to the e-newsletter in 100 days!


An E-Book is Coming!

We are beginning the daunting task of putting together an e-book, which we hope to publish in a few months.  We are currently doing the groundwork of selecting material for each chapter along with photos and illustrations…along with planning an awesome cover image.  The publication of an e-book is similar to traditional publishing of a “paper” book, but in many ways can offer the author a wider range of distribution.  The reader also has the advantage of being able to access the book immediately and to read the book on a variety of mobile devices…Kindle, ipod, laptop, etc.  In addition, the font size can be changed to accommodate easy reading.  All in all, this is an exciting project. Stay tuned!


A Great Rescue Magazine

While waiting at my vets office, I was browsing the magazine shelf.  Amidst the many other “animal” magazines was a gem titled…Ready,Set,Rescue…  We at East Valley Wildlife mainly rescue wildlife, native species of birds and small mammals.  We also have an education division, Lisa’s Creatures, that has many exotics as animal ambassadors.  The magazine that I read was unusual since it was an excellent source of article, tips, online resources, training and information about special needs pets, all of them rescued and adopted.  The magazine covered dogs, cats, parrots, reptiles, and many exotic species.  There was a also a directory of agencies that help with information about adopted animals.  So, when you have a minute check out Ready,Set,Rescue Magazine if you have a rescued pet or intend to rescue one.


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