“Friends of a Feather” 2018 Class Project

By Jeanne Kuehn

One of the Spring 2018 class projects was to raise public awareness of some of the threats our urban environment brings to wild birds, and also to highlight the work of Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, in Hutchins.

With Judy Aschner and Rich Laffey, regular volunteers at RWRC, as our mentors and guides, we began our project with a tour of RWRC and a meeting with the director, Kathy Rogers.  We learned about the mission and work of RWRC, a refuge for injured, sick and orphaned birds.  On average, they care for about 5,000 birds a year.  Most of the birds arrive with life-threatening injuries as the result of animal attacks, falling from nests, automobile strikes, abuse, or natural/man-made disasters.   They are provided medical treatment for infections, wounds, broken legs and wings, and head and back injuries.  Almost 80% are returned to the wild.

After the birds are brought to RWRC, recovery takes from three days to nine months.  Their goal is to heal and release birds back into the wild.  Birds that would not survive in the wild, due to permanent injuries, find sanctuary there in habitat-specific settings.  They are cared for seven days a week, year-round, and help educate the public about birds through RWRC outreach programs.

Rehabilitation cost for each bird is from $25 – $2,000.  RWRC is entirely dependent on dedicated volunteers and private donations.

After the tour, and with Kathy’s input on their greatest needs, we decided that we would do three things; we would make some physical improvements to the facility, develop and produce educational signage about some of the resident birds, and hold an open house, when we would teach visitors about some of the resident birds, their species, threats to their species, and why some are permanently at Rogers. With those three goals in mind, some of our group volunteered to serve in leadership capacities.

Danielle and Vincent LoPresti and Russ Olivier coordinated with Kathy Rogers, the Director of Rogers, [RWRC,] on which physical improvements she needed and organized work teams to power wash, sand and paint the cages she selected.  At a general cleanup day we cleared brush, folded tarps, and generally cleaned up the facility, getting it ready for visitors.

Daric Rogers worked with Kathy on which birds she wanted to highlight with signs.  Daric, Kathy, and Vincent coordinated on the design of the signage.  Others in the group researched the content of each sign; which included photos of the birds, a range map, interesting facts about the species and what brought that particular bird to stay at Rogers.  FASTSIGNS® generously worked within our budget to provide colorful signs that would last for several years.

Shannon Fahey organized the event, which we called “Friends of a Feather.”  Her group worked on publicity, registration, and directional signage for the event.  She developed maps of the facility for visitors.  They even provided water for visitors (it was a hot day).  All told, we had 110 visitors who were introduced to the mission of the wildlife center.  As a bonus, we raised $435 for the facility at the event.

We feel we were successful in our efforts to improve the facilities at RWRC, raise public awareness of dangers to birds and of the wonderful work Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation Center does on their behalf.

To learn more about Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and to donate, visit http://www.rogerswildlife.org/

To see more pictures of the Birds of a Feather event, click here: Rogers album.

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