Mortgage discharge papers have been received, which officially concludes our $8 million capital campaign. As you know, all funds are from private donations and were raised in house by our development team of two.
New England Wildlife Center received an accommodation letter from Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick for the successful completion of the campaign. In it, he lauded the construction of the first green education and wildlife center in the country built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) specifications.
The Center’s fee-for-service veterinary practice – The Odd Pet Vet – was recently featured on Channel 5. Twenty-percent of the Center’s funds are earned. It is our goal to increase that number to 40%.
The Center’s Undergraduate and High School Internship program was part of a front-page Boston Globe story about Boston area internships
The Center was voted one of the 1,000 “best of the best” places to visit in Massachusetts by our state legislature.
The Center was profiled in the national Chronicle of Philanthropy and the Grants Management Association of Massachusetts for excellence in education and ability to “survive” in this economy.
The Center’s work was also lauded in the Boston Globe South edition last summer, which gave an overview of the Center and our commercial fee-for-service veterinary practice, The Odd Pet Vet.
The Center’s education programs continue to grow and the Weezie Nature Center is used more and more as a central location for programming and as an education resource. The Center opened our new Araqoun (r-a-con) Lodge (Algonquin for raccoon). The lodge furthers the Center’s work to combine art and science, while honing environmental stewards, through hands-on innovative activities.
The idea of constructing the lodge was developed by a student intern in cooperation with volunteers and the Center CEO. We find that many innovations and, often, the best education comes from our community. Projects like the Araqoun Lodge demonstrate the public’s ownership of the Center and their excitement to see their ideas carried out. The Lodge will be used to implement the Center’s long term goal of creating a media theater for video and pod casts using natural history and science in combination with hands-on experiences.
The lodge was designed by Younia Kowal, one of our former interns, who holds her Master’s degree in Architecture from Harvard University. It is our great fortune that Younia now volunteers her incredible talent as our Artist in Residence. Working with Younia, student volunteers completed construction of the longhouse using trees, vines and grasses. The longhouse was home to many local Native American tribesincluding Wampanoags and Narragansetts. The lodge is now used by audiences ranging from pre-schoolers participating in Wild Things playgroups to community organizations holding meetings, to teaching biology to Norfolk Agricultural School students through a microscope which is linked to a largescreen television.
Our most recent internship program was again a success, with even more competition for participation. The Center’s staff veterinarian, Dr. Andrew Cartoceti, trained students from: Brandeis University, Curry College, William and Mary, Northeastern University, Becker College, Mount Ida College, Furman University, Harvard University, Umass Boston, University of Tennessee, University of Vermont, Nantes National Veterinary School (France), Bates College, Yale University, University of Rhode Island, Umass Amherst, Umass Dartmouth, New York University, Clark University, Colorado College, Barnard/Columbia University, University of Connecticut, University of New Hampshire, Bennington College, Cornell University,Columbia University, Ohio Northern University, Middlesex Community College and Trinity College. The Center receives double the number of applications than we can accommodate. Housing is provided to out-of-state and international students. High School students from the Norfolk Agricultural School joined us last summer, for the third year, as part of their animal science and job-training curriculum.
Students continue to receive hands-on training in veterinary medicine (including training in gavage techniques, injections, diagnostics, feeding, husbandry, emergency medicine and more). Experiential training is coupled with seminars taught by wildlife veterinarians including Dr. Andrew Cartoceti and Dr. Greg Mertz. These weekly seminars include comparative anatomy (reptile, mammal, avian), blood cell morphology and function, ethical decisions in wildlife care, basic wildlife identification, and wet labs such as necropsies of birds of prey, mammals and turtles.
The Center again with the Boston Young Education Network to provide in-school science and environmental education programs. In addition, the Center provided 5 sessions of the SEVENS program at the Donald McKay K-8 School in East Boston. These sessions instruct students in basic science skills by having them explore their schoolyards grossly and with a video microscope and to visit and explore Belle Isle,a local estuary. The Horace Mann School for the Deaf also worked with the Center to study vernal ponds and local woodlands. Students visited vernal ponds during the fall, winter, and spring to understand natural cycles and the importance of healthy habitats and food webs. Dr. Martinez is also providing additional programming to 4th graders at the Oliver Perry School in South Boston. These students are observing animal behavior and learning to record, analyze and interpret data through these three sessions, which includes field trips to the Center. For the 2010-2011 school year, the Center provided our educational program in collaboration with Boston University’s Nature and Me program. For the 2010 – 2011 school year, provided a series of 9 programs to 7 “veteran schools” . The Center will also again be working with the Boston Youth Education Network to provide our educational programming to Boston Public Schools.
The Center is developing our next strategic plan for science and environmental education that will better illustrate and strengthen the interdisciplinary education that already exists at the Center. The Center reaches all age groups in diverse but connected disciplines. At the Center, environmental biology and medical biology are the same subject. Our facility and programming provide the opportunity for life long inquiry and exploration in science (i.e. green technologies, wildlife medicine, cell biology, anatomy, bio-technology), music, natural history, and environmental preservation.
We continue providing programs that marry arts and environmental sciences. the Center’s Folk & Blues Jam changed its name to Open Mic to conform to the needs and interests of our participants. The Saturday night Open Mic is widely popular and includes many kinds of music and poetry performed and/or read by both children and adults. Monthly, we also have belly dancers, comics, and other art forms related to the environment perform in our Catbird Café. The Center has already scheduled 12 bands to perform on Friday nights through June, including folk and blues and jazz amateur and professional bands. The Center has also hosted six youth bands, many who have played here while on tour. Other environmental artists are also performing at the Center, including artists like Eileen Springer who will have her CD released here and Ceceli Dahl, a singer and songwriter. These proceeds continue to grow and comprise part of the 20% of our overall budget that is now earned.
Additional outreach includes providing 15 camp days for the Go Kids Art Camp and the Walton Jones Camp which is a program of the University of Rhode Island. We continue to provide prized birthday parties, school tours throughout southeastern Mass, senior groups, the naval air base, and other community groups. Another scout project is successfully completed. An Eagle Scout built a new aviary for baby raccoons. He designed, recruited volunteers and raised money to build a new outside aviary for rehabilitating orphans. His success included receiving free cement from a local cement company! Our Wild Things Playgroup continues to grow in popularity. Some days, more than 50 preschoolers attend the Tuesday program from 1 – 2 (with their parents).
The North River Collaborative (NRC) Step Program is now in its fifth year of participating with the Center. Each week, adults from NRC and a caseworker come to the Center to volunteer. Their jobs include washing dishes, laundry, walking the llama and other work that otherwise would have to be completed by paid staff. This community of people is proud that they are making a true difference for wildlife and people.
Students are thrilled to watch wildlife being cared for and to interact with Center staff, visitors and students. They are welcomed and encouraged by all staff to participate and to “own” the Center. As the program has grown, caseworkers have worked with their students on various projects around the center. For example, students have been put in charge of our retail store with all of its responsibilities.
We are grateful to our donors for helping us provide service to animals and people. We could not do this without you.