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Walk on the Wild Side

By Staff | Mar 14, 2012

Photo by CAROL ORR HARTMAN The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife on Sanibel is hosting its 9th annual Walk on the Wild Side March 30 at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. This 4.1-mile walk will introduce the public to the native wildlife of Southwest Florida. CROW is a wildlife hospital and education center housed on 12.5 acres that is also a 501-C-3 organization. Reserve a spot for a walk on the wild side and enjoy refreshments, raffle drawings and a special presentation at the Healing Winds Visitor Education Center afterwards.

Take a 4.1-mile walk on the wild side and discover the importance of native wildlife to our island environment during the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife’s 9th annual “Walk on the Wild Side” event. The discoveries will continue with a special presentation by CROW’s hospital director Dr. Heather Barron.

“Walk on the Wild Side is a great way for participants to learn more about our local wildlife and our efforts to protect and preserve their health and habitat,” said CROW’s Executive Director Steve Greentsein.

The walk begins at 8:30 a.m. March 30 at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge with stops at various observation points. Afterwards, there will be refreshments and raffle drawings to enjoy at the Healing Winds Visitor Education Center, where the special presentation by Barron will be held.

CROW’s story begins in the 1960s when a Sanibel resident by the name of Shirley Walter found an injured royal tern. After she was unable to locate a local service that could help, Walter carried the bird home. It wasn’t long before a group of volunteers came together to form the clinic, which received 500 distressed calls within its first year.

In the years that followed, CROW moved to a new clinic building and staff apartments (1981) and demand led to the creation of the VERT program Volunteer Emergency Rescue & Transport (1985) and continued to grow throughout the 1990s.

CROW survived the devastation of Hurricane Charley in 2004 and by 2006 the new 3,700-square-foot George E. Batchelor Student Housing Complex, with three fully-furnished apartments, began welcoming students. Four years later, CROW unveiled its renovated sea turtle facility.

Throughout the decades CROW has been dedicated to the preservation of native wildlife, as well as educating the public about saving wildlife through compassion and care. This event is designed to engage and inform attendees about that mission.

“We hope that everyone will come away with a better understanding of how to share our world with wildlife and a deeper appreciation of the commitment of CROW and our state and federal agencies to educate the public about how they can help us make a difference,” said Greenstein.

Cost to take a “Walk on the Wild Side” is $25 per person, children 12 and younger can attend free of charge. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made by calling 472-3644 ext. 231. Pre-registration ends March 26. All proceeds benefit CROW and its wildlife patients.

“We want Walk on the Wild Side to be a great day for wildlife,” said Greenstein.

CROW, housed on 12.5 acres along Sanibel-Captiva Road, serves Lee, southern Charlotte and northern Collier counties.