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CROW now offering virtual education programs

By Staff | May 13, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED Gigi, the Virginia opossum, and Rachel Rainbolt take part in a virtual program.

The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife is bringing wildlife education to classrooms locally and throughout the nation. Due to the ongoing pandemic forcing the Visitor Education Center to close, CROW is now offering Wildlife Zoom, programs that take place in their virtual classrooms.

As Lee County’s only licensed wildlife hospital, CROW’s mission of saving wildlife is accomplished, in part, through educating the public about its work helping injured and orphaned wildlife, the animals it helps and how the community can become environmental stewards. For teachers and parents looking for creative ways to engage youths, CROW is offering an opportunity to enhance distance-based teaching curriculums by appearing in virtual classrooms with wildlife programs or even just to pop in with an animal ambassador to brighten up the youths’ day.

“Education plays an important role in our mission and we are very excited to offer this opportunity to teachers, students and parents during these difficult times,” Executive Director Alison Charney Hussey said. “The interactive sessions allow students to have an open dialogue with one of our education staff and meet our Animal Ambassadors, creating a unique learning experience. We are thrilled to assist not only our local teachers but also teachers in other areas of Florida and other states as well.”

Gigi, the Virginia opossum, and Rachel Rainbolt recently visited girls at the PACE Center via their ZOOM class.

“The girls loved it having you (Rachel) and Gigi there made a huge difference,” Denise Monahan, with the PACE Center, said. “For several of these girls, that was the highlight of their entire week.”

PHOTO PROVIDED Gigi, the Virginia opossum, and Rachel Rainbolt take part in a virtual program.

Programs are customized based on individual needs ranging from more formal programs to casual conversations with students about wildlife. All programs feature an Animal Ambassador, animals that have recovered from injuries or had circumstances resulting in their inability for release to the wild. These members of the education team provide positive interactions with youths, thus fostering an appreciation for the connection between humans, animals and the environment.

The following ambassadors are available: Cobb, the corn snake; Gigi; Irwin, the Florida box turtle; Lola, the American kestrel; Mina, the great horned owl; and Sydney, the American alligator.

To schedule a Wildlife Zoom or sponsor one for a class, contact Education and Outreach Director Rachel Rainbolt at rrainbolt@crowclinic.org for information about costs and availability.