After a field trip to the Carbon County Environmental Education Center, third and fourth grade students at Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic School knew they wanted to help with the center's mission. The project was coordinated by Mary Comensky, third grade teacher; and Candy Steffie, fourth grade teacher.
The students chose a service project to fulfill the "Wildlife Wish List" by collecting items and donating them to the center.
The list contained the following items, baby blankets, pillow cases, hot water bottles, hand warmers, small stuffed toys, baby food in jars, Iams kitten and puppy chows, rodent chow, apples, carrots and spinach, nuts and acorns, rolled gauze and antibiotic ointments, scrub brushes, plastic shoe boxes, sheep skin, welding gloves, masking tape and duct tape.
Accepting the collection of items was Franklin Klock, naturalist at the center. Klock said that each of the items will be put to good use to help the center care for the hundreds of wild animals that need emergency treatment at the center each year.
Klock said that many people contact the center when they find an injured or orphaned animal, bird or reptile because they are unable to care for it.
Klock said that many animals that appear to be alone should not be handled by humans and will be able to fend for themselves, but there are also the many animals who do need help to stay alive and that is where the staff at the CCEEC provides first aid and a home until they are able to be released back into the wild.
Klock said that the stuffed animals are used by tiny squirrels or rabbits who miss the warmth of their mothers.
"They burrow under them to stay warm," said Klock.
Klock said that he was pleased to see that some of the items were not new, but were being recycled through the center, such as the stuffed animals.
"Our animals use some of the same items that human's use," said Klock. Klock said that the baby food feeds birds and that the first aid equipment, such as the rolled gauze and antibiotic ointments are used when animals or birds need first aid.
"We get no federal or state funding for our rehabilitation program," said Klock. "It would take us many hours of presenting programs to pay for all of the items that you donated today."
CCEEC mission is to promote awareness and understanding of the environment through education. They do so by providing a variety of environmentally related services, and in stressing human environmental impacts, CCEEC encourages responsibility for, and appreciation of all natural resources.
The CCEEC is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and offers after hours group visits by appointment. The trails, pavilion, and raptor mews (cages) are open seven days a week from dawn until dusk.