CROW Now Offering Virtual Education Programs

provided to Santiva Chronicle

CROW Education and Outreach Director Rachel Rainbolt gives a virtual education course with Virginia Opossum.

The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife is bringing wildlife education to classrooms here 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 their students, 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 students’ 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,” says Alison Charney Hussey, executive director for CROW. “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 the girls at PACE Center via their ZOOM class. Denise Monahan noted, “The girls loved it…having you (Rachel) and Gigi there made a huge difference. For several of these girls, that was the highlight of their entire week.”

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 students, thus fostering an appreciation for the connection between humans, animals, and the environment.

CROW currently has the following ambassadors available for virtual programming: Mina, the Great Horned Owl; Lola, the American Kestrel; Gigi, the Virginia Opossum; Cobb, the Corn Snake; Irwin, the Florida Box Turtle; and Sydney, the American Alligator.

Anyone who is interested in scheduling a Wildlife Zoom in your virtual classroom or sponsoring one for your child’s class can contact CROW’s Education and Outreach Director, Rachel Rainbolt, by email at rrainbolt@crowclinic.org for more information about costs and availability.

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