provided to Santiva Chronicle
The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) AWC Visitor Education will re-open to the public on Monday, June 15 after being closed for two months amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re ready to re-open our doors for visitors, but want to keep everyone healthy in the process,” says Alison Charney Hussey, executive director for CROW. “We’ve added signage to help with social distancing and taken steps to reduce the chance for the virus to spread.”
New safety measures to protect visitors, staff and the Animal Ambassadors featured in the Visitor Center include scheduled cleaning and sanitizing of commonly used areas and surfaces. A plexi-glass safety barrier has been installed at the check-in desk between staff and visitors and CROW will only be accepting payment by credit/debit card. Hand sanitizer stations have been placed throughout the Center with signs reminding visitors to sanitize their hands often. Additionally, all staff and visitors will be required to wear face masks.
“We know there is a possibility of spreading COVID-19 from human to animal,” added Hussey. “Since our Animal Ambassadors cannot wear masks, we ask that you wear yours to keep them and youself safe while visiting us.”
The live animal exhibits in the AWC Visitor Center shed light on the impact humans can have on a landscape, including the introduction of exotic species. Ambassadors featured as part of Center include invasive reptiles like Tokay Geckos, Cane Toads and a Ball Python along with native species such as an Eastern Indigo Snake and an American Alligator.
Children’s exhibits have been modified to allow for social distancing and for surfaces to be easily cleaned and sanitized. For the time being, live presentations and Wildlife Walk guided hospital tours will not be offered. Visitors will still be able to view live feed cameras of the wildlife hospital and rehabilitation areas, which has continued to provide care for injured, sick and orphaned native and migratory wildlife throughout the pandemic.
“We are very excited to re-open our Visitor Center to provide another way to financially support CROW’s mission while helping visitors learn about the important role wildlife plays in our environment,” says Hussey.
The AWC Visitor Education Center will be open to the public Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more details regarding CROW’s re-opening plan, visit www.CROWClinic.org or call (239) 472-3644.