Amount Requested: $10,000 for Critter Cam in the Classroom: Web-based Environmental Outreach
Mission: The Wildlife Center of Virginia is an internationally acclaimed teaching and research hospital for wildlife and conservation medicine located in Waynesboro. Since its founding in 1982, the Center has cared for nearly 70,000 wild animals from every corner of Virginia. The mission statement describes the Center as “a hospital for native wildlife, teaching the world to care about and to care for wildlife and the environment.”
Constituents Served: Any citizen may bring a wild animal to the Center for treatment, at no charge. During 2015, the Center treated 2,339 patients; of this total, 920 patients [or about 40% of the Center’s total caseload] came from the service area of the Community Foundation of Central Blue Ridge. Access to Critter Cam and other Center programs on the web is free and available to anyone with internet access. On average, there are 2,000 unique users each day to Critter Cam or to the Center’s website.
Program Overview: The Center has significantly increased its outreach activities through the web. In 2011, the Center launched Critter Cam – a live web-based broadcast that provides an unprecedented “behind-the-scenes” look at patients being treated at the Center. Critter Cam has enabled wildlife enthusiasts to watch a variety of Center patients, including juvenile and adult Bald Eagles; a Golden Eagle; a Peregrine Falcon; Broad-winged and Red-tailed Hawks; a variety of owls; and Black Bear cubs. The Center is currently streaming three different Critter Cam feeds. Critter Cam may be accessed through http://wildlifecenter.org/critter-corner/critter-can-landing.
The Center is looking to better share the online educational opportunities of Critter Cam with schools, educators, students, and parents in the CFCBR service area. Specifically, the Center is seeking funds for  targeted outreach and orientation opportunities for teachers and educators in the CFCBR service area;  sponsorship of program fees and sustained involvement and enrichment for school groups;  increased capacity to produce and share online videos.
The Center sees Critter Cam and Caring for Critters as important tools for environmental education. Both help build an ongoing relationship for students with Center patients and with the Center’s mission. Critter Cam builds on children’s natural curiosity about nature and wild animals; this outreach has demonstrated applications in not only biology, ecology, and earth sciences but also mathematics, creative writing, vocabulary, geography, etc.
The Center’s request for support encompasses funding needed for outreach to teachers, schools, and administrators ($2,000); sponsorships of program fees and enrichment activities for school groups led by a teacher who has taken part in a Center Critter Cam orientation program ($3,000); and the purchase of additional equipment and upgrades to increase the Center’s capacity to produce and share online videos ($5,000).
The Center is also seeking funds to support its lifesaving work as an emergency veterinary hospital for Virginia wildlife.
Current Operating Budget: $1,303,000