Locals came out for some autumn fun at the Fall of the Wild event hosted by the Animal Rescue League & Wildlife Center (ARL) and Western PA Humane Society (WPHS). Although the temperatures might be cooling down around our city, things are just starting to heat up for the Wildlife Centers’ educational programs. The fully licensed wildlife rehabilitation clinic which admits approximately 4,000 animals each year is also busy preparing to educate the public on interesting and unknown behaviors of the animals indigenous to our region.
“Fall of the Wild kicks off the Animal Rescue League’s new Education Department programs for the school year,” said Meaghan A. Wallace, Assistant Humane and Wildlife Educator at Animal Rescue League Shelter and Wildlife Center. “Each year we add more programs to our selection as the public’s desire to learn about domestic and wild animals grows.”
Meaghan was quick to cite in 2015 their ARL Education Department reached nearly 9,000 people and they expect their outreach to continue to grow by leaps and bounds as they partner with amazing organizations across the area. Their educational topics range from Basic pet care, to specifically themed classes like Animals of the night and Wildlife Rehab 101. Educational programs can occur at their center or at other partner locations or schools throughout Pittsburgh. All programs are correlated to Pennsylvania Education Standards including Keystone Star and NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards.
“So far in 2016, we have reached over 12,000 people through unique learning experiences, said Meaghan. “Our ever popular Animal Tales reading program launched again for the 2016-2017 school year. Our first sessions at both the Wildlife Center and the Shelter just occurred, and the children and animals did an awesome job!” The Animal Tales reading program allows students of all ages to read to ARL’s adoptable cats and educational wildlife. The program helps build reading fluency and confidence with local students while helping to socialize the shelter’s homeless cats and animal ambassadors.
“The Fall of the Wild Event is designed to be a fun-filled afternoon,” said Alexis Fitzgerald, Manager of Humane and Wildlife Education at Animal Rescue League Shelter & Wildlife Center. “Guests can spend time learning about Pennsylvania Wildlife, enjoying great food, participating in games and learning more about our education programs”
The three hour awareness event allowed attendees to enjoy door prizes and raffle baskets. Activities included face painting, bobbing for apples, spin art, pumpkin decorating, Hay bale bowling, ring toss and a prize wheel. Frantuary and Ellie’s Hawaiian Shaved Ice trucks were also on hand if guests got hungry. Admission was free but wish list donations for the center were encouraged.
Highlights of the afternoon included animal ambassadors and educational presentations with: Bruce the big brown bat, Cecilia the barred owl and Irwin the North American Porcupine.