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Press Release: Schuylkill Center Appoints Erin Mooney as Executive Director

Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education Appoints Erin Mooney as Executive Director

Philadelphia, PA. May 15, 2024 — The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education board of trustees announced today that they have named Erin Mooney as the organization’s executive director. Mooney has served as the interim executive director of the organization since April 2023. Prior to that, she served for six years on the Center’s board of trustees, most recently as vice president.

“We are thrilled to name Erin Mooney as the next executive director of the Schuylkill Center. Erin’s deep understanding of the Schuylkill Center, her conservation experience, and dedication to the natural world combined with her commitment to our mission make her an exceptional choice for executive director,” said Marilyn Tinari, chair of the board of trustees. “We are confident that working together under her leadership we will achieve our strategic goals,” Tinari said.

The board formed a search committee to find the Center’s next leader and worked with an executive search firm earlier this year to conduct the search.

“As the search progressed it became clear that Erin’s leadership and vision make her the executive director we were searching for,” Tinari said.

“I’m incredibly honored to be chosen to lead the Schuylkill Center into the future,” Mooney said. “As one of the most wild places in the city of Philadelphia, the Center has so much to offer. I’m excited to carry forward a vision where the Center is synonymous with nature for all Philadelphians.”

Mooney will be the fifth executive director in the organization’s 59-year history and is the first woman to serve in the position.

Mooney is a longtime non-profit conservation leader and served as the communications director of The Nature Conservancy in Pennsylvania and Delaware and the national press secretary at Trout Unlimited, a national coldwater conservation organization. A former NPR producer and reporter at the Philadelphia Inquirer, Mooney lives in the Mt. Airy neighborhood in Philadelphia with her husband and three children. She is also a certified LL Bean fly casting instructor.

The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education

Founded in 1965, The Schuylkill Center is one of the first urban environmental education centers in the country, with 365 acres of fields, forests, ponds, and streams in northwest Philadelphia. The largest privately held natural area in Philadelphia, the Schuylkill Center offers educational programs for all ages, including Nature Preschool, school field trips as well as a wildlife rehabilitation clinic, an environmental art program and summer camp.


Media Contact

Mae Axelrod
Director of Communications
Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
8480 Hagy’s Mill Road, Philadelphia, PA 19128
Tel. 215-482-7300

An opossum being cared for at our clinic, with a transparent cone around her head to stop her from opening any wounds. She is resting on a blanket.

A Resilient Mother Opossum

A Virginia opossum mom arrived at the Schuylkill Center Wildlife Clinic a few weeks ago after a caring rescuer found her injured in her backyard. Our rehabilitators discovered a large wound on her hip along with severe damage to her toes. The team also noticed that she was carrying a pouch full of babies estimated to be four weeks old. Thankfully, the babies were unharmed and their mother continued to nurse them as the rehabilitators patched up her injuries. 

This patient could not undergo a “normal” surgery to close up her wounds. Baby opossums stay latched in their mother’s pouch for at least six weeks until they can safely venture out, and at their current age, these babies were not independent enough to leave the pouch for the procedure. If the opossum were put under full sedation, she could risk losing her babies. 

For cases that involve surgeries, we look for help from Radnor Veterinary Hospital, which provides us with veterinary services pro bono. Fortunately, their team of vets had a plan for this mother opossum: they applied local anesthesia to the afflicted area so that she could undergo the surgery painlessly.

It has been over a week since the patient was sutured up and she is healing well. We have been giving her excellent care at the clinic as well as a quiet place to recover while she continues to care for her young. We expect to release the family back into the wild once treatment is complete. This opossum has impressed us with her tenacity and strength and by how much she has endured to keep her babies alive.

By Sydney Glisan, Assistant Director of Wildlife Rehabilitation

Pine Needles and Pesto: A Foraged Meal

On a recent Tuesday afternoon, seated outside on rows of bleachers, a handful of students took several leaps of trust in us, themselves, and the natural world. Bottles of pungent sodas were popped and weeds were seasoned, blended, and fried, all with an air of cautious optimism. 

“Oh! That’s actually kind of good!”

Our two educators sitting on the left, prepping our meal, while the Saul High School students sit on the bleachers on the right, discussing the process of cooking with foraged foods

The class working together to prepare their foraged meal.

Last week, educators Sky and Nick visited W.B. Saul High School for the last in a series of lessons focusing on locally foraged food. During the program, our group worked from frozen soil with scarce pockets of onion grass and garlic cress all the way to full-on spring, rich with blossoms and fresh greens.

An aerial shot of several different foraged greens laying on a table, ready to be turned into pesto

Foraged greens which will be blended into a pesto.

A hand dipping a cracker into a bowl of green, creamy pesto made from foraged weeds

A taste test of the pesto made from foraged greens.

In the prior weeks, we’d spent time hiking, identifying and tasting plants, and discussing their various uses. In addition to learning which plants are edible, we discussed safety, theory, and ethics, such as taking only what you need and minding where you are. Most of the land in PA is privately held, and foraging on land without permission is illegal, so roadside foraging could easily turn into trespassing. Knowing the history of the land is also critical in minding exposure to potential toxins like heavy metals and plastics, especially in a post-industrial landscape such as Philadelphia. 

Despite these challenges in access to foraging, the ability to find your own wild foods remains empowering. For our second trip, we investigated how to use wild plants in unexpected ways: using tree flowers to make floral syrups and wild yeasts found on pine needles to make a probiotic soda. Both of these recipes required time to mature before consuming, leading us into our final lesson where we shared a foraged meal together.

One of our educators pouring pine needle soda from a green bottle into a paper cup

Soda made from fresh pine needles, sugar, and water.

Yellow dandelion fritters frying in a pan of oil on a gas-powered camping stove, pictured from above

Fritters made from cornmeal batter and dandelion flowers.

Dandelions battered in seasoned cornmeal and pan-fried into crispy fritters were served up hot alongside a flavorful pesto made from wild garlic cress, nettles, garlic mustard, dandelions, and knotweed. The concoction of pine needles, sugar, and water had transformed into an intriguing soda similar to birch beer. The mealtime conversation centered around the collective question, “How could I bring foraged foods into my everyday life?” Because while the experience was very new, it was also easy, almost free, and delicious.

Schuylkill Center appoints Erin Mooney as Interim Executive Director

The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education announced today that it has parted ways with its executive director, Mike Weilbacher.

Erin Mooney, a six-year member and vice president of the board of trustees will serve as the organization’s interim executive director, going forward, and a national search for a permanent executive director is underway.

“On behalf of the board of trustees, we are grateful for all that Mike has contributed to the Center over the years of his service and wish him well,” said board president Christopher McGill. “Mike has led us through important years of growth.”

Mooney, a longtime non-profit leader, will serve as interim director as the organization conducts a search for its next director. She recently served as executive director of Greensgrow, an urban farm in the Kensington section of Philadelphia and served as communications director of The Nature Conservancy in Pennsylvania and Delaware. A former NPR producer and reporter at the Philadelphia Inquirer, Mooney lives in the Mt. Airy neighborhood in Philadelphia.

“The Schuylkill Center is one of Philadelphia’s most special natural treasures. I look forward to leading this important organization through its next chapter,” said Mooney.

Founded in 1965, the Schuylkill Center is one of the first urban environmental education centers in the country, with 365 acres of fields, forests, ponds, and streams in northwest Philadelphia. Our campus fosters appreciation, deepens understanding, and encourages stewardship of the environment. We offer a wildlife rehabilitation clinic, an environmental art program, volunteer opportunities, and educational programs for all ages, including Nature Preschool.

Come See the Flowers Race the Trees

Like all forests around us, the Schuylkill Center is in full bloom right now. You really have to see it to believe it. In fact, you can, if you simply walk down our Ravine Loop.

Like the red trillium (pictured below), an elusive and rare plant that New Englanders dubbed “wake robin,” as it bloomed there about when robins return north from their migrations (robins are year-round residents here in Roxborough). Frontal image of a red trillium with 3 triangular red petals and several large green leaves attached to the stalk, leaf litter on the ground in the backgroundOr the Virginia bluebells (pictured below)– one of everyone’s favorites, as it is taller than many of the spring ephemerals and one of the bluest of them all. You can find it on our Wildflower Loop and Ravine Loop, and it is happily one of our harder-to-miss wildflowers. I love its pink buds that open to blue flowers– two colors for the price of one.

Side view of Virginia bluebells, lavender-colored trumpet-shaped blossoms leaning towards the left side of the image, and small green leaves on the right side. Leaf litter on the ground in the background

But that’s just the beginning of the parade, starting right now. May apples are sending their bright green umbrella-shaped leaves up from the forest floor, soon sporting large white flowers. Soon bright yellow trout lilies will bloom, named for the spotting on their mottled leaves that resembles a trout’s back. And shooting stars, white flowers blazing across the forest floor. Jacob’s ladder, a complicated lilac-colored flower with ladder-ish leaves. Jack-in-the-pulpit, poking through the forest floor, Jack dutifully staying inside what looks like his mottled purple lectern. Solomon’s seal, named for the Biblical king, its delicate bell-like flowers dangling from zig-zags of leaves. Spring beauties, each petal a tiny white surfboard with a pink racing stripe down its middle. 

And that’s just a start.

What’s amazing about these plants is the narrow window of time through which they slide. A forest in spring features trees without yet any leaves, so sunlight shines through and caresses the forest floor. Warmed by the sun, long-dormant roots and rhizomes suddenly come alive and send sprigs of growth up above the ground. These leaves photosynthesize– remember that from high school biology?– using sunlight to make sugars and send starches down into the rootstocks so they grow larger. When those rootstocks are large enough and have the resources, the plants send flowers into the world, often brightly colored to dazzle pollinating bees and butterflies.

And they coincidentally dazzle us too. 

But the flowers are in a race against time– and the trees. As trees leaf out, those leaves block sunlight, form a sun-proof umbrella across the forest, and block those flowers from growing. So there is a small window of opportunity for the flowers to warm up, grow, make leaves, make flowers, get pollinated, drop seeds– and disappear for another year– before the trees leaf out.

We’ve already missed the earliest bloomers like bloodroot and skunk cabbage. But every day or every week you visit, new and different flowers will appear.

Stop in at our Visitor Center and grab a map, then head downhill through the butterfly meadow, turning left on the Ravine Loop and heading into the Wildflower Loop at Polliwog Pond. You’ll soon find a large stand of blue cohosh opposite oodles of shooting stars, with May apples, rue anemones, Dutchman’s breeches, and more spayed around you. 

Walk downhill towards the loop’s back door on the Ravine Loop, then downhill again until it curves at Smith Run; the best wildflowers are on this section of trail parallelling the stream. You’ll pass tall leafed-out skunk cabbages on tour left, and tons of mottled trout lily leaves everywhere around you. Also on the left, here’s where you’ll find the best red trillium, and soon its close cousin, white trillium. 

Spring wildflowers are racing the trees right now– come walk down our Ravine Loop and enjoy the race!

Mike Weilbacher directs the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in Roxborough, can be reached at, and just authored the new book “Wild Philly,” of which this hike is the second of 25 nature walks. It’s currently available in our gift shop.

Rehabilitating the American woodcock

Spring has sprung! Despite the fluctuating temperatures, wildlife have begun preparing for the warmer months ahead.

The earliest sign of spring at the Wildlife Clinic is the migration of the American woodcock. These birds are typically the first to arrive in

American Woodcock

the spring and the last to leave in the winter. Woodcocks are known for their unique looks and fascinating courtship displays.

This woodcock was admitted to the clinic after flying into a window while migrating over Philadelphia. After his examination, our rehabilitators decided to perform an X-ray to determine the extent of his injury.

Accommodating its long beak

Radiograph of anesthetized woodcock

furcula (wishbone) fracture.

Our rehabilitators had to get creative to accommodate the woodcock’s long beak and allow for proper sedation. They created a special oxygen mask that fit him perfectly, and the X-rays confirmed their suspicions of a furcula (wishbone) fracture. The woodcock has been making great strides in the healing process since then.

Our Broken Spring

Later today at 5:24 pm, a vertical shaft of sunlight grazes the equator: it’s the first moment of spring. Greetings of the season, usually worth celebrating. Not this year.

For our weirdly snowless winter has already yielded an eerily early spring. While perhaps you’ve already noticed too-early crocuses, daffodils, and even dandelions, our forests have fast-forwarded into spring.

At the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in Roxborough, painted turtles started sunbathing on pond edges in February. At the Briar Bush Nature Center in Abington, red-backed salamanders were spotted out of their burrows at the end of February. Skunk cabbage popped up in late December, two months ahead of schedule, at the Silver Lake Nature Center in Bristol, and garter snakes were seen basking in January. January!

Spring was once an elegantly choreographed parade of extraordinary events that evolved over millennia. Birds migrate north to take up their nesting sites just as trees leaf out and insects awaken from hibernation. Frogs and toads hustle to ponds and wetlands for their mating rituals, spring peepers early, bullfrogs much later. Among birds, Eastern phoebes swoop in early, their flicking tails a welcome sight; blackpoll warblers with their squeaky-wheel song pass through much, much later.

But climate change has upended this parade; the orchestration is completely out of whack. Spring may have been broken by climate change. 

The conventional wisdom among climate scientists is that, with our supercharged climate, spring has been moving up about 2.5 days every decade. The government’s National Phenology Network reports that Philly’s spring is 20 days early this year, which is troublesome by itself but reads to me frankly like a conservative estimate. Still, this is one of the earliest springs on record.  

Yes, there were always years with randomly warm Februarys and freakish April snowstorms, but nature always had the capacity to withstand these occasional anomalies. With snowless winters and too-early springs, the parade’s choreography dissolves with many still-unknown impacts on the species that share Pennsylvania forests with us.

Plants, for example, may open before their pollinators awaken or arrive, and unpollinated flowers won’t produce the seeds that they – and many seed-eating animals – require. When migrating birds arrive to begin nesting, they desperately need to find huge numbers of insects to stuff into the gaping maws of their nestlings; if they cannot find the insects, or if caterpillars have finished their larval growth and are already butterflies and moths, the parent birds will struggle to raise their young. At the Schuylkill Center, mangy foxes have been seen this year, the mange caused by mites that are typically killed by winter’s cold. Not this year, and foxes are struggling.

On the Delaware Bay, for millions of years horseshoe crabs have hauled themselves onto beaches around Mother’s Day to lay billions of green BB-sized eggs in the surf. At the exact same moment, a rusty-bellied shorebird called the red knot arrives exhausted, in the middle of one of the longest migrations of all, from the tip of South America up to the Arctic Circle. Famished, these fat-rich eggs give the birds the EXACT energy boost they need to finish their journey north – and they gobble them fiercely, as do so many other shorebirds. If this elegant partnership gets out of whack, the already-scarce knots will simply not survive the epic trip, and we will lose a remarkable species. 

Sixty years ago, acclaimed writer Rachel Carson worried about a “silent spring,” as her groundbreaking book of that title warned about the dangers of DDT. Happily, our springs aren’t silent.

But they are shaken – and breaking – from climate change. 

Writer-naturalist Mike Weilbacher has just published “Wild Philly: Explore the Amazing Nature in and Around Philadelphia,” and directs the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education. 

Traveling Through: Varvàra Fern for “Walking the Edge”

Varvàra Fern is an artist on a journey. Her highly detailed bronze and resin-cast sculptures, which are featured in our current community exhibition, Walking the Edge, tell the stories of people taking their first steps along the path from unhappiness towards happiness, from imbalance towards inner peace. 

Varvàra was born and grew up in Russia, and before moving to the U.S., she studied at the Surikov Art Institute in Moscow. There, she learned composition and figurative sculpture, both of which she continues to utilize in her work today. It wasn’t until she visited the U.S., however, that she stumbled upon what would become her artistic inspiration for the next several years. When she was 13, Varvàra and her family drove from Albuquerque, New Mexico to New York City. On this trip, she traveled down highways, past bridges, and through deserts and wooded landscapes. She became, in her own words, “hypnotized” by these landscapes and by what marked the borders between them: signposts, lampposts, and telephone poles, for example. To Varvàra, these markers felt sculptural: she started to notice their structures, materials, and rustic color schemes.

A few years later and back in Russia, Varvàra came across the work of Mike Brodie, a photographer whose series “A Period of Juvenile Prosperity” and “Tones of Dirt and Bone” include poetic images of his travels. Varvàra describes feeling that these images were often emotional, encapsulating a sense of despair. She also watched YouTube videos of travel and train hopping across the United States. 

Soon, Varvàra began translating her newfound interest in journeys and borders into complex sculptures. Her “Travel Series,” which she began at Surikov Art Institute in Moscow and continues today at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, involves a complex, multi-step process from inspiration to realization. 

First, Varvàra forms an image in her head. While listening to music (typically acoustic music, like that of artist Gustavo Santolalla), she sculpts a small clay “sketch” to determine how she can translate her mental image into a physical object. When she’s happy with a sketch, she casts her work into resin or plaster. Next, she rebuilds and refines her sketch to create a detailed clay sculpture, then eventually, she casts her final piece. While Varvàra wanted to cast most “Travel Series” sculptures in bronze, she had to adapt quickly when bronze casting became less accessible during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic; she also found that bronze sculptures travel poorly. To be able to keep working, Varvàra developed a technique of painting resin to look like bronze. Today, her bronze and resin pieces are virtually indistinguishable.

In addition to her “Travel Series,” Varvàra has another body of work formed around a very different subject: bulldogs. When asked about her inspiration, Varvàra remarked, “If people ask if I’m a cat or a dog person, I say I’m a bulldog person.” Varvàra grew up with two bulldogs, and reflects that to her, bulldogs seem very “human” as a result of their emotionally expressive faces. She also likes how they scratch themselves on the floor (“as if they’re dancing”) and how, no matter where they are, they will fall immediately asleep. 

As Varvàra continues along her own journey as a sculptor during and after her time at PAFA, she plans to continue playing with size, scale, material, and form. She wants to try out welding, to make a large-scale sculpture for “Travel Series”, and to explore new themes and topics, including her recent interest in representations of fairy tales. 

Whatever her subject matter, it’s clear that Varvàra will continue creating sculptures that are thoughtful, clever, and reflective of the journeys we all take throughout our lives from place to place and experience to experience, as well as how we learn, grow, and change as we travel both in space and in spirit. 

By Micah Lockman-Fine, Exhibitions Coordinator.

Artwork by Varvàra Fern.

Are There Really Dead Birds in that Fridge?

If you’ve recently been to the Schuylkill Center, you may have noticed our gallery space is a bit more full than normal. In our current exhibition Walking the Edge, you’ll find hundreds of artworks, ranging from resin sculpture and vibrant photographs to large, earth-toned textiles. And since its debut, the most frequent question I hear is, “Are there really dead birds in that fridge?” This seems to be the response artist Matt Witmer hopes to elicit in viewers as he coyly refuses to reveal the truth. 

Taken in the Walking the Edge exhibition, shows the dead bird fridge (small rectangular black fridge) with the frame with looping images sitting on top of it and a painting behind it

Dead Bird Fridge first came to be during Witmer’s time as a graduate student at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art in 2021. Part of a larger thesis show, the artwork consists of a small refrigerator litteredwith bird feces, secured with FrogTape and padlocks, and featuring a multimedia picture frame looping images of birds killed from window strikes at Tyler, most commonly yellowthroats, ruby-crowned kinglets, and ovenbirds. As a graduate of Tyler myself, I am all too familiar with the jarring experience of hearing birds smack into the gargantuan windows, only to fall to their death moments later. These huge glass windows have become a popular aesthetic choice in modern architecture and are often spoken of as a gateway to the exterior world. Witmer sees bird strikes as an immediate challenge to a modernist way of thinking that fails to recognize our own embeddedness in the natural world. Small, rectangular black dead bird fridge with the frame with looping images on top of itWitmer says this artwork “documents the physical death toll of the imagined border between nature and civilization.” He often begins a project finding an infrastructure problem and “blowing it up” to discover what moral stance is implanted in the issue. In this case, glass architectural elements allow the viewer to look outside and feel connected to the natural world, but at the same time they isolate us from nature, and unfortunately, migratory birds are the indirect target of the violence perpetrated by these barriers. In fact, corporations and companies cannot be held accountable for causing avian deaths, but it is illegal for an individual to possess a migratory bird corpse because one can’t prove that they didn’t kill it. Witmer’s mysterious fridge toys with this indeterminate territory. 

We can imagine the creation of Dead Bird Fridge as a show, envisioning Witmer painstakingly searching out, collecting, and archiving these dead birds over many months. In fact, his graduate work culminated in a dystopian performance piece captured in video entitled The Last Bird, in which Witmer scaled the side of Tyler School of Art in an attempt to stop a fictional last bird left on earth from hitting the discreet windows. Viewers can’t help but find humor in the piece, especially in the reactions of clueless passing police. These artworks exist in gray areas, and just as we question if there are indeed birds in the padlocked fridge, we are left to contemplate the overall fate of these birds. In his research, Witmer made a connection to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, a law that essentially made it illegal to possess corpses of migratory birds at a time when many birds were at risk of extinction. As a result, bird enthusiasts end up finding research institutions to take the birds, so Witmer started a relationship with The Academy of Natural Sciences as part of their collection project. The ambiguity of this knowledge is integral to the functioning of the piece, as viewers confront the possibility of corpses in a locked container. The artist Matt Witmer attached by a harness to the side of a building covered with large glass windows

Witmer’s tone is quite cheeky in a world where environmental artistic practice tends to skew impossibly hopeful or completely doom and gloom – just check out his artist statement and you will understand. Witmer was raised by environmentalist parents and spent much of his childhood outside birding and hiking. In 2016, he hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, an experience that he admits changed both him and his art. Art and trash he found along the trail became integral to his practice as he shifted back to the real world after months on the trail. Due to this experience, Witmer admits he is frustrated with our approaches to the current environmental situation and notes that while hope is important, it is equally essential to avoid the spiral that happens when contemplating our Earth’s fate, and that’s where dark humor comes into play. He admits to sometimes putting on a metaphorical jester hat to “speak truth to power in the guise of a ridiculous buffoon.” 

Moving forward, Witmer anticipates continuing his fascination and exploration of our waterways, and the Schuylkill River in general. Water, while a fundamental element of ecology, is something he sees as a force society is constantly trying to control rather than work with. Ultimately, the idea that nature exists in opposition to civilization is a construct, so the least we can do is laugh about it all – case in point – staging a perpetual video memorial, complete with a closed casket, for dead birds lost to forces that are invisible (at least to them).

By Kristina Murray, Director of Environmental Art.

Please visit the exhibition Walking the Edge, on view now through April 1, 2023. 



Installation view, “Dead Bird Fridge,” Schuylkill Center, 2023. Photographer: Ricky Yanas.

Matt Witmer, “Dead Bird Fridge,” 2021. Photo courtesy of the artist. 

Still from “The Last Bird,” Tyler School of Art, October 27, 2021. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Meet Patient 23-12: The Rare and Beautiful Long-Tailed Duck

Meet patient 23-12, the long-tailed duck, a beautiful species of sea duck known for their unique vocalizations and coloration. The first one to ever be admitted to our Wildlife Clinic, this handsome adult male was unable to fly and bleeding from his chest, warranting immediate help from our rehabilitators.

Our intake examination revealed a wound below the neck that was scabbed over and already beginning the healing process. We also noticed a bit of cloudiness in his left eye, determined to be light trauma. After performing some x-rays, we were able to rule out any fractures or other internal injury. Based on the location of the injuries, we believe that the poor duck either collided with a telephone wire or a window while flying above the city.

Long-tailed ducks are excellent swimmers and divers and have been recorded at depths of over 150 feet in the ocean. They are typically found in the waters of the Arctic and spend the winter on the open ocean, hunting for small crustaceans and fish, though they also eat aquatic plants. They are a rare sight to see in Pennsylvania, so the question is… what is one doing in Philadelphia?

There have been a few recent sightings of a flock of long-tailed ducks in South Philly who have likely traveled inland for more feeding opportunities. It is not uncommon to see these ducks along the New Jersey coastline, so it’s possible they flew over from there. 

Because this species is so uncommon in Philly, a lot of research went into creating proper meals and an ideal enclosure to fit his needs. We relied on our colleagues at Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research in Newark, Delaware, who have experience with this species. They guided us through everything this special duck would need and we are so grateful for their help!

We gave the long-tailed duck pain medication and a topical steroid for his eye, and we made sure he got plenty of swimming time every day so that he could exercise and bathe—long-tailed ducks spend most of their time in water, so that is where he is happiest.

He eventually recovered well and we were able to successfully release him back into the wild. Before returning to the wild, each animal must pass a pre-release assessment. We want to ensure that each patient returns home with the highest likelihood of success. In the case of the long-tailed duck, we made sure his injuries were healed and that he was able to fly, swim, and dive for food.

Long-tailed ducks migrate in a pattern opposite from what we usually see: they travel north in the winter and south in the summer. We had to release him somewhere that has been confirmed to be on their migration route. Using the National Audubon Society app, we researched recent sightings of long-tailed ducks near where he was rescued and selected the perfect location for this handsome duck to be released. Once he gains his bearings, he will begin his migration journey again and hopefully catch up with his flock.