Help our Wildlife Clinic Make it through the Spring

By Mike Weilbacher, Executive Director

There are so many signs of spring.  Here at the Schuylkill Center, skunk cabbage and lesser celandine, the latter a bright yellow flower, are already in bloom.  A pair of bluebirds, the male an impossible shade of blue, examined nesting boxes last week, clearly house hunting, and a pair of Canada geese returned to Fire Pond, likely the same pair that raise their young here every spring.

The running of the toads across Port Royal Avenue is another benchmark here in Roxborough, but the toads have not awakened yet.  Fear not: they are coming soon!

But over at our Wildlife Clinic down Port Royal Avenue, there’s a whole different sign of spring.  In last week’s monsoon, that weirdly warm storm with lightning and thunder (in February!), a pair of baby squirrels, brother and sister, must have gotten knocked out of their nest in the wind, and a good Samaritan brought them to the clinic for the facility’s special TLC.

They were the first baby squirrels of 2016.

Thus, Rick Schubert, the clinic’s gifted director of rehabilitation, was able to pick a volunteer to win the year’s “No Prize,” the annual lottery for predicting when the first baby squirrel comes to the clinic.  And yes, there is “no prize” for winning—just the thrill of victory.

When I visited the clinic last week, Rick was planning on bringing the babies home with him that night after work, as these newborns, eyes not yet open, fur not yet grown in, need constant, round-the-clock feeding.

And that’s spring at the Wildlife Clinic, a parade of baby animals—squirrels, rabbits, nestling birds of all kinds from tiny wrens to hawks and owls, kit foxes, baby possums separated from their mother and her pouch, raccoons, even fawns.

Ma and pa stores have their Christmas season, the busy but exhausting time when they do most of their business.  Last week, the clinic’s Christmas season began.

While the clinic has two rehabilitators, as Michele Wellard assists Rick in this precious work, they are understaffed for an organization of this size and importance, and the Schuylkill Center’s long-term game plan is to fix that situation.  Happily, some 70 volunteers assist Rick and Michele in feeding all these animals, not to mention doing all the cage cleaning you can imagine must be done.  Still, the race is on.

This is where you come in.  The Schuylkill Center is organizing a Campaign for the Clinic, a project aimed at burying the clinic, its staff, volunteers and baby animals with so much of what they need to survive the spring rush.  Like paper towels and trash bags, bleach and Dawn dishwashing detergent, canned and dry dog and cat food.  For the full list, check out the box on this page.  Bring any of these items to the Schuylkill Center on Hagy’s Mill Road (NOT to the clinic, as they are too busy to handle visitors), and drop them off in our lobby.

You can also go to our web site and make a special donation to the wildlife clinic so they can continue purchasing the supplies and materials they need, like medicine and food.

Every year, the clinic quietly handles some 3,300 animals, and over its 29-year existence has helped creatures from more than 150 species, several of them endangered.

Over the years, other area clinics have closed down, so the Wildlife Clinic is now the last facility of its kind in a four-county area.  It’s one of the places that makes Roxborough special, and we’d love for you to support it.

A couple of storm-blown baby squirrels will thank you, not to mention Rick, Michele, and a hardworking group of volunteers.

Campaign for the Clinic

Please bring any or all of the following to the Schuylkill Center, where you can leave donations in the visitor center lobby, and learn more about the animals cared for at the clinic.

Paper towels
Laundry detergent
Dawn dishwashing detergent
Trash bags (esp. 55 gallon)
Canned or dry dog or cat food
Sterile gauze
Hand sanitizer
Dry-erase markers
Tape (scotch tape, masking tape)
Broom and/or mop





4 thoughts on “Help our Wildlife Clinic Make it through the Spring

  1. Does the clinic have an Amazon wishlist? For anyone not close enough to drop off items, they could order and have things shipped directly.

    • Hi Amanda,

      Thanks, that’s a great suggestion. We’ll look into that. Best, Anna, Public Relations Manager

  2. How would I go about volunteering? I would also like to know if you have a set age limit on volunteers? My daughter is 8, and has it set in her mind and heart of being a veterinarian, and I’d love for her to be able to volunteer (with me) to start gaining the knowledge she needs. I am also thinking of taking veterinary technician classes, and what better way to get my feet wet! Please let me know. Thank you!

    • We’d love to have you and your daughter volunteer at the Schuylkill Center but we do have a requirement of 18 years of age for the Wildlife Clinic. Perhaps you and your daughter would like to start by helping with the Toad Detour program. The toads have just recently starting crossing in the evenings after sunset. There’s more info on our website under the Toad Detour program tab.

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