Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Next Generation

Today, as we celebrate the life and achievements of Walter C. Crawford, Jr., the World Bird Sanctuary founder, leader, and guiding light for many years, the following blog by Joe Hoffmann, our rehabilitation hospital manager, sums up what many of us are feeling.

Baby Boomers, The Disco age, Generation X and the Millennials...time moves on with or without us. 

Sometimes we are lucky enough to meet someone who challenges us to make a difference.  They also assist us in doing so until one day we are no longer following their lead but working alongside them as they reach their crescendo.  We can reflect on the vision achieved during their lifetime or we can build on the opportunities created by their leadership. 

 The late Walter C. Crawford, Jr., founder of the World Bird Sanctuary (photo: Gay Schroer)

Birds follow cycles of the earth and the seasons--breeding and raising their next generations.  There is training that takes place by the parents in many species.  We have also found that a lot of the skills needed to survive are pure instinct.  Some animals have it and some don’t--I guess you could call it a learning curve, but there is no second chance at this test.  In fact, 60% to 85% of all baby birds die before their first birthday.

Some of these birds die because of human made problems, and that is why we here at WBS do the work we do.  We help a few of them by educating the public on the damage humans cause to our world and how each of us might limit our negative impact on the environment. 

A baby Green Heron currently in our care. (Photo: Gay Schroer) 
We also help many birds who are injured, as well as orphaned babies, in the wildlife hospital.   After rehabilitation of these birds we release them back to the wild.  For many years no one addressed this need and this is why Walter C. Crawford, Jr. founded the World Bird Sanctuary.  He challenged the staff and volunteers to meet these objectives and make a difference each day. 

Luckily Walt set up a system of succession for the management of the Sanctuary.  He even lectured around the country and published papers to help other organizations dealing with the handover of leadership.  Walt first appointed Jeff Meshach as the assistant Director, and then about four years ago Walter appointed Jeff Meshach as the Director of The World Bird Sanctuary.

The Sanctuary also has a senior management group which assists in steering the organization to keep us on track.  This group consists of some staff that has been here 20 years or more, and occasionally we have even had individuals that had only been with us for a few years who are included in this leadership role.  We are very thankful for all of Walters’s insights and planning.

So, just as our baby Green Heron learns to balance on his gangly new legs to stand and walk, we do also.  It may take time and it might seem awkward at first but soon it might even seem natural.  

Submitted by Joe Hoffmann, World Bird Sanctuary, Rehabilitation Hospital Manager           

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