Nebraska is one of the states on the Central Migratory Flyway in the United States. We host millions of migratory birds each spring and fall as they make their way north or south – and many of those birds come into our care.
The biodiversity supported on the Great Plains is immense and unique
, providing vital habitat for migratory birds along the Central Flyway Corridor that spans the state of Nebraska. The destruction of prairies and wetlands due to urbanization, agricultural conversion, and inadequate management is compromising habitat for thousands of mammals, migrating songbirds, wading birds, and waterfowl annually. This reality is made explicit in the report, "The American Prairie: Going, Going, Gone?" which states there has been a 99 percent decline in tall-grass prairie and a 68 percent decline in mixed-grass prairie from historic levels, making prairie grasslands North America's most endangered ecosystem. Despite this report and others, investments for the protection of prairie ecosystems continue to pale in comparison to coastal ecosystems.
Why Support Wildlife Education?
Wild animals come into rehab because of people. If we can educate people on the right way to interact with wildlife, we can reduce the need for rehabilitation and help leave animals in the wild – where they belong.
Educating students about wildlife early helps to develop respect for animals and the environment, and even other people and themselves!
People will only protect what they understand. When students learn early about wildlife, habitats, and human-nature interactions, they develop a passion and deeper understanding of the world around them. This understanding will spur them to become our next generation of scientists and conservationists.
As the biodiversity of the prairie diminishes, so does the possibility for the next generation to truly connect with these spaces. NWRI believes that the education and engagement of youth and the public at large is essential in creating a society that values habitat protection. NWRI recognizes diversity as fundamental to healthy communities, whether that be on the prairies or in our cities. All of our rehab efforts also contribute to our educational outreach, and provide a platform for NWRI to reach Nebraska with this conservation message.
Why Support NWRI?
The demand for our services in Nebraska outstrips our ability to meet it.
With more funding, we can meet the needs of the people and wildlife in Nebraska.
NWRI believes in giving back to our community.
Our volunteers and board members work to make a difference every day in our community through our work with wildlife, students, and even with other non-profit organizations.
Not only do we believe in engaging in community service ourselves, we work to teach students that their actions can make a difference
in their communities as well, and provide them with projects to improve the world around them.
NWRI cares for more wild animals each year than any organization in the state
, and emphasizes professional training for its team leaders, volunteers and staff. We hold membership in the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (IWRC) and the National Wildlife Rehabilitators’ Association (NWRA), and most of our educators are also certified Nebraska Master Naturalists.
How Will My Donation Be Used?
Wildlife Rehabilitation – Funds pay directly for formula, food, caging, enrichment, medical supplies, and veterinary care for the animals we receive each year.
Wildlife Education – NWRI has education programs on all levels , from elementary school to adult, and donations help offset the cost to schools and community groups.
Wildlife Center – Although Ash Grove Cement Co. generously donates the use of our Wildlife Center building, we still have to pay for utilities, insurance, and upkeep.
Staff Salaries – NWRI has a part-time Executive Director and a handful of educators who are paid small stipends for their work. We are working to expand the director’s position to full-time to ensure that we can meet the need for rehabilitation, education, and partnerships in our community.
What Does It Cost to Rehabilitate an Animal?
Here are just some of the average per animal costs for rehabilitation:
Eastern cottontail rabbit
Fox squirrel $10.00
Waterfowl/Wading Bird $15.00
Beaver $250.00 (Beavers take a year to rehabilitate!)
Red fox $50.00
With 2,000 to 4,000 animals per year, these numbers can add up quickly!
And finally, who can resist these faces?