Why Wildlife Matters: A Blog by Lindsay’s Executive Director
A Different Lindsay: Our Response to the PandemicPosted on: April 13th, 2020
Sheltering-in-Place Blog Entry #1
Dear Friends of the Lindsay Wildlife Experience:
Have I told you lately how much we miss you? It is a huge understatement to say this to our staff, our volunteers, and our visitors. The empty exhibits hall, the darkened classrooms missing the loud voices and laughter of children. The hollow feeling of the Manzanita Room, devoid of people and programs. The only sounds are the calls of the animal ambassadors and the occasional radio conversation of the onsite staff. It is a very different Lindsay these days. A different community, too, a different country in a different world. It is hard to wrap your head around the scope of the issues, even for those of us used to dealing with global challenges such as climate change and the biodiversity crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic affects us humans so directly, striking at the core of our diverse social structures. We are a species that thrives on gathering, sharing, connecting in personal ways. Think sports events, theater and movies, concerts and music festivals, religious and official holidays, family gatherings, and visits to our favorite restaurants, park, or museum. Think about your visits to Lindsay.
We really don’t know when or even if things will get back to normal, to the way things were before. This viral illness has already changed the way we communicate, how we work, and how we will behave for months or years to come. We may choose to see this as a tragic set of losses (and there are many losses to consider and acknowledge). However, we also can see this as an opportunity to transform ourselves and our work into something equally valuable and, dare we say, better than what we had before. What do I mean by this?
Let’s count the ways…
Our staff is learning rapidly to work remotely and continue to produce essential and meaningful work. Our department leaders have adapted quickly to the new modalities, each department unique in their particular challenges. And each department is finding new ways to do the work. This newsletter is an example. While we thrive in daily interactions with hundreds of visitors to Lindsay, we are facing the possibility of a substantially reduced number of visitors in the next few months. People will be cautious of gatherings in enclosed spaces, and many would prefer not to come to Lindsay on days where we expect crowds. Our answer is to go to you, reach you in the comfort of your home, with news, information, videos, and content that entertains, educates, and helps you grow in your love and appreciation of wildlife and nature.
Our volunteers are also stepping up and finding ways to stay in touch and support Lindsay. Several volunteers have opened up their homes to some of our animal ambassadors to spend a “holiday” with them and alleviate this way the load on the core crew taking care of them at Lindsay. Other volunteers have expanded their homecare facilities to accept more wildlife hospital patients during their recovery and rehabilitation. Others are contributing to our campaigns, providing content for our newsletter—see the stories in this and following issues—and spreading the word and programs to their friends and networks.
Our Board of Directors and our advisors have also joined forces to reach out to their contacts and various constituencies. They have all committed their time and resources in support of Lindsay. We’re proud to report that 100% of our Board members and Advisors have made personal donations to our Love for Lindsay Wildlife Campaign and have brought others into the family.
Our youth corps, the Outstanding Wildlife Leaders (OWLs) and the Keepers In Training (KITs), have continued to seek out ways to stay connected and productive. Our leadership team is developing new methods for these brilliant young women and men to find fulfilling projects that further their leadership training and also contribute to the health of the organization.
When you leaf through—or scroll down—the pages of our Weekly Wildlife Wonders e-newsletter, we hope you discover a new face and voice for Lindsay, one that demonstrates how much we care about you and wildlife, about your relationship with nature, and how much we value your support.
Hope to see you again soon.
Carlos de la Rosa