Love for Lindsay Wildlife Campaign Stories

From Field Trips to a Dream Job

Lead Animal Keeper Rachael Cross Shares About Her Love for Lindsay Wildlife

I feel like I did not choose to work at Lindsay — it chose me. I grew up in the East Bay and I remember coming to Lindsay on field trips and with my family. It inspired me. My first career path was in something very different (3D animation) but there was little passion or inspiration. I felt lost and remembered those amazing critters I used to visit. I started volunteering, interning, accepted a part-time job, and was then offered a dream job that I never thought I would be able to achieve.

The mission of connecting people with wildlife is what inspired me to push myself and work the many part time-jobs I had to in order to fulfill my dream. Zoological facilities like our very own Lindsay Wildlife are so important to conservation. Our animal ambassadors have the most important job in the world: saving their wild counterparts. They bridge that connection and inspire our visitors to get involved. 

It is a difficult time during this COVID-19 crisis but our animal ambassadors deserve our utmost attention and the same passion we have on any regular day. I strive to make their day normal. It seems like a simple goal but with our limited (yet amazing) staff and handful of volunteers, it’s a challenge. We are doing extraordinary work. I’m proud to work with our Animal Encounters team.

Every so often we get some visitors walking by the outside of the building while we’re training or exercising animals. Their questions and desire to learn continue to inspire me. If we can still educate people, even if it’s just one person, about why turkey vultures are essential for the environment, or that, yes, snakes are gentle and helpful at rodent control in our shared habitats… it’s worth it. You can help us spread awareness and save wildlife by making a gift here. Thank you.

A Lifelong Passion for Animals

Jane Maxwell always loved animals. She grew up with dogs and birds, but made a habit of adopting hard-to-place cats and doting on them at her home in Point Richmond. She surrounded herself with animals and was a true friend to wildlife. 

Living for many years in Alamo and Walnut Creek, Jane was a longtime supporter of Lindsay Wildlife Experience and our work, and remarked to her family that simply knowing Lindsay existed as a haven for injured wildlife gave her peace of mind. She agonized over every bird she saw hit a window, and would spring into action when necessary to save an animal’s life.

Jane generously made many annual donations to Lindsay and other animal organizations in the Bay Area and wanted to make sure that help continued after she was gone. When she passed away at nearly 104 years of age, her family reached out to share her story with us at Lindsay. A relative said that Jane would be happy that her gift was being used as part of the Love for Lindsay Wildlife Campaign. “She is looking down from above and nodding, I am sure,” Jane’s family member shared. “She’d be very humbled but proud.”

We are grateful to continue Jane’s legacy of caring for animals at Lindsay Wildlife Experience.

Why I Love Lindsay: Amazing Animals, Amazing People

Lead Animal Keeper Lauren Amy Shares About Her Love for Lindsay Wildlife

One reason I love working at Lindsay Wildlife Experience is the community it brings together.

As an animal keeper at Lindsay, not only do I get to spend my days taking care of amazing animals, I also get to spend time around some amazing people. My coworkers, our volunteers, and Lindsay’s visitors all contribute to why I love working at Lindsay.

Every day, I get to share Lindsay’s message of connecting people to wildlife. Being able to see someone learn about all the small quills on a North American porcupine, or see how large an eagle’s talons truly are compared to their own hand, are the kinds of interactions that make Lindsay special to me. And while being able to interact with the public will always motivate me to continue learning, it is working with my fellow coworkers and our volunteers, and witnessing their passion and dedication for Lindsay and the animals, that inspires me daily.

It is during these difficult times, when our “normal Lindsay routine” has been temporarily interrupted that I see how well our team can pull together. Volunteers and our coworkers from all departments are working together to make sure Lindsay continues to be at its best. I know that whatever challenges we may face in the future, there will always be a great community of people supporting each other.

Giving in Memory of Diablo

My name is Jan Bindas, and I am a dedicated volunteer with Lindsay Wildlife as well as a donor to the Love for Lindsay Wildlife Campaign. I was motivated to donate in memory of Diablo, our beloved turkey vulture, that I had the privilege and great joy of knowing for 29 of his 32 years at Lindsay Wildlife. I got to spend many precious hours with him over the years both as a member of the Friday raptor team, and throughout his life with us. To say that he was special to me would be an understatement. He was a dear friend, my heart connection. Of course, he would never miss an opportunity to try to nip me with his beak if the moment presented itself, and he got great pleasure whenever he was successful in doing so. He kept me on my toes and taught me to be ready for anything. I especially treasured our walks in Larkey Park when he was on the ground with a long, light cord (creance) attached to the jesses on his legs, which enabled him to walk wherever he wished. I tossed pieces of mice in various spots where it was up to him, with his excellent sense of smell, to find them. He particularly liked hunting for them under piles of leaves. Many families got to know Diablo on these walks and were able to see the beauty of turkey vultures and how unique they are. After all, there were many Diablo stories to share with the most often asked question being “Why does he only have one wing?” He was an amazing wildlife ambassador. People learned many things from Diablo, although he never spoke a word: be kind to wildlife, accept whatever comes your way, have tolerance, and enjoy life.

I loved Diablo and always will. He taught me many things over those years. First and foremost, he taught me to take life as it comes: the good and the not so good, happy or sad; to make the best of everything and that laughter really is the best medicine; to focus on the good; that friendship is built on trust and a good friend is always there for you and silently has your back when you need it the most. He was always there for me in both happy and sad times. And I was there for him.  We were there for each other. He was my heart, and he always had my back. He was my best friend.

Diablo was the reason I began to donate to Lindsay Wildlife. Initially it was in honor of him, and now it is in his memory. I have always specifically requested that my donation in his name went to support our wildlife ambassadors. After all, Diablo spent 32 wonderful years with us. What better way to recognize him than to support the needs of our extraordinary wildlife ambassadors?

Diablo will continue to live on in the hearts of all who loved him and in my favorite memories of our time together. He was truly one in a million. You will always be missed, my dear friend, but will forever be a part of Lindsay Wildlife.

I’m grateful that I was able to honor Diablo and celebrate the friendship we had through the Love for Lindsay Wildlife Campaign. Please join me by making a donation today to help us reach our $250K goal. If you haven’t donated yet, there is still time. Click here to make your gift.

A Volunteer's Story

My name is Carolyn Knoll, and I am proud to be a Lindsay Wildlife Experience volunteer and also a member of the Love for Lindsay Wildlife Campaign Committee. I am committed to the success of LWE and the campaign because I have been a lifelong animal lover.

My mother’s family were ranchers in Lompoc, California, for years and, after the Depression, my grandfather worked for what is today CalTrans. He was part of the team that built the highways in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.

As a result of her childhood, my mother loved the national parks and anything wild and beautiful. We always had pets when I was a child and visited the parks often.

One summer years ago, when I was about 8 or 9 years old, a sparrow fell out of its nest that was built every year in the rafters of our outside patio. My mother thought that its mother would never accept the little bird if it had been handled by humans. She had learned that when she was young and we really didn’t know any differently at the time.

I insisted on taking care of the little bird until it got better which happened quickly in about a week or so. We called my grandparents who had a really big backyard because we wanted to release it where it had lots of open space. Little did we know that the best place to release it was where we found it.

My grandmother was all for it but, when we arrived, my grandfather was not happy because he didn’t want to take care of it. We assured him that he wouldn’t have to. The bird had different ideas.

It would tap on the kitchen window once or twice a day and my grandfather grumbling all the while would go out on the porch and feed that little bird from his hand. This went on for several years until the bird stopped showing up.

I have had other experiences with wildlife as I have gotten older but this incident made such a huge impression on my life. I can still see, in my mind’s eye, my grandfather sitting on his back porch feeding the little bird from his hand.

I want to thank all of you who have donated to the Love for Lindsay Wildlife Campaign. Thanks to you, we have raised $172,208 towards our $250,000 goal. If you haven’t donated yet, there is still time. Click here to make your gift.