Wildlife Center throws bash to raise money for bigger home
GENEVA - Ashley Flint would like a bigger place.
After all, when you care for more than 2,800 injured and helpless wild animals of all shapes and sizes every year - as Flint and the rest of the team at Elburn's Fox Valley Wildlife Center do each year - few things are at more of a premium than space.
Saturday, Flint, director of the Fox Valley Wildlife Center, and her team hosted the center's inaugural Wild about Wildlife fundraiser to begin raising the money they need to build a new home for the organization and the animals it serves.
Held at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva, the Wild about Wildlife event offered the public a chance to donate to the cause, and to interact with or just take a gander at some of the local wild animals for which the Fox Valley Wildlife Center provides care.
Animals on display included a box turtle, an opossum, and several birds, including owls and a red-tailed hawk, brought to the event by the Northern Illinois Raptor Center.
The center will routinely take in native and non-native wildlife, including squirrels, foxes, raccoons, and a wide variety of birds, that may have been negatively impacted by human activities and need "a second chance."
Flint said the event offered the Fox Valley Wildlife Center an opportunity to give the public that rare glimpse at the kinds of animals the center cares for and the services the center offers.
Flint noted that the Wildlife Center, which is now housed at the Elburn Forest Preserve, cannot allow the public into its facility, except for scheduled open houses. And it also must limit the number of animals it can accept, particularly during the busy summer months.
So, Flint said the Wildlife Center opted to hold a special fundraiser this year, in addition to the other fundraisers, including an annual dinner and auction, golf outing, comedy night, among others, it hosts annually to raise money to pay for normal operations at the center.
"We're hoping that we can raise enough this year, from this fundraiser to put some aside for our dream of a new center," Flint said.
As the afternoon wore on Saturday, people trickled into the event, until the crowd numbered in the dozens, sampling a variety of wares at booths under the concourse at the ballpark and listening to live music from the Plant Band.
The afternoon was capped by a Wildlife Show, featuring the center's staff and some of its animal charges.
Erik and Christina Diepholz, of Aurora, came to the event with their two young sons, who seemed enraptured by the raptors on display.
They said they are friends of Flint's, but, until Saturday, had not yet attended a Wildlife Center fundraising event.
"But this looks good," said Erik. "I'd be willing to come to more."