My day job is at International Risk Management Institute, Inc., a company that provides courses, conferences, certifications, and educational materials for people in the insurance industry. This year, the company participated in the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation Week of Giving by sending groups to the North Texas Food Bank, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Thrift Harbor/Hope Harbor Children’s Home (in Oklahoma), and Blackland Prairie Raptor Center. I opted to volunteer at the raptor center because I had never done anything like that.
Honestly, I had to Google “raptor,” because I wasn’t sure what all that included. It basically means birds of prey (hawks, owls, and falcons). The raptor center helps conserve and rehabilitate birds and educate the community about wildlife and their habitats. They do presentations at schools and other organizations and at their facility, along with hikes, fishing, and other events. It’s a really lovely area by Lake Lavon.
Seven employees and one friend drove out to Lucas last Friday to help build new habitats for the birds. The center is adding several new buildings. The one we worked on was almost finished and will be used to let birds practice flying and hunting. They will let live mice loose in the cage with the birds, and if the birds gain or maintain weight, they can be released into the wild.
Our job was to cut wood using a table saw, drill holes in the wood, and then attach it to the top of the cage. I had used a drill before at the Texas Ramp Project, so I helped with that a little.
I was a little scared of the table saw, but I thought it would be cool to try, so I asked Brenda to show me how to do it. It was pretty fun. I now understand why Tim Taylor was always making that annoying grunting noise on “Home Improvement.”
The best part, of course, was meeting some of the birds. Our company logo is an owl, so we obviously had to get some pictures with the owls.
The birds come to the center for various reasons. Some are found injured in the wild. Others were foolishly kept as pets by humans and never learned how to hunt, so they can’t survive on their own.
If you want to help out at the raptor center, they need people to help build the new buildings, or you can work directly with the birds.
Our coordinator also told us about the Master Naturalist program, which involves a 40-hour training program and subsequent volunteering and advanced training requirements in all sorts of nature topics, all of which sound really interesting. He has completed more than 5,000 hours of volunteering and got a letter from the president! One of the volunteers I worked with at River Legacy was working toward this designation.
You can also help by making a donation or buying a shirt. And they are open to the public on the first Saturday of every month if you just want to visit.
If you work in the insurance industry, look into the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation. They provide volunteers, grants, and leadership for programs dealing with disaster preparedness and other topics of interest to the industry.