Written by Heather Chitty
posted on May 13, 2018 12:10
The St. Lawrence Islands National Park, established in 1904, is the oldest Canadian national park east of the Rockies. Living in and around the park, we're blessed with an abundance of wildlife that calls the River and islands home. In spring, it is such a pleasure to observe the deluge of species returning to the area, including bald eagles, pileated woodpeckers, northern saw-whet owls, barred owls, herons, loons, flickers, robins, redwing blackbirds, and my personal favourite, the ospreys. Canada supports one-third of the world's osprey population, a hawk that migrates an astounding 8000 km from South and Central America to breed in the U.S. and Canada. The park is home to more than 200 bird species alone; Red fox, white-tail deer, beavers, raccoons, chipmunks, squirrels, and mink are among the populations of mammals that also call the park home alongside the reptilian species.
Cohabiting with such an abundance of wildlife inevitably leads to 'contact' in many different forms, usually the joy of viewing from a distance. I have unknowingly kayaked too near a swan nesting site though, and been chased by the male. With the swan having a wingspan of potentially 3 m (10 ft.), it was a very intimidating experience to say the least.
But what about the unfortunate circumstance of happening upon an injured wild animal or bird? We are extremely fortunate to be within driving distance of Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre, located 20 minutes west of Kingston, in Napanee, Ontario. The mandate of the facility is "to help all injured and orphaned wildlife, both mammals and birds, and release them back into the wild. We also give advice and assistance to property owners who are having problems with their wild animal neighbours and can offer humane alternatives to solve these conflicts."
Sue Meech, the founder and president of SPWC, is a licensed wildlife practitioner who has run the non-profit registered charity for over 15 years. In 2017 alone over 4000 mammals and birds were admitted to the Centre, with most being released successfully.
Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre is actively fundraising as they recently lost their main barn, storage shed and dry shed to a fire; donations are greatly appreciated as they are moving forward rebuilding what has been lost. Please see the SPWC newsletter to participate in the Centre's fundraising activities.
Sandy Pines is not open to the public for tours,outside of its annual spring fundraiser, as the staff are dedicated to keeping the wildlife that are healing and recuperating at the Centre wild and not acclimatized to humans.
To learn further of the challenges and adventures, Sue and her staff of volunteers have experienced over the years, her delightful read, "On The Wild Side - Tales from a Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre" is available for sale at the Centre, along with a number of other highly recommended wildlife books for all of us animal lovers. All proceeds from sales, are donations for the Centre and tax receipts are available for any donations made.
Sandy Pines is always in need of volunteers, particularly volunteer drivers, to transport injured animals to animal hospitals that deal specifically with the animal or injury presented.
Please find Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre's contact information below and spread the word that we are extremely fortunate to have a dedicated team of competent volunteers at a wildlife rescue centre close by.
To learn further of the challenges and adventures Sue and her staff of volunteers have experienced over the years, her delightful read, "On The Wild Side - Tales from a Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre" is available for sale at the Centre, along with a number of other recommended wildlife books for all of us animal lovers. All proceeds from sales are donations for the Centre and tax receipts are available for any donations made.
Please note: Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre's contact information below and spread the word that we are extremely fortunate to have a dedicated team of competent volunteers at a wildlife rescue centre close by.
Sandy Pines is always in need of volunteers, particularly volunteer drivers to transport injured animals to animal hospitals that deal specifically with the animal or injury presented.
Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre, 8749 Country Rd 2, Napanee, Ontario, K7R 3L1 Phone: 613.354.0264, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Heather Chitty
Heather Chitty works as a Reading Specialist, with dyslexic children, and also enjoys freelancing as a writer and photographer. She grew up in the Thousand Islands and, after years of working overseas and throughout Canada, returned to the area she loves. Heather lives in Gananoque and spends as much time as possible on the River either kayaking, touring or sailing.
In 2011 Heather’s book River Reminiscing: An Anthology of Thousand Islands Stories was published. The book was dedicated to William (Bill) Chitty, who died in 2008, as one of the founders of the Arthur Child Heritage Museum in Gananoque. Heather also wrote “Hale and Hearty – a Life on an Island” in TI Life in October 2012 and The Puzzle of Agnes Maule Machar in July 2015.