Fluvanna County’s Central Elementary School looked like a scene from a nature documentary recently, thanks to Fluvanna High School senior Devon Burger. As part of her BRVGS senior project about wildlife in Virginia, Devon sponsored and arranged for two “Wonders of Wildlife” (“WoW”) programs from The Wildlife Center of Virginia for CES students. Chapin Hardy of the Wildlife Center talked to students about the mission of the Center to help rehabilitate wounded Virginia wildlife, and introduced students to a box turtle, a broad winged hawk and an opossum. The students had many questions, and were clearly fascinated and engaged by the presentation and the animals.
According to Devon, she wanted to bring this program to CES because, “I believe it is important for children to learn about wildlife because they live with animals everyday... I hope that wildlife education will encourage them to respect the animals and protect our environment.”
Devon put together a GoFundMe campaign and a Thanksgiving Day “Turkey Trot” race to raise the money for the wildlife programs. Fundraising was not easy, but Devon notes that “With a lot of help from the community and my dad, who helped me run a Turkey Trot 5k to fund the event, I raised more than I needed for the first WoW day. I learned that you just have to be willing to ask for help.”
Despite the difficulties of fundraising, Devon feels that the event was completely worth the effort. “I personally learned a lot more about wild animals and the children were so receptive! I know they were grateful about the WoW day, because at the end of the presentation one little girl hugged and thanked me. In that moment, I knew that the program made a difference.” One of the best parts of the experience was “... seeing the kid's faces when the animals were pulled out of the cages.” It sounds like making the program happen made a difference for Devon as well.