By Tomas Kassahun | Reporter
As it prepares for its annual banquet which strives to bring public awareness on wildlife, The Fresno Wildlife Rehabilitation Service hopes this year will finally bring success.
The FWRS, which relies on the banquet to help fund its organization for the whole year, has been struggling to get the word out about the event.
“A lot of people don’t really know who we are. We have been around for almost 44 years,” founder Cathy Garner said. “We would love to get the word out and make sure the public is aware of who we are, what we do.”
The FWRS’ mission is “to rehabilitate and return native wildlife to their natural habitat and provide wildlife education to the public.”
Currently, the organization has over 400 members in the Fresno/Clovis and surrounding areas.
Volunteers take injured and orphaned animals, care for their needs and prepare them to be released back into the wild. Some of the native animals that are cared for include hummingbirds, ducks, owls, eagles, deer, bobcats, foxes, opossums and squirrels.
Meanwhile, some of the non-releasable animals are used for presentations at schools and service organizations throughout the Central San Joaquin Valley. The educational-outreach programs reach over 15,000-20,000 children and adults annually.
Many of the members of FWRS are school-age children, learning first-hand the importance of preservation to native wildlife.
This year’s banquet, which will include a silent and live auction, takes place on April 22 from 6-10 p.m. at the Simonian Fruit Co.
“We have an amazing silent auction,” Garner said. “Our silent auction has over 200 items. Most of them are really special. People that have known our organization for a long time donate lovely things.”
Garner said she still strongly believes in the organization’s success moving forward.
“Our volunteers are very dedicated. We have some volunteers who have been with us for over 20 years,” she said. “I’m the founder and I’ve been doing it for 44 years, so yes we are hopeful.”