Who will help animal rehab center?

I’m writing today as a longtime lover of wildlife, a photographer of the same and a regular visitor to the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge. I have eagerly watched the facility grow and change to the unique facility it is today. Wendy and Steve Hall deserve our praise and admiration for their patience, perseverance, and dedication on behalf of injured wildlife’s rehabilitation, and for giving us an inside, behind-the-scenes look at these magnificent creatures.

I know the Halls don’t walk on water and that the Department of Environmental Conservation could improve its approach. Records are very important. As a licensed clinical social worker, I had very similar responsibilities. My cases were reviewed by my supervisor, and then a Ph.D and an M.D. After their review, the state came and did its review. Once after a few years of their reviews, in frustration, I asked how they wanted the record to read. In a half-hour discussion with my staff of adolescent therapists and agency staff, the reviewers shared good answers that eliminated much of the guesswork.

Taking a course in college often began with learning how/what the professor wanted in tests and papers. Working on an ambulance, I learned if it wasn’t recorded in the trip log, it didn’t happen. Working in the hospitals in emergency psych services, I learned that some doctors would rearrange the emergency room protocol to suit the doctor. As Wendy said in her Feb. 7 Lake Placid News article on page A5, the DEC asks that a protocol be changed. So let’s put the pointing fingers away and work together toward a resolution.

I understand the struggle about needing to feed this baby creature every two or so hours or document a new arrival at a very early hour. Wendy’s not an octopus. How many sightings can a bear have? How long will the DEC let a diseased, disoriented moose stand in that cold mountain river while it has rocks thrown and paintballs shot at it? On TV, the ranger calls the local fire department and a ladder truck puts the baby back in the nest. Someone hired, delegated to submit your paperwork didn’t.

How do we fix the system to run more smoothly? Where does the oil need to be put? After all this time, 2014 to today, we need to put the pointing fingers in our pockets and ask both parties how we can help. How can Wendy’s, et al, board help? How can the regulatory bodies help? Money and volunteers can help. Wendy was chosen as a Trailblazer in the Adirondack Explorer, No. 5 of the 17 so far.

It takes very special people to do what Wendy and Steve do. You work or have had a job that had skills. Those skills can help. From paperwork to managing the grounds to inventory or answering the phone, to donating dollars.

We can start two lists. One has volunteer names and their interests/skills, and the other is of all the jobs that need doing that can be matched with list 1. Donors of time and money to run the refuge and coordinate with the DEC will get their fingers out of their pockets and become supportive and beneficial to both, all concerned organizations. You can be on a list to help. Raise your hand. Do what you can do. It will be helpful, and everybody wins.

Henry D. “Buz” Graves Jr., MSW, ACSW, LCSW, lives in Saranac Lake.