First Week At REGI

Sunday May 14, 2023

In case you didn’t see last week’s update, we are in Antigo, Wisconsin to work a two week project with A Year To Volunteer (Y2V).  Sunday, with our opening meeting, was the official start of the Y2V, Raptor Education Group, Inc. (REGI) project. REGI houses and cares for birds, really of all sizes and types, that have been injured.  Of course, the goal is always rehabilitation and release but when the birds have such severe injuries they can never survive in the wild again, they have a safe and secure home for the remainder of their lives. We worked this same project with Shar and Phil, the directors of Y2V, in 2021.  Sunday we met our 18 other team members – none of whom we had worked with previously.  Now, at the end of one short week, we have 18 new friends plus have renewed our friendship with Phil and Shar.

First, the weather report.  When we agreed to work this project beginning on May 7, we had no thoughts about the weather – true southerners we are.  Beginning about 3-4 weeks ago we began checking Antigo weather.  There was SNOW!  There was SNOW the Saturday before our arrival. You all know we don’t do snow and don’t drive FRED in snow.  Even when we departed SC last week the lows were still predicted to be in the 38°F range with highs in the 50s.  Fortunately, the forecast and the weather changed this week and it has been amazing to watch spring arrive with gusto.  Last Friday when we arrived, there were no leaves on anything and nothing was blooming.  Today we rode around town enjoying gorgeous tulips, daffodils, and fruit trees in bloom.  The residents were outside planting flowers in their yards and cutting grass.  The farmers have been plowing the fields all week.  According to the residents, it was a long, long, hard, winter and they are so happy to see the sunshine and flowers.  We are relieved that the snow departed!

Monday was a usual “mosey Monday” meaning we all had to spend time assessing our assignments and determining how to approach the various projects and what additional supplies were needed.  By Tuesday all the projects were well underway. We were working with Joe on removing torn and damaged green fabric from the largest enclosure for the swans, pelicans, ducks and geese.  We continued to work on that project all week and by Friday afternoon the main enclosure had new fabric installed.  There are additional areas still needing fabric repair/replacement but that is work for next week.

Others were busy working on landscaping, installing beautiful new REGI signs, cleaning and replacing the gravel in the eagle flight, painting shelving and benches in the welcome center, cleaning, painting and putting epoxy floor covering in the basement where some pelicans and other birds lived for the winter, and installing softer screening in some mews (smaller bird enclosures).  There is still much to do but we have five more days.

Additionally we had a blood drive Friday and collected 19 units of blood that should help about 60 people in this local area.  It is such a blessing to be surrounded by people from all walks of life, who love to help others.  We all worked very hard this week and are tired.  But we are so thankful to be able to do this work and make great friends.

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