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A different type of giving

By Julia DeRogatis

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(Julia DeRogatis / Photo)

Volunteers at the Wildlife Care Network help nurse different types of birds back to health. (Julia DeRogatis / Photo)

By Julia DeRogatis | Staff Writer 

December 20, 2012

As the holiday season rolls around, the days are filled with sparkling presents, gift lists, and giving. However, the best way to give doesn’t necessarily include shiny wrapping paper or a price tag.

Sometimes the best way to give is through hard work and out of the goodness of the heart, such as working or volunteering for an agency like Santa Barbara’s Wildlife Care Network.

The Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network (WLCN) is an agency run by Julia Parker that devotes itself to nurturing injured animals back to health. Many volunteers work tirelessly to try and help the wildlife of Santa Barbara flourish, even though the job can be very tough and demanding at times.

“During baby [bird] season, I could stay for five or six hours without running out of things to do,” says Theresa Wagner, a Dos Pueblos freshman and volunteer at the WLCN.

Theresa and other volunteers selflessly give back to their communities year round, and it shows through in their personalities.

“I’m not a materialistic person,” Wagner comments. “I love nothing more than animals, especially birds, so taking care of them with the goal of releasing them back into the wild is one of the most fulfilling things I’ve done.”

Fulfilling is definitely an accurate word to describe what the WLCN does. Many people in the community probably don’t give much thought to the animals that share their town, but this agency does. It aids in the recovery of hundreds of animals, even taking in snarling raccoons and talon-bearing birds of prey.

The WLCN never ceases its ministrations. While most people were stuffing themselves on Thanksgiving, Andi DeRogatis, a DP alumni and volunteer at the WLCN, was feeding baby birds and bunnies and tenderly nurse them back to health. She plans to become a vet and attend University of California, Davis, and she credits the WLCN in helping her understand and gain experience with animals.

Andi, Theresa, and other student volunteers have grasped the real meaning of giving. They approach the holidays not thinking of presents, but of the real gift they get when they watch one of their animals spread its wings and soar, healthy and majestic, into the air.

The WLCN is only one of the many wonderful non-profit agencies in Santa Barbara, but the devotion and constant selflessness of its workers make it stand out as a place of true giving.

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Dos Pueblos High School's Student Newspaper
A different type of giving