Florida Keys Wildlife Rescue

Education

We strive to mitigate damage to the environment by bringing wildlife and people together to develop awareness of the interaction and importance of animals, the environment, and the human community. Our program teaches people to empathize. Damaged wing? – damaged leg? – inability to get around, to function normally. Result? In the case of humans, tremendous inconvenience; in the case of wildlife, starvation and death. Who is more at risk? We work with the public to restore habitat to its previously pristine condition by conducting clean-up activities and planting in scarified areas.

Youth Education

FKWR makes presentations at schools and introduced in 2003 a new facet of the program which received enthusiastic responses from summer visiting groups – having students become intimately familiar with all aspects of our environment by writing essays about it and its inhabitants, thereby creating a deeper understanding about how the environment supports us all as well as the detrimental effects of human, thoughtlessness, carelessness, pollution, and greed. The program is ongoing in Big Pine Neighborhood Charter School; Key West High School; Poinciana, Sigsbee, and Sugarloaf Elementary Schools; and Sugarloaf Middle School and has received enthusiastic responses from everyone involved.

In addition to summer programs for visiting groups such as the Boy & Girl Scouts and YMCA, FKWR gives informal presentations to children who would otherwise be left to their own devices during the summer school break. “Homework assignments,” about which they are extremely excited when they learn that they will be used in presentations or published, educate them while keeping them occupied.

Public Education

Outreach and educational programs which strive to bring about public awareness about environmental pollution, habitat damage, and exploitation of wildlife are part of our program. Brochures and flyers are made available at public places and personally handed out on beaches (to mitigate trash problems), bridges (to educate fishing people about the hazards of monofilament line to wading birds), and other venues for public gatherings. Presentations are made at various meetings such as the Audubon and Discovery programs as well as to informal groups at RV sites, recreation facilities, marinas, and fishing lodges. Guidance for helping injured wildlife is published in newspapers.

FKWR staff take advantage of impromptu educational opportunities during rescue situations. Having people witnessing a rescue assist in various ways offers them a first-hand look at the horrors inflicted on our wildlife by human thoughtlessness and carelessness. Since many of these rescues suffer fishing-related injuries and are often in the area of fishing people, seeing the physical wounds attributable to fishing hooks and monofilament line invokes in most a resolve to be more considerate and careful while they pursue their activities.