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Liberty Wildlife Rehabilitation Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3), invites you to Wild About Wildlife, its inaugural fun fair event! Water – Use It Wisely will be in attendance with a booth and fantastic giveaways.

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Liberty Wildlife Bird Ambassador Ace, a peregrine falcon.

Roughly 6,000 injured, ill, or orphaned animals are brought for care to Liberty Wildlife each year.  That has added up to 80 or 90 thousand animals over the past 34 years, according to Megan Mobsy, current Executive Director. The organization, which was founded in 1981 by Dr. Kathryn Orr, has a mission statement that promises, “…to nurtur[e] the nature of Arizona by providing quality wildlife rehabilitation, environmental Education, and conservation services for the community.” They envision a time when wildlife is recognized as a vital part of our natural world; a priceless natural resource to be protected and preserved. Native wildlife is intricately connected to their water resource, which in the southwestern United States tends to be riparian area.

Riparian areas, according to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, are lands that occur along water bodies, such as rivers, flood plains, or stream banks (1). They are markedly different from surrounding lands because of unique soil and vegetation characteristics that are strongly influenced by the presence of water. In the arid western United States, riparian areas are estimated to be less than 2% of the total land area (2). In Arizona the acreage is estimated at only 113,000 hectares, which is only 0.4% of Arizona’s total area (2). However, the role of riparian areas is disproportionate to their size! Some of their most important functions include stabilizing stream banks, reducing chemical inputs into the environment, and recharging subsurface aquifers. They also are imperative for flora and fauna!

In southeastern California, southern Arizona, and central and southern New Mexico, researchers have categorized 579 plants as obligate or preferential riparian species (2). Additionally, a large percentage of wildlife depends on riparian areas for foraging, nesting or cover during part or all of their lifecycle. This is particularly true for the southwestern states, where riparian areas are recognized as critical habitat. In Arizona alone, 80% of all vertebrates spend some portion of their life in a riparian area (2). Some notable southwestern avian wildlife that are riparian obligates include Harris’ hawk, bald eagles, and Cooper’s hawk.

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A mural at Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center in Phoenix, Arizona depicting the importance of water conservation and wildlife protection.

This is where Liberty Wildlife helps! When animals are threatened, Liberty Wildlife steps in to protect the health and well-being of the animals and our natural environment as a whole. Their new education and rehabilitation facility, located at the Nina Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center, is a testament to their commitment to the desert southwest.  Not only will it be a haven for golden eagles, prairie dogs, California condors, and desert tortoises, it will do it sustainably. Liberty Wildlife requested the help of ASU School of Sustainability students to design rainwater catchments, graywater irrigation, and bioswales to help keep its water footprint down in the desert.

This building is in progress with many sponsorship opportunities available. Liberty Wildlife is always accepting of various donated items, most of which you can bring right to their Wild About Wildlife event! The fun fair will take place on Sunday, March 13, 1 to 4 p.m. at Cactus Park (7202 E Cactus Rd, Scottsdale). Come meet the animals and Bird Ambassadors, learn about all wildlife, create crafts, and participate in the Baby Bird Baby Shower donation. Water – Use It Wisely will be in attendance, outlining the benefits of water conservation and the importance of our riparian areas. Visit Liberty Wildlife’s Facebook page for more information.

By supporting local water utilities, rescue organizations, and rehabilitation projects you are supporting an environmentally focused future with sustainable benefits!

For more information and to discover volunteer opportunities visit LibertyWildlife.org. If you are in the Phoenix area and encounter an injured, ill, or orphaned animal call 480-998-5550.

Sources:

  1. http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/technical/?cid=nrcs143_014199
  1. http://extension.arizona.edu/sites/extension.arizona.edu/files/pubs/az1432.pdf

Adria Surovy is a Water Conservation Specialist with Scottsdale Water, one of fifteen Water – Use It Wisely partners to offer water-saving advice and programs.

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