Desert Willow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center to Host Benefit DinnerBy Valeria QuezadaDesert Willow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center has been a sanctuary for sick and injured animals in Southeastern New Mexico for about three decades. This center is possible thanks to the hard work of Director Sammie Uhrig, Outreach Coordinator Robert Kasuboki, volunteers, and many others. They have been working to rehabilitate and release wildlife in the Carlsbad area, as well as Chaves, Eddy, Lea, Lincoln, and Otero Counties. This center is located at 512 Fiesta Drive and has a skilled staff and enclosures to home diverse wildlife during their rehabilitation. Currently, they are in the process of expanding their facilities for medical treatment of wildlife to further enhance their abilities to rehabilitate and serve the wildlife in southeast New Mexico. The need for expansion is necessary, as the center treats up to approximately 700 animals each year. Desert Willow isvolunteer-based and has been a nonprofit since 2013. They operate completely off donations and grants. All their services and programs are provided through donationsas well. Members of the community have been very involvedwith this center. For example, studentsfrom the high school and the Early College High School have and will continue tointern and volunteer with the center. Volunteers help with animal care and transport. The volunteer transporters move animals from the center back to their home after the rehabilitation process is completed. “We can also use help with volunteers doing the educational programs, where we take animals out. Our next programwill be at Heritage Feston September 18th,” said Kasuboki.
This year,Desert Willow will be hosting their second benefit dinner at the Walter Gerrells Performing Arts Center on October 14th to raise money and awareness. “It was intended to be an annual thing, we had our first benefittwo years ago,but couldn’t host one last year because of COVID,” explainedKasuboki. “Everyone had a good time at our first event,and this year we have incorporated live music.” This is an amazing opportunity to show this center support. This benefit will consist of dinner, drinks, silent/live auctions, door prizes, live trivia, and much more.The benefit dinner is not only for adults, andfamilies can enjoy it as well. There will be many educational booths at the event, for instance, Inspired by Science will be hosting experiments and Desert Willow will have all their education animals. Desert Willow’s education animals are animals that were not able to be released back into the wild. Two pelicans named Mr. Peabody and Sherman, Harrison the Harris Hawk, and Xena the red-tailed hawkare used to inform during the center’s presentations.Desert Willow WildlifeRehabilitation Center providesa multitude of educational opportunities for school children, organizations, and members of the community.There are other ways the community can help and support this incredible center. Kasuboki concluded, “Be more involved through volunteering for some of our programs or projects. We also accept donations or just come to our event and enjoy yourself!” If anyone chooses to attend the benefit, they can purchase tickets at http://desertwillowwildlifebenefit.com.If anyone spots any injured or orphaned wildlife, pleasecontact the center’s staff as soon as possible and follow any instructions they provide.