Working With Wildlife

Working With Wildlife

Alek Wolfe, Writer

BFA prides itself on great appreciation for our athletes, scholars and musicians.

However, students who do great things outside of school are an important, but less talked about part of the BFA community.

Jessie Casey (’17) on a weekly basis takes time out of her weekend to volunteer at Otter Creek Wildlife Rescue, located in Vergennes, VT.

Jessie Casey is known to her friends as caring, honest, and sincere.  Often joking around with friends, Casey doesn’t hesitate to get to know people.

At school, she participates in soccer and hockey.  But much of her free weekend time is spent making a difference for wildlife.

“I’ve always really loved to work with animals and when I saw this opportunity, I of course wanted to take it.  It’s a life-long passion that I’ve had with animals,” Casey said.

When asked about who has influenced her, Casey credits Julianna Parker, the founder and director of Otter Creek Wildlife Rescue.

“She inspires me to do better and take care of the animals because she’s dedicated 20 years to this,” Casey said.

Otter Creek Wildlife is a licensed rescue that assists injured and orphaned birds and mammals, as they heal and return to life in the wild.  Parker founded Otter Creek Wildlife several years ago, along with her daughter, Sophia.  Parker was quick to let the Mercury know about her first impression of Jessie.

“I met Jessie last spring, and immediately knew I was in the presence of a big-hearted, smart, sincere, grounded, conscientious, and delightful person,” Parker said.

Though some parts of the volunteer job might be challenging, Casey enjoys making a difference in the animal’s lives.

“She cares about giving and is very attentive to making life better, both for me and for the animals,” Parker said.

Situations that Casey deals with can be as simple as feeding orphaned baby birds every 30 minutes, or as complex as rehabbing injured animals over a period of months.

Many animals arrive after they have been hit by cars or attacked by other animals.

“It’s hard to lose a bird, especially when you have worked hard and then it doesn’t pull through,” Casey said.

Just recently Casey dealt with a pigeon that got attacked by another bird, this resulted in the loss of an eye.

“She is very observant, and notices what’s going on around her with intelligence and a caring spirit that leads to wise, caring action.  All my other volunteers love her, too, and also love working with her,” Parker said.

“Although it takes lots of hard work, and leaves very little time for other activities including sleep, I would rather be doing this than anything else in the world,” S. Parker said.

One of Sophia’s favorite parts is the hands-on interaction with the creatures.

“It’s about isolating the situation and realizing that every situation is different, you need to look at each basically through a magnifying glass and with an open mind,” S. Parker said.

After high school, Casey plans to continue working for Otter Creek Wildlife Rescue and continue to make a difference in the animal’s lives.

“We are blessed to have caring and committed individuals like Jessie, helping to improve the lives of Vermont’s wildlife, and communicating about her passion with others who then also can become better champions of our feathered and furred wild friends.”