After seeing the horrible images from the BP Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Noeleen Stewart and her husband jumped on a plane to help the damaged birds in need. Noeleen is a life-long animal lover, and has even brought several injured wild animals to PAWS, but the oil spill was the jump-start she needed to begin volunteering in animal welfare.
“Witnessing the devastation and suffering of the wildlife while I was in the Gulf made me decide that as soon as I returned home I would sign up to volunteer at PAWS. And I did.”
Photo: Noeleen and a baby opossom at PAWS.
Now, Noeleen volunteers as a Wildlife Care Assistant and helps care for the wild animals that are rehabilitating at PAWS. Sometimes Noeleen even gets to accompany the PAWS staff for wildlife releases, one of the many perks of volunteering at PAWS.
At a Bald Eagle release, Noeleen was prepared for the beautiful bird to hop right out of his carrier and quickly fly away. “But after about 10-15 minutes, the Eagle did not want to come out!” Naturalist Kevin Mack, Wildlife Rehabilitator Dondi Byrne, and Noeleen encouraged the bird to leave, but he just would not fly away. At a loss for what to do, the team got creative.
“Kevin asked Dondi to distract the eagle. Her only thought of distraction was to walk around flapping her arms like a bird. Well, the eagle took one look at her and made a dash for it. All I could think of was what she must have looked like to the bird. It was my funniest moment at PAWS.”
Volunteering at PAWS not only gives Noeleen the opportunity to help wildlife, but also the chance to work with likeminded people.
“Everyone at PAWS has an absolute passion for helping these injured and orphaned animals,” she says. “Being a volunteer has shown me that there are really good, empathic people out there that really do help animals.”
“Noeleen is just a pleasure to work with,” says PAWS Wildlife Volunteer Manager Frances Boyens. “She’s always up for more!”
Thank you, Noeleen, for your passion and dedication to the animals at PAWS. Your hard work and great attitude really do make a difference.