For many, an encounter with a Schlitz Audubon Animal Ambassador is an unforgettable experience. With the help of our animals, visitors learn firsthand about conservation and ecology, while creating connections that can last a lifetime. Because they are a vital component to our mission, this last year we updated our Animal Ambassador Care Room to give them the best lives we can provide.
Our Growing Team of Animal Ambassadors
Over the years, our Animal Ambassador Program has grown to more than 50 animals who reside permanently at Schlitz Audubon. Last year, Atlas, a Red-shouldered Hawk, joined 14 other birds of prey in our Raptor Program. The ambassador team also includes a number of herptiles: snakes, salamanders, turtles and more; as well as mammals, such as the flying squirrel Amelia.
As the ambassador team has grown, so has our need for supplies. Over the years, in addition to those we purchased, local businesses and community members donated aquariums, heaters, filters, and other equipment. For decades this served us well. But this year, thanks to generous donors, Schlitz Audubon was able to provide new animal habitats and convert an unused locker space to a state-of-the-art Animal Ambassador Care Room to house the Center’s herptiles.
A New Animal Ambassador Care Room
The new room provides much more space for the animals and the volunteers who care for them. Upgraded housing for every ambassador includes larger tanks, new UV and heat lamps, and heating pads. New electrical support and wall-anchored shelves provide security for each ambassador’s habitat.
With this larger care room, we have the ability to add animals as needed. In the past year alone, Nya (Speckled King Snake), Cordelia, (Rose Hair tarantula), Eddie Lacy (endangered Ornate Box Turtle) and others joined the Animal Ambassador team.
As a group, the Animal Ambassadors are busy. They visit with school children, accompany educators on outreach events, and meet people in the Great Hall of our Visitor Center. We estimate that they reach 35,000 individuals in a given year! These animals have big jobs, and they earn their rest.
Thanks to the help of our donor community, they now have the best accommodations possible for those moments when they’re away from the public eye.