Fundraising/Advocacy Efforts Earn Shrodes 2016 Ultimate Ambassador for Wildlife Title
Nearly 150 patrons in bowties, blue jeans, ball gowns, and boots, embraced their wild side and spent a “Night With the Wild,” a charity event to benefit the nonprofit Susquehannock Wildlife Society, on June 17 at Deer Creek Overlook. The gala, the first held by the Harford County-based non-profit conservation/education/rescue-rehabilitation organization, was aimed at raising awareness and funding for the creation of the region’s first dedicated wildlife center.
Highlights from the evening included awarding the 2016 Ultimate Ambassador for Wildlife trophy to Chad Shrodes for his fundraising and advocacy efforts; a spirited auction of donated items – including Susquehannock Wildlife Society-led environmental education hikes; and a meet-and-greet with some feathered, furry, and scaled special guests.
Gala patrons enjoyed an evening of wildlife-themed food, a specialty drink station (including “The Copperhead” – lime juice, ginger beer, and signature vodka), animal-inspired music (“Wild Thing” by The Troggs, “Fly Like an Eagle” by Steve Miller Band, etc) , and natural décor.
In an adjacent room, away from the dancing, gambling, and merriment, volunteers from Susquehannock Wildlife Society, introduced gala patrons to the real stars of the evening – a Great Horned Owl, Barn Owl, Red-Tailed Hawk, Virginia Opossum, Wood Turtle, and Eastern Rat Snake. Each of these critters had been injured, orphaned, or otherwise deemed unsuitable for release back into the wild. Instead, these animals were given a second chance in a new and more domesticated role as educational ambassadors – teaching the public about their species, habitat, and the environmental concerns that threaten them.
For his top fundraising and advocacy efforts as a participant in ‘The Wild Bunch’ competition, Chad Shrodes, a Harford County Councilman representing the northern portion of the county, was named 2016 Ultimate Ambassador for Wildlife and awarded a soaring eagle trophy.
“The Susquehannock Wildlife Center will be a tremendous addition to the strong conservation and preservation community in Harford County. They have an outstanding and passionate team, and I am proud to have had the opportunity to support their efforts as part of The Wild Bunch,” Shrodes said.
All proceeds from the gala go toward the costs of renovating and constructing the wildlife center – creating a place where visitors will be educated and entertained by museum-quality displays, hands-on activities, and live-animal education ambassadors. Having a permanent facility will also allow Susquehannock Wildlife Society to expand its already active and successful wildlife rescue and rehabilitation efforts. The facility, currently under renovation, is located on the 20-acre Hopkins Branch Wildlife Management Area property in Darlington.
Scott McDaniel, President of the Susquehannock Wildlife Society, noted that, “The ‘Night With the Wild’ would not have been possible without our dedicated volunteers, silent auction donors, support from the community, the assistance of Sonipak Design and Marketing, and the support of our sponsors, which included Harford County Government, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Weyerbacher, Wilson’s Farm Market, LaGrange Farm, Laughing Mantis Studio, Harford’s Heart Magazine, Stem Graphics Print Shop, Ronnie’s Beverage Warehouse, River Breeze Services, Ecotone, Inc., Mid-Atlantic Turtle and Tortoise Society, TapSnap, Clear Elite Photography, On Point Entertainment with Jeff Davis, Events Catering, Harford County Living and Jesse Bane. Their support, along with everyone attending the gala, is making development of a dedicated wildlife center possible.”
For more information about this event or other local wildlife issues, or if you’re looking to donate or volunteer, please contact the Susquehannock Wildlife Society via their wildlife hotline at 443-333-WILD (-9453), by email at [email protected], or visit their web site at http://www.suskywildlife.org.