HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — As winter weather continues to approach, many people are preparing their homes for the cold conditions, but humans aren’t the only ones cranking up the heat.
The animals at the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center are getting their habitats ready for the winter weather as well. Staff and volunteers at the center in Monroe County are helping their furry and feathery friends stay warm.
As the coldest months of winter creep around the corner, staff and volunteers at the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center are helping their animals prepare by winterizing their habitats.
This idea came from a volunteer turned manager more than ten years ago.
“In 2009, we had nothing, and I had an idea one day to put plastic over it. It keeps the weather out it keeps them dry,” said Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center Day Shift Manager Sharon Wycoff.
The winterizing project was completely funded by donations. Wycoff says these adjustments help the animals stay comfortable during storms.
“And because they’re dry, they can stay a little warmer, they can regulate their body temperature a little better,” Wycoff explained.
In addition to the plastic covers, they’ve also installed heated igloos and bowls.
The center doesn’t just help wildlife during the winter, staff and volunteers say it’s a commitment that lasts year-round.
“We take in every Pennsylvania wildlife that’s in the state of Pennsylvania, from bear to bobcats to little squirrels to little wrens,” said Susan Downing, co-executive director of the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center.
“We have a lot of residents at our facility. We have all seven species of owls native to Pennsylvania,” said Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center co-executive director Janine Tancredi.
The center got its start in 1980. Downing and Tancredi took over as directors more than a year ago.
They’ve both been working with animals for most of their lives. At the center, they work to give sick or injured animals a second chance.
“So when we get them, we can rehabilitate them, and then put them back to the wild where there’s not a lot of people around and they have a better chance at life,” said Downing.
They say no matter what an animal’s condition is, they work to heal them as best they can.
“Release isn’t always about releasing back to nature sometimes it’s about releasing the soul. So if an animal comes in that’s suffering and can’t be rehabilitated at least it ends its suffering to come here,” said Tancredi.
The center has a meet and greet tour coming up on December 9 and 10 if you want to check out some of the animals you saw in our story.
The center says they are also open to volunteers.