Volunteer Spotlight: Sally Cheung

We asked Sally some questions about her time with Wild Ontario. Here's what she said:

1. Why did you decide to volunteer for Wild Ontario?

During my first year, I was walking to class and saw a student standing beside the cannon holding Einstein, the Great Horned Owl: the weirdest yet coolest sight for a floating first year student, who always had a love for raptors. So when I learned more about this volunteer opportunity, I immediately knew I had to apply.

2. When did you join the program?

I joined the program in my second year at the university, in 2015.

3. What have you learned/how have you grown through this experience?

After almost four years of sitting through never-ending lectures and writing stressful exams, I have learned and grown the most in my university career through volunteering with this program. Not only has it allowed me to improve as an animal trainer and educator, but has also taught me to be a better human being and a better steward to our environment.  The incredible team of volunteers, staff, and birds I have the pleasure of working with continually inspire me. Through this experience, I have learned and am reassured that I want to spend my life teaching others about nature and inspiring the public to make positive impacts on the environment.

4. How would you describe the bird(s) you work with?

I currently work with Indiana, our male Red-tailed Hawk. He is quite the good-looking bird and, at first, always seems to be frowning upon something, but those who have worked with him know that the stone cold glare is all for show. Indy is secretly a big scaredy-cat (scaredy-bird?) with some trust issues, startled by anything from new handlers to sudden sneezes. He is also known to be a bit of a heartbreaker, allowing you to think your trust building is making progress, yet when you need him most for programs he will not give you the time of day. However, when Indy does cooperate, he is wonderful to work with at programs, standing hours on end educating the public and winning over their hearts.

5. What’s up next for you?

I honestly do not have an answer to this question. I’ll be stuck in school until the end of 2018, and after that I hope to continue educating others about nature and conservation with whatever opportunities come my way!

6. What others say about Sally:

"Sally is small but mighty! She's a hard-working, quiet leader who builds people up without taking the spotlight."

"Sally is a joy to work with - positive and upbeat, hardworking and dedicated, and quiet but with a strong voice. She is awesome with the birds, and does an amazing job teaching people of all ages!"

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