Malerie Muratori is the January 2016 North Colonie Kids Care feature
For three years Shaker High School student Malerie Muratori has volunteered every week to rehabilitating wildlife. She arrived at Whispering Willow Wildcare in Schenectady when there was a shortage of volunteers, and quickly became an integral part of the organization.
“When I signed up for this, I expected to be cleaning owl cages and sweeping the floors,” said Muratori. “But after a little while, I was learning falconry.”
“Wildlife rehabilitation is hard, messy, and often heart-breaking work which few people have the training and dedication to tackle,” added Lauren Palmateer, the Shaker High School teacher who nominated Muratori for the North Colonie Kids Care recognition. “I am very impressed with Malerie’s decision to turn it into a years-long volunteer project.”
Muratori spends time every week at Whispering Willow Wildcare, healing and caring for local injured wildlife. She says her dedication comes naturally.
“I’ve always loved animals and I’ve always been passionate about rescuing them.”
Muratori says the process begins when Whispering Willow Wildcare receives a call from a wildlife hotline that people use if they find an injured animal. From there, the animals are taken in, taken to the vet, and then nurtured back to health by Muratori and other volunteers. Muratori says if the animals cannot survive on their own in the wild, they are used for educational programs.
“It’s becoming quite the task,” she said. “We keep getting more and more rescues.”
“I call Malerie my “bird whisperer” because she has the unique ability to sense what a bird is feeling,” added Whispering Willow Wildcare executive director, Joyce Perry. “She has learned to handle the owls and hawks and assists with education presentations with confidence.”
In addition to numerous owls and hawks, Muratori says she has helped to rescue and rehabilitate a variety of other animals, including a porcupine, coyote, and a litter of baby skunks. The animals are often released in Five Rivers Environmental Education Center in Delmar, N.Y. or at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge in Lake Placid.
Muratori says Whispering Willow Wildcare has a higher than average release rate compared to other wildlife rehabilitation organizations, and is solely funded through money received from educational programs.
Joyce Perry calls Muratori a dedicated volunteer who gives generously of her time.
“It’s been amazing,” said Muratori. “I’ve been on so many rescues and so many adventures.”