USA Online Poll
USA Welcomes Wildlife Warriors - Rehabilitate wildlife at farm
Merriam-Webster defines conservation as "a careful preservation and protection of something; especially: planned management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction or neglect." If there was a picture next to this definition, it would surely be of Gary and Dianne Andis.
Gary, who recently joined the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, works in the research and development of education with the Sheet Metal Workers International Association while his wife, Dianne, runs the family farm in Virginia, raising cattle, horses and sheep. While contrasting sharply in occupations, they present a united front in the preservation of our nation’s wildlife.
Although the entire Andis clan is involved in the rehabilitation center, Gary spends as much as 280 days per year traveling, and their two sons, Mark (18) and Tony (20), are full-time students. So it’s Dianne who selflessly provides that consistent servant’s heart for orphaned, injured or "kidnapped" wildlife. Dianne uses the term kidnapped for those animals that have been left in protective areas by their mothers and are picked up by concerned citizens who believe the animals have been abandoned.
"I have an ingrained love for all wildlife, and no one was doing what I knew needed to be done, so I took it upon myself to do it," Diane said. This commitment has become her life’s creed and fuels her desire to continue conservation efforts for generations of Andis’ to come.
Dianne spends every waking moment caring for others, beginning with her family, moving on to her livestock, and eventually ending at the family barn, where she is currently rehabilitating 11 whitetail fawns. Her days begin well before daylight and continue well into the night, seven days a week.
As hunters and anglers, we like to think we follow in the glorious footsteps of conservation’s consummate pioneer, Theodore Roosevelt. Yet where the rubber hits the road, most of us consistently fall short. In discussing Dianne’s work with her, I quickly realized that she, Gary and their two sons are not only a shining beacon for rehabilitation, they truly are the backbone of the fundamental conservation ideology that President Roosevelt himself so valued.
While Smith Creek Wildlife Center currently is hosting a barn full of whitetail fawns, they still accept all other big game animals, birds and raptors. Dianne does have her limits though. She will not harbor skunks!
Gary and Dianne are doers in every sense of the word. They saw a need and took action. Conservation seldom has better ambassadors. Theodore Roosevelt would be proud.