Yrma van der Steenstraeten, event coordinator for the Second Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, releases a Golden eagle at Dead Horse Point State Park on March 9. The eagle had been injured and brought to the center for care. After going through rehab, the eagle was successfully released back into the wild. [Photo courtesy of Second Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation Center]

Four years ago, a dying Golden eagle was brought to Debbie Pappas for help. The eagle was sick and tested positive for West Nile Virus. Pappas, medical technician and executive director of the Second Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (SCWRC), did everything she could to nurse the bird back to health.

“We gave her supportive care and tended to her daily needs, and when the time was right, taught her what her food sources were and made sure she could kill, then we released her,” Pappas said.

Only a few months ago the same Golden eagle was brought back to Pappas because it was hit by a vehicle and went through the windshield.

It’s animals like these that Pappas works with everyday.

On Saturday, June 7, the SCWRC will be hosting its second “Flock Together” fundraiser. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Youth Garden Project, 530 S. 400 East, there will be information booths about local animals and kids’ activities such as costume-making and face painting. Paradox Elementary School and Grand County Middle School will show art exhibits and Pappas will give a presentation with one of her rescued animals.

From 6 to 9 p.m., there will be a silent auction and live music by Phil Dirt at Eddie McStiff’s.

Yrma van der Steentraeten, event coordinator for the SCWRC, said it will be “a fun event for the whole family.”

Streentraeten said the center was “just getting by last year” and it still needed help paying some bills from the year before. That is when the SCWRC decided to do its first “Flock Together” fundraiser.

The SCWRC is also focused on raising awareness for its cause.

“My hopes are educating the public about wildlife rehabilitation and what it is and what it isn’t,” Pappas said. “Also, to obviously raise funds to help us with the great expenses we have on a daily basis.”

The funds raised will go toward food for the animals, vet bills which include x-rays, surgeries, and medication, and materials and maintenance of the facility and its vehicles.

Pappas began rehabilitating wildlife 20 years ago and got her own permits to start the SCWRC in 2001. The center is located in Price and treats all kinds of birds, including water birds, hummingbirds and raptors. The center also treats bats and occasionally reptiles. The center sees an average success rate between 55 percent and 70 percent, which Pappas said is “phenomenal.”

“Realizing that wildlife everywhere were at risk everyday, simply due to their circumstances, I needed to be part of the solution,” Pappas said.

Pappas recognized the Golden eagle that had come back to them. They identified her by the band they had placed on her before her initial release. They took the eagle in again and provided her with months of rehab. Only a few months ago she was re-released at Dead Horse Point.

“The toss, was breathtaking,” Pappas said. “Her story reminds me, and all of us, why we do this.”

“Realizing that wildlife everywhere were at risk everyday, simply due to their circumstances, I needed to be part of the solution.”

What: SCWRC “Flock Together” fundraiser

When: Saturday, June 7, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where: Youth Garden Project, 530 S. 400 East; silent auction and live music at Eddie McStiff’s, 59 S. Main St., from 6 to 9 p.m. Live music with Phil Dirt

“Flock Together” fundraiser to help rehab center give injured animals a second chance