Hands on Exotics
Hands on Exotics is an animal shelter based out of Toronto, Ontario which specializes in the care of exotic animals. The histories of their animals are varied but the vast majority of them started out as pets living in private homes until their owners could no longer take care of them and asked HOE to take them in. Others were seized by the SPCA or animal services from homes or other places that were not keeping them well or not keeping them legally.
Hands on Exotics offers a wide range of outreach programs. The pet therapy program at Hands on Exotics currently visits nearly 300 nursing homes, retirement homes, autism groups, blind-and-deaf groups, and other special needs groups annually! Educational programs are also available for schools, community centres, childcare organizations, libraries, and private events like birthday parties, fairs, and festivals.
Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory - Cabot Head Research Station
The Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory is a non-profit organization dedicated to the birds of the Bruce Peninsula. Their goal is to promote and foster the study, appreciation and conservation of birds and their habitats on the Bruce Peninsula. They are actively involved in monitoring, research and education projects.
Bird Banding on the Bruce Peninsula just can't be beat. The ridiculously early hour becomes bearable when you hear the birds sing. Seeing so many song birds up close and personal during the netting and banding process really opens your eyes to how important these creatures are to our environment and how important it is to protect their migratory routes.
Mountsberg Raptor Centre - Conservation Halton
It is no surprise that my love of Birds of Prey led me to Mountsberg Raptor Centre. Mountsberg Raptor Centre provides a long term home for Birds of Prey native to Ontario that are un-releasable. Many of the birds at Mountsberg have injuries including wing, beak and eye injuries that prevent them from being able to survive on their own in the wild. Despite their impairments these birds become ambassadors for their species helping to educate the public. Volunteering at Mountsberg has been an amazing experience and I still learn something new every time I go.
From Offsite Programs to Owl Prowls you are having so much fun that you barely notice the large amounts of bird poop you clean.
Wildlife Preservation Canada - Eastern Loggerhead Shrike Recovery Project
Program Partner - Conservation Halton - Mountsberg Conservation Area
The Eastern Loggerhead Shrike is a songbird that is Critically Endangered in Canada. This program aims to captively breed these birds and introduce the young to the wild. Mountsberg Conservation Area has had wonderfully successful results. Otherwise known as the "Butcher Bird" the Eastern Loggerhead Shrike impales it's prey on hawthorne and barbed wired effectively saving it's snack for later. If you are out wandering and happen to see a mouse or an insect speared onto thorns you might be in a Shrikes territory. I am so proud to have aided in the care and observation of these amazing birds.
Mandi Miles is a Nature, Landscape & Wildlife Photographer based out of Mississauga, ON
The Owl Foundation
The more I hear about this place the more impressed I become. I have had hands on experience with some of their volunteers and staff and I was incredibly impressed.
Several years ago an Eastern Screech Owl dived out of it's tree after a tasty rodent on the roadside. What the Owl didn't see coming was my car. The Owl struck my car with a suddenness and intensity that immediately had me concerned for whatever animal it could have been. I had an impression of a small body and wings but it happened so fast that I didn't see what it was. I pulled over safely and went back only to find an Eastern Screech Owl on the side of the road. It was apparent that it's eye was injured from the crash.
After fetching a towel, some gloves and box from my car I loaded up the owl and set out to find him some help. My friend and fellow Photographer Serena Livingston found the Owl Foundation on the web. They initiated a chain of Volunteers that handed off the little owl from Owen Sound to Niagara at the Centre. The little owl recuperated under their capable care and was released back into the woods from where he came.
Though I have not had the opportunity to volunteer or be involved in some of the following Organizations they are definetly worthy of peoples time and interest. Please have a look through and see if any spark your interest.
Toronto Wildlife Centre
Toronto Wildlife Centre runs a Wildlife Hospital, Rehabilitation and Rescue Program.
Helping rehabilitate injured wild animals to return to the wild is such a rewarding experience. I have come in contact with some of the coolest animals around through my time at TWC. Carrying a Mute Swan with an injured wing to it's daily swim in the pool for exercise or hand feeding orphaned baby animals makes it easy to volunteer.
Mandi has volunteered with many organizations mostly animal, bird and conservation related. She enjoys giving back to nature and helping sick or injured animals.
Volunteering has found her in some strange and wonderful places and she has met some amazing creatures along the way. Playing with a baby Capybara, rough housing with an African Crested Porcupine and cuddling Kangaroos are all in a days work.
St. John Ambulance - Therapy Dog Program
St. John Ambulance’s Therapy Dog Program takes a volunteer and their dog into hospitals, seniors' residences or nursing homes on a weekly basis. Through petting, affection, and regular visitation, many people benefit both physically and emotionally from the unconditional love of a dog. Watching a previously unresponsive resident reach out a shaking hand to pet the irrisistable curls of my Standard Poodle just makes my heart glow for the power of an animals ability to impact peoples lives so deeply.
Based out of Mississauga ON, Mandi Miles is an Award Winning Professional Photographer with a love of everything outdoors. She has a profound interest in birds, animals and the beauty of Nature. Mandi is actively involved in Wildlife Conservation and Rehabilitation, volunteering her time to these efforts. Mandi has a passion for birds and can be found bird watching/birding at any opportunity. She follows Spring and Fall Migrations as well as volunteers with Bird Banding efforts in Ontario. She has a special love for Birds of Prey and has volunteered at several different organizations involving these creatures. She will continue on her journey to learn more about these animals.
Mandi has had a life long interest in Art and expression. When asked what she wanted to be when she grew up "I want to be an Artist" was the standard answer. She found her outlet through Photography. She strives to represent her love of nature through her work.
Her Photos have been used in: Books, Magazines, Brochures, Flyers, Websites and more. She has had several gallery showings of her work and is represented by some of the larger Stock Photo agencies on the Web.
When she isn't searching for stunning Landscapes or following the Birds Mandi is also a sought after Portrait and Wedding Photographer. Bringing her love of the outdoors to her portrait work, she delivers beautiful photos, typically set in the beauty of Nature, though she also works with Flash and other lighting accessories to create those magical moments.
Mandi's unique approach to Wedding Photography has earned her much recognition and a featured spot on Bride Canada for her Evening Silhouette work.
"I am so happy to be able to turn my passion and love for photography into a business that brings joy and happiness to others. I aim to communicate the magic and beauty of the natural world and to help others to stop and "see" the world around them. Photography has become the great love of my life. Photos are a form of time travel for me. Being able to freeze that one moment in time is such a precious gift. Just seeing a photo can remind you of happy times and feelings or make you ask questions about what you are seeing. If I can reach just a few people through my lens then I will have made a difference. I have lived in Ontario all my life, and couldn't imagine a more diverse and beautiful place to call home. There is still so much more to this beautiful Province and I hope to continue in my travels, camera in hand. I love photography and it has become a part of me. I hope that my photos speak for themselves and that I will see you soon through the lens of my camera.
Central Ontario School of Falconry
The Central Ontario School of Falconry is owned and operated by Master Falconer Matt Lieberknecht and Laurie Schutt. The school strives to keep the sport of Falconry exciting and fulfiling for the birds and their owners. Their goal is to teach respect, proper handling and care for the birds of prey. They also run a successful breeding program offering birds for sale and export as well as offering boarding services for falconers without the proper environment for their birds.
After watching Matt interact with his birds, there is a sense of connection betweeen them, he is truly an artist and Master in the Art of Falconry.
...miles away from the ordinary...