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'Doodle for Wildlife' clinic benefit to auction artwork, vacations

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Illustration by Loretta Swit. Used with permission of the UI College of Veterinary Medicine

Sketches by more than 40 celebrity artists – including Alan Alda and University of Illinois alumnus William Wegman – will be auctioned along with autographed photos, vacation packages and nature-themed artwork at the 10th Annual Doodle for Wildlife.

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1/26/2011 | Sharita Forrest, Education/Social Work Editor | 217-244-1072; slforres@illinois.edu

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Sketches by more than 40 celebrity artists – including Alan Alda and University of Illinois alumnus William Wegman – will be auctioned along with autographed photos, vacation packages and nature-themed artwork at the 10th Annual Doodle for Wildlife.

The event, to be held 6-9 p.m. March 5 at the I-Hotel and Conference Center, benefits the U. of I. Wildlife Medical Clinic.

A not-for-profit organization, the clinic, in the College of Veterinary Medicine, annually provides medical treatment to about 1,500 orphaned, injured and sick animals – including eagles, owls, swans and various other bird species as well as deer, rabbits and other small mammals, turtles and snakes.

“We’re planning activities to make this a great celebration for our guests,” said wildlife veterinarian Julia Whittington, the medical director of the clinic. “We are grateful to the supporters who have helped us provide care to our patients through their generous support of the clinic and hope the community will join us to celebrate our successes while raising life-saving funds during this one night of silent and live auctions.”

At this year’s event, feathered friends from the WMC will perch for photos with guests, and teaching animals from the Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington, Ill., also will be meeting and greeting the public with their handlers. A face painter will be on hand to help donors express their animal magnetism.

Two longtime supporters of the clinic will be honored with Wildlife for Life awards: Tim Warmouth and the Wanda Muntwyler Foundation.

Since Warmouth’s retirement as a building service worker at the U. of I. in 2007, the Champaign resident has become a self-taught oil painter, completing more than 180 canvases. Warmouth donated several of his pieces to Doodle for Wildlife auctions, including this year’s auction.

The Muntwyler foundation supports projects throughout Illinois that prevent animal cruelty, strengthen the human-animal bond and protect endangered species. The foundation, named in honor of the late Wanda Muntwyler, of Oak Park, Ill., also supports veterinary education and research into animal diseases.

Sponsors for this year’s Doodle for Wildlife include Framer’s Market, the I-Hotel and Conference Center, Martin Graphics and Printing, and Sun Singer Wine and Spirits.

 Since the clinic was founded in 1978, thousands of animals have received medical care that gave them second chances at life. Teams of veterinary students and other volunteers, supervised by veterinarians, provide the patients’ medical care, which is funded entirely by donations.

The clinic has five resident raptors, which include Nokomis, a great horned owl; Odin, a red-tailed hawk; and the newest resident, a laughing kookaburra, which is a bird native to Australia and a member of the kingfisher family known for its laughter-like call. Supporters can contribute to a resident’s care by “adopting” a resident for a $75 annual contribution. Donors who adopt the laughing kookaburra also have the opportunity to suggest names for him.

Most of the resident birds are former patients of the WMC whose injuries preclude them from flying, thus from being returned safely to their natural environments. The resident raptors help train veterinary students and travel to schools, museums and wildlife events to teach the public about wildlife and environmental issues.

Admission to the Doodle for Wildlife is $75 before Feb. 26; $85 thereafter. A 10 percent discount is available with the purchase of a block of 10 tickets. Tickets can be reserved online at vetmed.illinois.edu/wmc or by calling 217-333-2761. Donations also are accepted by phone and online.

The I-Hotel and Conference Center is at 1900 S. First St., Champaign.

More information about the clinic, including pictures of its resident raptors and video about a rescued red-tailed hawk, is available online.

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