WASHINGTON BORO (WHTM) — For the people at Raven Ridge Wildlife Center, every year seems to get a little busier.

“We are covering 17 counties, as far as birds of prey, so we have them coming 2,3,4 counties away. So we have been very, very busy,” says Tracie Young, Raven Ridge’s wildlife rehabilitator.

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There is usually a mad rush of baby animals in the spring and a steady stream of injured creatures throughout the summer. Things start slowing down – just a little – as winter arrives. Most of the animals that came into Raven Ridge this year have been rehabilitated and released. Lots of cages are empty. But that doesn’t mean the volunteers can kick back and relax.

“This is our time when we’re able to start working on the center,” says Tracie, “cleaning things, restocking things, what needs taken care of, so we’re still busy.”

High on the to-do list right now, getting ready for their biggest annual fundraiser-Lancaster County’s Extraordinary Give.

“And it’s always two weeks of busy busy busy, we want to be sure we have enough merchandise, for the crafts that we’re going to do, so the volunteers, including me, we take inventory of what we have, what we need,

Money raised at the Extraordinary Give last year paid for a lot of improvements this year, both outside and inside. Tracie showed us what was once a muddy space outside the building

“We were able to also use our Extraordinary Give money, and we poured a cement slab here. That way it gets the cages and equipment off of the ground, and it keeps it drier, and the water away from the center.”

Downstairs, they now have- a downstairs. Their unfinished, dirt-floored basement got a makeover.

“We’ve been able to finish the basement, run new electric, run our water heater downstairs, we’ve been able to purchase another upright freezer, we now have a bathroom, which is very important, but we now also have a hookup for a washer and drier,” explained Tracie. “We have cages which we brought down here, now with this extra space, we’ll be able to bring additional cages down when we need to, so if there are any high-stressed animals or an animal that needs to be quarantined, we have the opportunity to do that also.

How much gets done next year depends on how much they get in donations this year. Some older cages are slated for replacement but at the top of the wish list are the washer and drier.

“We do a lot of laundry during the year, especially during baby season,” says Tracie. “A lot of these babies need soft material, hiding huts, something like that, so we need to wash all those blankets and towels. And we use a lot of hot water, we use a lot of bleach, so the next animal it’s all clean for them. But we do a lot of laundries. We did receive a grant for the washer, but we’re not quite there yet, and we still need a drier.”

So, how do they do the washing now?

“Laundromat. Which is very expensive. Volunteers that have to be away from the center, lugging laundry, lugging bleach, laundry soap, It’s a lot of work. So it’s going to be easier for us to be able to just do the laundry down here.”

In addition to all the fundraising goodies, Raven Ridge will bring along some of their animal ambassadors, such as Dottie the opossum, Pharaoh the owl, and Barron Von Vulture. And making his debut, Meret the broad-shouldered hawk. Tracie says he was brought to the center in September, in very bad shape.

“He may have been hit by a car, and had a significant amount of damage on the right side of the face, to the point where he lost his eye. Our veterinarians cleaned up the eye, and got it all sewn up, he’s non-releasable because he needs both eyes for hunting, but he is a great ambassador. He’s a very good personality, he has a very calm demeanor, he’s a smaller hawk, one of Pennsylvania’s smaller hawks, so he’s less intimidating for our volunteers who are learning to work with birds of prey.”

We’re going to take him to the extraordinary give, that will be his first public appearance, we’ll see how he does. I think he’ll do ok.”

Raven Ridge and several other organizations will be at the East Petersburg Civic Center, 6030 Lemon Street East Petersburg, PA 17520, on Friday, November 18.