Diana Hill is a staff auditor in the Division of Institutional Integrity on campus, but, she also is a dedicated volunteer with the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue.
Hill primarily works with the organization’s Baby Songbird program, where she and other volunteers take three hour shifts to continuously feed baby birds. She said that hundreds of orphaned or injured birds are brought to the rescue during the spring and summer months. Hill is a registered capture and transport volunteer, bringing injured birds, waterfowl and wildlife to the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue for rehabilitation.
“To see birds that you have helped to feed and taught to fend for themselves released warms your heart,” said Hill. “It's a feeling like no other to know that instead of perishing, you had a hand in the survival of those beautiful songbirds singing in trees. My favorite part is to know that an animal lived rather than died, and I played a small part in the process.”
Where did your passion for animal care and rescue come from?
I grew up in West Virginia, in the country. My dad taught high school biology, and in pursuing his education, his emphasis was on wildlife. We grew up with the love and appreciation for all living things instilled in us and we grew up having anything and everything imaginable as pets. And, living in the country, and not having a resource like Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, injured animals and wildlife were a pretty common occurrence. My dad taught us how to care for orphaned and injured wildlife, and prepare them for release, back into the wild where they were intended to be.
What have you learned about yourself through volunteering?
I have found out that I am stronger than I would have ever imagined, and I am determined, stubborn, and I don't give up. In the rescue world, you see some pretty bad things. We see first-hand the effects of cruelty, and in some cases, neglect of animals. It can really get to you, and sometimes you think you just can't see it anymore. But that love and respect for life and the animals kicks in. They are helpless, they don't have a voice. When they get into a vulnerable situation, either injured or orphaned, they are dependent on humans.
What advice do you have for fellow Niners who are thinking about becoming volunteers?
Find your passion and go for it. It is the most satisfying feeling you will ever experience. It gives you a feeling of peace to know that you can make a difference in the world. No contribution is too small. You can help change the world, and make it a better place, one person at a time. Be that person.
Full-time UNC Charlotte employees receive 24 hours of paid community service leave each year. The State of North Carolina and the University encourage faculty and staff to use this time to volunteer for schools, communities, North Carolina institutions of higher education and state agencies and recognized not-for-profit organizations. Learn more about this benefit.