Today we’re excited to introduce you to Lindsey McNeny. Lindsey is President and Co-Founder of Window to the Wild and is also a content partner. Content partners help Voyage in so many ways from spreading the word about the work that we do, sponsoring our mission and collaborating with us on content like this. Check out our conversation with Lindsey below.
Lindsey, thank you so much for the incredibly important work you and your organization do. For our readers who might not be familiar with your work yet, can you please briefly introduce yourself?
My name is Lindsey McNeny and I am the President and Co-Founder of Window to the Wild, a non-profit organization the works with local animal rehabilitation centers and zoos to take in animals that either cannot be released into the wild due to injuries or human imprinting and we provide educational programs all over the DFW area. I have been in the professional animal training industry for the last 17 years and have worked for some of the top companies in the U.S. putting on educational bird shows around the nation, including: San Diego Zoo, Toledo, Dallas, Philadelphia, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Beardsley Zoo and the State Fair of Texas. I’ve had so many incredible opportunities to work with many species of animals but still have the deepest love for birds and that is why my husband and I started our own company. We now have 52 animals from Hawks to Owls, Parrots, and more. We provide our educational programs to schools, museums, Audubon Centers, and other educational facilities all around the DFW area. My husband and I play every role that runs our non-profit organization from marketing, maintenance, development, and more.
With this pandemic we are undergoing how is your non-profit staying relevant and continuing to keep your doors open?
Before the pandemic hit most of the funding we brought in to run our non-profit and most importantly feed our animals was through our educational programing at schools and other educational facilities. Since March all our off-site programming has been canceled and we have had to find ways to bring in donations and funding in other ways. We have added Zoom Bird Meet-n-greets where guests get to meet a few of our birds online. We also offer a program called Date-my-bird, a fun little play on all the many dating sites out there but with birds. With this program guests get to choose which bird they want to meet through Zoom, they also get an art print of this bird that was done by a local artist, and a photograph accompanying a fact sheet about the species and specific bird.
Why should people visit your facility and what makes the experience you offer different from other experiences?
We offer a few fun, educational and unique experiences at our facility in Caddo Mills. From a program we call “Trainer for a day” where guests get the opportunity to learn what it takes to train birds right alongside us, such as flying a Hawk to the glove or a crow to the hand and much more. We also offer private tours of our facility and homeschool group tours where you will get to see some of our birds do what they do best, fly!
Why did you choose to start a non-profit and what are you passionate about?
We chose to start a non-profit because we are so passionate about saving and being a voice for wildlife and we wanted to be able to give back to other animal organizations doing great things for wildlife and the planet.
Why is the work that you do so important and what can people do in their daily lives to help?
I believe that the work we do is so important because so many people become more and more disconnected from the world around them because they work too much and are too busy. So they no longer notice that more and more trees are being cut down, grassy areas where animals once lived are being plowed down for more homes and shopping strips. Animals are losing their homes and when people don’t have the opportunity to see animals and experience just how cool, smart and important they are people don’t care about helping to save and keep them around.
Our goal through education is to give our audience an opportunity to see just how magnificent these animals are, how they each have their own personality, and then talk to people about what they can do to help save them and our planet. All it takes is simple things like recycling, reducing our waste, single use items, water usage, reusing everything we can. And also things like no longer using rodent poison because it doesn’t just kill the rat, it kills an Owl that flies down to catch it while it’s dying, then that Owl dies and a fox comes along and eats it-it’s a vicious cycle that needs to be stopped. If more people can learn what each animals role in nature is, they may have more of an appreciation for wildlife and that is our goal.
Finally, please let us know how our readers can connect with you and learn more.
Your readers can connect with us through our website at windowtothewild.org, through our Facebook page at Window2wild or through our Instagram page at Window_to_the_wild. We also have a TripAdvisor page and YouTube channel. Or you can come see us in person with one of our Trainer-for-a-day programs or at one of our upcoming events at the Dallas Arboretum and more. We look forward to sharing our birds and the work we do with more people and thank you for this opportunity.