Geldart established the student society in 2015 which currently has about 148 students volunteering for the non-profit wildlife rehabilitation centre – and is growing!
“Animals, specifically wildlife, have always been a passion of mine,” says Geldart. “I kept my eyes peeled for a student group that dealt with wildlife but had no luck finding it amongst groups at MtA.”
So, she made her own group using local connections. Working with AWI and fellow students Emily Hubley (’18), Mary Austin (’19), and Allison Harris (’17), Geldart began the volunteer group, gaining official club status from the Mount Allison Students’ Union in 2016.
The Atlantic Wildlife Institute is dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife that has been displaced as a result of human encroachment on natural ecosystems.
Student and community volunteers assist with many tasks at the AWI including hand-feeding young orphaned wildlife, cleaning out cages, preparing meals and water, building enclosures when needed, and releasing animals back into the wild. Geldart, who is originally from Moncton says she chose Mount Allison because of its size and community.
“My brother went here and told me how he made strong connections with his professors. They were for him and are for me amazing supervisors and they have really helped guide me throughout my studies,” she says. “I also heard that Mount Allison conducts rigorous research, which I figured would be a very good experience for me.
”Along with being involved with the Animal Care Committee, vet clinic, and as a teacher’s assistant, Geldart is also conducting an honours thesis with biology professor Dr. Diana Hamilton and spent this past summer working in the lab and in the field. “I am investigating the movement patterns of Semipalmated Sandpipers and Semipalmated Plovers within Eastern New Brunswick,” Geldart explains. “Results of my current research will provide new information on the use of coastal sites by shorebirds. I collected most of my data this summer with the help of the Undergraduate Summer Research Grant on the Acadian Peninsula.”