GALLERY: A lifetime of learning and caring with WIRES
WHEN Barbara Brownlow was a child, she would bring all the stray dogs she could find home to take care of them.
"I used to tell my mother I was going to have a home for stray dogs," she said.
But when she grew up, Mrs Brownlow started bringing home native animals instead.
In 1990, Mrs Brownlow saved a noisy minor she thought had been abandoned in the rain at her farm in Alstonville.
Not knowing how to properly care for the bird she named Mini, Mrs Brownlow waited too long to release the bird and used the wrong feed which led to the death of Mini.
Determined to know what to do in the future, Mrs Brownlow sat wide-eyed in the WIRES Beginners Course in 1990 and joined Clarence Valley WIRES.
"They made me a branch life member about 15 years later... I was treasurer and carer," she said.
Mrs Brownlow said you can learn a lot about animals if you watch them in their natural habitat.
"You can learn so much about how to raise them successfully," she said.
"With that little minor bird and others we didn't know (what to do) at the time, we went to National Parks and they didn't know.
"We've learnt that if you put them out when they are babies others will come out and feed it, if you release it as an adult, they will attack it."
Finding ways to teach the skills the animals need to survive was one of the more interesting jobs Mrs Brownlow had as a carer, especially when it came to a tawny frogmouth owl she cared for.
"I used to run around the shade house in the other place with a dead mouse on a string to teach him how to hunt," she said.
"He or she was very successful, it came back on my birthday one year."
Now living in Ashby, the life-long member is working as the organisation's treasurer while she deals with a few health issues.
The Clarence Valley WIRES have moved to the automated phone system on 1 3000 94737, or 1 3000 WIRES.