If you have ever visited an IBO banding station, you are sure to have met the IBO’s longest-running volunteers: Dave and Carol Wike.
Dave, a retired physician, began volunteering in 1996, and Carol joined the team following her 2000 retirement from a career in nursing and nursing education. In fact, when the Wikes became involved, the IBO was the “Boise Ridge Raptor Migration Project” with only one part-time employee, Greg Kaltenecker, who remains as our director. We now have nine full-time biologists, 50 seasonal employees, and more than 200 annual volunteers!
Jay Carlisle, our long-time Research Director, recalls meeting the Wikes when he worked his first season as a hawk watcher on Lucky Peak!
After training with Greg in those early days, Dave trapped raptors for 13 years with Carol as raptor extractor and processor. Together with Gary Robinson, Dave and Carol formed the “Three Amigos” volunteer group for breeding-season (MAPS) songbird banding at Lucky Peak, serving as the main extractors on many busy days of summertime monitoring. If there’s a story to tell about a crazy day on the peak, you’ve likely heard it from the Wikes! They’ve shared in some of IBO’s best adventures and fun times.
Carol and Dave have mentored countless technicians and volunteers at our stations over the years. In fact, on her first day of volunteering at Lucky Peak in 2008, the Wikes provided a young woman a ride up the mountain. Dave led 18-year old Heidi Ware on her first net run and taught her how to extract songbirds. She has been with the IBO since that day and now serves as our Education Director.
The Wikes helped us launch our Hummingbird Monitoring Project in Idaho City by serving as lead trappers, chatting with the public about the research, and training the next generation of volunteer trappers. Carol and Dave were also there for our first monitoring day to kick off research at the new Boise River Banding Station at the Diane Moore Nature Center. When we launched an “IBO Lifetime Membership” in 2011, the Wikes were among the first to join.
If you visit IBO stations today, you will still catch the Wikes traversing the net lanes extracting songbirds during banding days. With countless numbers of volunteer hours logged, time spent mentoring numerous young interns, and the thousands of miles spent driving the road to Lucky Peak or Idaho City, you might think the Wikes would consider their contribution to IBO’s efforts more than complete. You would be wrong!
In 2019, the couple made the decision to personally invest in the vision to establish the Diane Moore Nature Center.
Dave and Carol explained, “We watched the dream for this take place. We have observed the steady growth of the IBO and the number of people who have been so positively impacted. We believe in the leadership of the IBO. This project had to happen and we knew we could make a difference.”
The couple cited many reasons for making a personal investment with a multi-year gift commitment. They have really enjoyed being citizen-scientist volunteers and getting to know university students as they come and go, often continuing similar good works throughout the U.S. and beyond following graduation. The bonding surrounding birds and IBO operations results in multi-generational friendships and respect. The Wikes feel privileged to spend time with young, bright scientists, to educate children, and to handle each and every bird, from hummingbirds to songbirds to Golden Eagles. According to Dave, “Waking at 4:00 on an early morning of banding is easy to do, when we love it this much”!
As Dave and Carol look ahead to the completion of the Diane Moore Nature Center, they see the nature center serving as a beautiful east entrance to the city of Boise. The space will offer people a place to become part of the natural world, to decompress, to learn about and respect the environment. They are excited about the revegetation of open spaces, the impact of the new river side channel, and the ability to continue to attract wildlife such as deer, fox, bobcats, raccoons, and of course, birds.
The couple has been emotionally impacted by watching the expression of “awe” on countless childrens’ faces as they release birds from their hands. Providing this unforgettable opportunity to kids and adults, serving as an ideal research location, preserving the natural environment, and becoming a place for people living in a metropolitan, capital city, to enjoy nature, are all parts of their vision.
The Wike’s gift was meant to kickstart fundraising efforts for the Diane Moore Nature Center, help to leverage a commitment from the City of Boise, and inspire others to follow suit, making the vision for this area become reality!
The saying “it takes just one seed to start a forest” may be true. Thanks to this generous gift commitment from the Wike family, we are able to leverage community support for this project and ensure the success of educational outreach programming at the Diane Moore Nature Center for years to come!
The IBO’s operations are fueled by the generosity of our donors; those who appreciate birds and the many opportunities that the IBO provides.
The Diane Moore Nature Center: IBO on the River is expected to be completed in 2022 and fundraising is ongoing. Gifts of any level are welcome and appreciated.
Permanent naming opportunities at the site are available to those who contribute $5,000 (or more), which is the equivalent of $1,000/year for five years or $84/month for 60 months. The naming of a bench, mistnet lane, or viewing structure, for example, is a wonderful opportunity to leave your legacy in the Treasure Valley, or honor a loved one who is, or was, special to you.