We had the good fortune of connecting with Tallon Nightwalker and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tallon, how does your business help the community?
Northern Colorado Wildlife Center aims to help all wildlife and people within our community. We do this through providing advanced wildlife education classes at no-charge to community members of all ages and we also provide wildlife rescue services to wild animals that have become sick, injured, or orphaned. This could be using water craft to go out on lakes to capture pelicans or herons tangled up in fishing line, or using specialized cameras and rescue knowledge to get birds out of walls and chimneys.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Being the director of Northern Colorado Wildlife Center has not always been easy. I am the youngest director of a wildlife nonprofit in Colorado and often have to break age stigmas as a result. However, being in this position while I am so young has allowed me to fully take advantage of my passion and energy and we have been able to bring some amazing services to our community. For example, we are the only nonprofit organization in Colorado that will provide no-charge, advanced wildlife rescue services to all types of wildlife. We have also been able to overlap wildlife and human medicine more than any other wildlife nonprofit in Colorado. For example, my team admitted a western box turtle in 2021 that had been hit by a car in Denver, Colorado. This turtle had suffered serious shell injuries and required emergency shell reconstruction surgery. Our volunteer veterinarian was able to use zip ties and epoxy to reconstruct the shell and we even put in a gastrointestinal tube into the turtle’s stomach to allow us to easily deliver a specialized food slurry to the turtle. We also provided advanced pain medication and antibiotics so that the turtle could be saved and released back into the wild for a second chance at life. We have found that nearly 90% of the injured wild animals we admit are injured because of human activities so I am so happy that myself and my team can be there for animals when they need us and that we can be part of the solution rather than the problem.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If I had a best friend visiting my area, I would certainly begin by showing them Horsetooth reservoir and hiking Horsetooth rock. I would also show them the Poudre Canyon and spend a lot of time hanging out at and on the Poudre River. I would of course take them out to Old Town in Fort Collins and eat at some of the great restaurants such as Silver Grill and Snooze. We could also go to Social for some delicious cocktails.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My father, Bob Nightwalker, has certainly been the most influential and supportive person throughout my journey of starting a nonprofit organization. When I was five years old, he began taking me into work with him after school; he was the director of a local wildlife rehabilitation nonprofit. I started by just cleaning empty cages and cleaning dishes, but as I grew older and stronger, he taught me more and more. I was eventually able to feed baby birds, then squirrels, and eventually I was able to perform examinations on patients, give medications to animals, and release wildlife patients. When I turned 18 years old, he then helped sponsor me for my state issued wildlife rehabilitation license and in 2016 he helped me found my own nonprofit, Northern Colorado Wildlife Center. To this day he still serves on our board of directors and helps us rescue wildlife in distress, provide educational programs, and clean up dangerous litter from natural areas and open spaces.
(Northern Colorado Wildlife Center)