Did you know that your support of The Schiele helps us provide a caring home for our Animal Ambassadors? Learn about our wonderful Animal Ambassadors and how their stories help us stay true to our mission. Your gift to The Schiele helps support our Animal Ambassadors!

Say hello to Hazel, our Animal Ambassador Virginia Opossum!

Hazel came to The Schiele from the Paws Animal Wildlife Sanctuary after presumably being hit by a car, which resulted in trauma to her head and lead to the removal of her left eye. Due to Hazel’s injuries, she is unable to be released into the wild and now serves as an ambassador at the museum. Although they may seem scary, opossums are an important species in our environment; they eat over 5,000 ticks each season, can survive venomous snake bites, and are not known to contract rabies due to their low body temperature.

As an Animal Ambassador, Hazel along with many other animals provide educational information to visitors and students throughout the region. By giving a second chance at life to non-releasable or unwanted animals, The Schiele is able to provide education, inspiration, and hope for the next generation.



The majority of the Animal Ambassadors at The Schiele either come from rescue organizations or from people who relinquish exotic pets that would have been euthanized.  These animals are given a second change at life as they are not able to be released into the wild and survive on their own.  Our Animal Ambassadors on exhibit provide daily educational information to guests that visit The Schiele.  We also have a collection of Animal Ambassadors used entirely for educational programs that reach school groups of all ages and even families during special events.


Through our on-site and outreach education programs, students, children, and adults can meet a variety of animals from birds like Hedwig, reptiles like our giant desert tortoise (Cortez), snakes that eat other snakes (Obi our eastern kingsnake) and even Madagascar hissing cockroaches.

The variety of animals that children can see up-close enhances their formal classroom instruction, inspires curiosity, and creates an enthusiasm for learning about the diversity and necessity of animals in the world.  This in turn has an even bigger impact as children learn how to protect these animals in their native habitats and become stewards of our natural world.  By providing a second chance at life to non-releasable and unwanted animals, The Schiele is able to provide education, inspiration and hope for the next generation.