JUPITER, Fl. (WTNH) – You may remember Arvy, a brown pelican discovered on frozen water in Essex two winters ago, far from home and not doing well.

“Arvy, our brown pelican, our celebrity pelican,” said Amy Kight, Executive Director of the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter, Florida. “She was a first-year pelican, probably young, inexperienced, hung around too long.”

Efforts to get the hypothermic bird to Florida were strenuous.

So, the Connecticut Audubon Society stepped in. Then, a mother-daughter team flew her in a plane made by students at Wilcox Technical High School in Meriden.

“It’s a kind of feel-good thing. I work in a hospital in an ICU. I’m a nurse practitioner, and it’s been quite a year,” said Laurie Strand, one of the pilots, in 2021.

Arvy arrived at the sanctuary in the sunshine state, but her story didn’t end there.

“Her body was really in a lot of stress,” explained Kight. “There was definitely a time that was touch and go. We didn’t know if we were going to be able to save her.”

Kight said the bird went through multiple surgeries.

“She lost about 30 to 35 percent of both feet which, in captivity, she can adapt well to because she has enough so she can stand well,” she said.

But it means she will stay at the sanctuary where she now shares a waterbird habitat with friends. Alongside this, Arvy also has an important job.

“She’s become a wonderful educational ambassador,” said Kight.

She teaches families, particularly kids, about pelicans and how we can help them. But Kight says there’s more to this lesson, messages about survival and the human spirit coming together.

“How communities came together and really did incredible things and utilized resources that I don’t think have ever been used for a brown pelican rescue,” says Kight.

The mom and daughter team who flew the plane have actually visited Arvy in Jupiter.

If you’re down there, you could too!