It’s a bit surreal to think that my wildlife rehabilitation internship at the Wildlife Center of Virginia has come to a close. I’ve had the most amazing and educating year, full of unique and gratifying experiences. I’ve treasured all moments, large and small, from releasing our Black Bear yearlings to giving fledgling Carolina Chickadees a bath. I’ve gotten to train and guide numerous externs through their rehabilitation externships and watched as they went from being skeptical around small raptors to fearlessly catching a Bald Eagle.
Wildlife Center of Virginia Blog
On May 24, Wildlife Center executive vice president Randy and his wife Jackie transported Spotted Turtle #13-1849 to Spotsylvania for release. They returned the turtle to the same location where it was found last July – and discovered that the turtle’s rescue location was at a gated community that is a certified wildlife sanctuary!
“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with, and join the dance” - Alan Watts
Change has been a major theme in my life as of late. My family moved from New Jersey to Virginia this past summer and I attended my first year at Virginia Tech as a communication major. I knew I wanted to get involved with the local community and ideally work with wildlife; I wanted to find my niche here.
There are many things about my job as an office manager that I am grateful for: being a small part of the wonderful work that the Wildlife Center does, the amazing people I work with, and sharing an office with Randy.
After two months of my 12-week rehabilitation externship had come and gone, I felt like I had mastered most tasks. Then I blinked, and spring was entering the Wildlife Center. Suddenly there were baby bunnies, opossums, and squirrels in our ICU and we were skipping lunches to make sure all feedings were kept on schedule.
There is likely a venomous creature lurking around in your backyard and you may not even know it. [Cue the shark music.] Worse, even if you saw it, you might mistake it for the wrong animal. Your identification mistake would cost you precious seconds, just time enough for the wild beast to rush on you, back you into a corner and then … oh, wait, we’ll come back to that at the end of this blog.
Once I fully grasped what the Wildlife Center of Virginia was really all about, I realized that I would be spending eight weeks in one of the best places in the world … in a place where there is so much support and inspiration to learn new things and a place where I could push myself to be a better person and teacher.
As a young child, my dreams were always filled with me flying over rooftops and trees … soaring endlessly. Wishing I was a bird, I would flap my arms and run as fast as I could for takeoff. For some reason, I always had to hold my breath to be able to fly. I never could figure that out, but the sensation of flying was worth all the breath in the world. Upon waking, I could almost imagine what it felt like to fly and think birds must have a wonderful life.
Another externship has come and gone for me, and boy, did it fly by! For the past twelve weeks, I completed a second externship with the Wildlife Center of Virginia.
During the past month, I have learned so much about what it really means to be on the outreach team here at the Wildlife Center.
Because the Center is a teaching hospital, the outreach department (comprised of staff members, students, and volunteers) offers educational activities and programs to the public about wildlife, current events at the Center, and wildlife conservation efforts.