As a wildlife rehabilitator, I often have a wide variety of tasks to complete in my day-to-day work. Besides the normal duties -- looking after patients, teaching extern students – another large portion of my job is acquiring “stuff”.
Wildlife Center of Virginia Blog
In my seven weeks as an education outreach extern at the Wildlife Center, I have learned how extraordinary this organization is. The staff here are unbelievably hard workers -- their dedication to wildlife inspires me everyday to do the best job I can do with my time here at the Wildlife Center.
That being said, I have a pretty broad job description. As an education outreach extern, I spent most of my first few weeks learning about the Wildlife Center. I shadowed numerous tours and programs, soaking up any and all information on our education ambassadors.
March 11, 2014, Rockingham County, Virginia.
An Eastern Screech-Owl (EASO) is swooping down within reach of its prey when … wham! It is struck mid-flight by a vehicle. Thus begins the unfortunate story for many Eastern Screech-owls – this one in particular is about one we will call #14-0150. Fortunately for EASO 150, it has been found and brought to the Wildlife Center of Virginia.
Here at the Wildlife Center of Virginia we care for animals, but what does that actually entail? Well, we have veterinarians to look after any ailments the animal could be suffering from. Then there is the rehabilitation staff who look after the husbandry (daily needs, such as food and water) of the patients. The patients can also receive physical or laser therapy, or even be exercised on a daily basis to prepare them for release. But what about their mental needs? Well, we look after that too!
I love reading. Fiction, non-fiction, comedy, biographies ... I have favorite authors in several different genres, and I'm always up for trying something new.
Last month I came across an organization that was challenging people to read one book each week for a whole year. The challenge had started in January 2014, so I was a little late to the game, and I wasn't necessarily interested in following the guidelines this particular organization had laid out for readers.
This has been a very sad week for me, personally, and for the wildlife rehabilitation community across North America. Within little more than 24 hours, I lost two of my good friends who were pioneers in the field of wildlife rescue and rehabilitation … indeed, two of our giants in wildlife care. Jay Holcomb, a founder and driving force behind the International Bird Rescue Center, one of the world’s premier oil-spill response organizations, died on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at the age of 63.
This spring I was fortunate enough to spend some time observing one of our resident “experts” – Papa G’Ho – help rear two displaced Great Horned Owlets that were brought into the Center.
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.
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.