2023 Year in Review: Dr. Karra Pierce, Director of Veterinary Services 

It’s time to look back on 2023! Check our blog between Christmas and New Year’s for a variety of stories and memories of 2023 from the staff and volunteers of the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

As the year concludes and I reflect on all the patients and students that have come through the WCV door this year, one memory stands out as the most exciting to me: the return to teaching in-person workshops at our annual Call of the Wild Conference. While I teach every day at the Wildlife Center, I have so missed having a classroom full of learners!

In the pre-COVID days, I’d teach one, or maybe two workshops in a day at our conference, but when we were planning the conference I had years’ worth of ideas banked; we decided to put together an entire day of in-person hands-on learning! After teaching virtually for so long, the opportunity to stand before eager learners in person was both exhilarating and heartening. The familiarity of a physical classroom, the exchange of unspoken cues, and the tangible energy of a group engaged in learning became poignant reminders of the irreplaceable experience that in-person workshops offer.

I was also reminded of the comedic things that can happen when you’re teaching live and in person. The conference room next door was teaching an (unrelated) massage therapy workshop (for humans). After the first hour of teaching, my voice was getting a little hoarse, so I elected to use the microphone. Shortly after I started speaking, an unfamiliar face appeared at the door – my instruction regarding bandage placement in wildlife was unknowingly also being broadcast to a room of massage recipients and instructors!

We taught physical exams, bandaging, fluid therapy, and a case discussion. I was exhausted by the end of the day, but so satisfied. If anything, the hiatus had kindled a deeper appreciation for the value of in-person interactions and the unique dynamic of face-to-face learning experiences. Seeing learners practice a skill until they are successful at it, and knowing they can take it home to help wildlife in their own communities was so gratifying.

The return to in-person workshops served as a reminder that, despite the hurdles faced in the last three years, the pursuit of education and the joy of learning new skills are timeless and universal. The shared smiles and the rekindling of a vibrant learning community all contributed to making this return to in-person teaching a profound and memorable part of my year!

– Dr. Karra Pierce, Director of Veterinary Services 

Check out all of our year-in-review posts!