2023 Year in Review: Jess Ransier, LVT Supervisor 

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.

One of my most cherished memories from 2023 happened early on in the year, nearly 10 months ago. Every year, during late February into early March, the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association hosts their annual symposium that brings together a community of wildlife professionals in a unique location within the U.S., depending on the hosting organization. This past year’s symposium was hosted by Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research in Wilmington, Delaware, and fortunately for us, that’s a relatively short commute!

The Wildlife Center brought a caravan of employees to learn and teach as much as possible during this week-long symposium. Although this was not my first time attending NWRA, it was my first time teaching any sort of in-person lecture or workshop for such a large audience. The Wildlife Center staff were sponsoring a “White-tailed Deer-themed track” of lectures, so many of our staff speaker talks were related to deer rehabilitation, medicine, or management. In addition to that, Amanda, our Senior Vice President, put me in touch with Erin Lemley, who coordinates the workshops for NWRA, and we discussed some ideas for hands-on labs with microscopes. Ultimately, I ended up not only teaching about White-tailed Deer diagnostics, but I also ran my first solo blood-smear workshop, which turned out to be a great success! We had a good arrangement at an off-site location with a local university that allowed us to use one of their laboratories. The workshop was basic enough to get people familiar with microscopes if they hadn’t been around one in a while but still interesting for those who were familiar and wanted to learn about blood!

For me, both of these teaching opportunities at NWRA took a tremendous amount of work and planning, but they were so well worth it! It was extremely gratifying, especially in the workshop, to walk around and get to answer questions, and see people learning in a hands-on setting. It was certainly a highlight of my year!

–Jess Ransier, LVT Supervisor 

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