This year I was given the wonderful opportunity to represent WINC at the NWRA symposium in Seattle, WA. My excitement was overflowing as I arrived in Seattle and saw wildlife rehabilitators roaming the halls of the hotel as I got settled in for the first day of lectures.
Lecture topics this year covered everything from raptors to mammals, pharmacology, reptiles & amphibians, songbirds, aquatic birds, veterinary medicine, education, fundraising and even administration! Lectures were offered almost all day, with some days having them from 8:00AM to 9:00PM! There were always four different lectures and/or workshops going on at the same time, so participants really had to choose what they wanted to attend. That task is easier said then done when you are trying to gather information for an entire staff!
After the first day I was already in a state of information overload - the good kind. I could not wait to wake up the next morning and continue soaking up more information. I must admit my favorite part is learning all the little easy tips that lecturers share openly. Things as simple as making sure baby mammals are housed with soft fabrics that are natural colors, and not hot pink; or with adult patients that are outside, always scattering food items to stimulate natural foraging as enrichment. Even playing the calls of the songbirds you are raising two or three times a day can help them develop their song and identity. These little things are easy ways we can move towards making our wild patients feel more at home when they are with us.
Now that I’m back in Wisconsin I am still gathering all my thoughts as I try to retain everything I experienced. Many tips and strategies that I learned will be able to be put into practice at WINC as we head into baby season within the next couple of weeks. As always, going to the national symposium has inspired me as a rehabber to be enthusiastic about what I do for a living all over again. I look forward to following the NWRA symposium theme this year and do the best I can to help our center “preserve the wild in wildlife.”
Feel free to check our website or give us a call anytime if you have questions or want to find out how to support educational opportunities like this for our staff and volunteers.