2017 Year in Review: Amanda Nicholson, Director of Outreach

It’s time to look back on 2017! Check our blog between Christmas and New Year’s for a variety of stories and memories of 2017 from the staff and volunteers of the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

One of the very best things about working at the Wildlife Center (other than working daily with a Peregrine Falcon and a hog-nosed snake) is working with so many great people. During my 16 years at the Wildlife Center, I’ve met and worked with some of my very favorite people on earth. One of the worst things about working at the Center is knowing that, by the very nature of some positions, some of those people will leave … and goodbyes are always hard.

It’s inevitable that every year brings change, some years more than others. 2017 was a big year of change for the staff of the Wildlife Center, and with that change, came highs and lows. Saying goodbye to Dr. Dave, our former veterinary director, as he moved back to Canada was definitely a low – Dr. Dave was not only a knowledgeable and fun co-worker, but we became good friends (as well as “work spouses”) in our years of working together. But the hole that Dr. Dave left brought new opportunities as Dr. Ernesto became our new hospital director (as well as my new officemate – how lucky for him!) and we also got to “keep” Dr. Peach here as a position was developed for her. This was a particular high, since I consider both to be very good friends.  

Throughout the year, we’ve added new faces to the team and I’ve continued to deepen friendships with other co-workers.  Having so many shared experiences – happy, sad, stressful, and silly – reinforces our family-like bond. This year, I didn't travel for Thanksgiving, and I was happy to host the Wildlife Center Family Thanksgiving; it was a day filled with food and laughter and was an incredibly fun and relaxing holiday.

I’m closing out this year on a personal sad note, as I’ve had to say goodbye to my beloved, soulmate dog of 14 years. In her final weeks with me, I’m particularly thankful that none of my co-workers even blinked when I stayed home from work with the dog when she became unable to walk unsupported. I’m eternally grateful that I work in a place with people who not only didn’t mind when I worked (and also didn’t work) from home, but actually encouraged me to do so. I’m appreciative that some of those co-worker friends were excellent sounding boards as I worked my way through agonizing decisions, and they gave excellent advice. And I was reminded that, even in cases when I’ve had to say goodbye to former co-workers, it’s not really “goodbye” – after all, we’re family, and we continue to be involved in each other’s lives, particularly in times of need.

Relationships with co-workers can make or break your job. We all have our frustrations and stresses at work – yes, even at a place as fun as the Wildlife Center – and having co-workers who are also friends helps make those tough times better. The fact that we often hang out together outside of work – birthday celebrations, game nights, weekend yoga, trivia nights, and more – is a testament to the strength of this crazy work family. I look forward to continued – and new! – friendships in 2018.


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