2017 Year in Review: Leigh-Ann Horne, LVT and Hospital Manager

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.

This year has been a year full of changes, new challenges, and great people.  One of the most memorable experiences of the past year was helping the Wildlife Center host the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association annual symposium in March 2017. To my knowledge, this was the first time the Center has hosted a national conference.  I was excited to be able to showcase the Center and the work that we do, and have the opportunity to meet and learn from so many colleagues.   

While the conference provided great networking and learning opportunities, the amount of work and organizing required to pull it off was overwhelming.  The Center received a shiny new facelift and many days were spent polishing cabinets, dusting rafters, and even spray-painting outside freezers.  Although the work was tough, it was also a great bonding and team-building experience for the staff.  All departments came together and made the chores a lot of fun.

The conference itself was held in Williamsburg, a two-hour drive from the Center.  This distance complicated the delivery and removal of needed supplies, namely bodies to be used in labs on each of the four conference days.  Most of my conference week was spent doing daily hauls of frozen bodies to Williamsburg, picking up the thawed used bodies from the previous day, and bringing them back to the Center.  Busch Gardens in Williamsburg graciously provided space for us to plug in a couple of freezers, and a local storage company donated a storage unit for the week that gave us a place to thaw bodies.  Their generosity provided a bright spot in a very stinky drive back and forth!

While at the conference, I was able to meet some of the people that I have learned so much from through publications.  I was able to catch up with a former technician intern from the Center who I had not seen in months.  I was also able to visit with an intern I had not seen in years! 

Although I am not ready to get to work hosting another national conference right away, looking back at the time spent preparing for the 2017 conference fills me with fond memories because of the amazing people I get to work with and meet.   


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