It’s time to look back on 2020! Check our blog between Christmas and New Year’s for a variety of stories and memories of 2020 from the staff and volunteers of the Wildlife Center of Virginia.
2020 … what a year! These past 12 months have come and gone in the blink of an eye! Reflecting on 2020, it’s kind of hard to imagine a time that was pre-COVID, before all the madness that consumes our everyday lives now, but my favorite memory from 2020 was actually from very early on this year, back in March when several WCV staff members attended the annual NWRA symposium. For those who don’t know, or who have never attended, the National Wildlife Rehabilitator’s Association (NWRA) hosts their annual symposium every year in late February-early March at various locations throughout the United States. This past March, NWRA held their conference in South Padre Island, Texas, a lovely place to be in March, when it’s freezing most other places in the U.S.!
The Wildlife Center sent five staff members to NWRA this past year, which is a huge number! It made the trip that much more enjoyable to be able to spend that week learning and laughing with my work family. We spent days attending classes, labs, and workshops and networking with other rehabbers and wildlife professionals from all over the country. It’s a great opportunity to meet all the other amazing people in this small, but ever-growing field. For me, this was only my second time attending the NWRA symposium, but what made it especially memorable was the fact that I was presenting a research poster for the first time at a national conference. I completed my research poster on a microfilaria project that I started last year as the LVT intern, and as the final component to my project, I elected to present my research findings from my internship project at NWRA. Fun fact about me: I happen to have a slight aversion to public speaking, so for those wondering, presenting a poster is slightly less nerve-wracking than presenting a lecture, and it turned out to be a much more fulfilling experience than I had imagined! It was kind of exciting!
Overall, it was a very fun trip, with some pretty amazing people. We learned a lot, and laughed a lot, and made some great memories. With all the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, many conferences and symposia have switched to an all-virtual format, including our annual Call of the Wild conference. Truthfully, that has made me even more grateful for having had the opportunity to attend one of these conferences in person, since it seems like many of them will be online for the foreseeable future, and it’s unclear when in-person conferences will resume. And as the holiday season is upon us, I am especially grateful for the health of myself and my family during this crazy time, and I’m hopeful that 2021 brings more health and happiness to everyone! Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!
-- Jess, Licensed Veterinary Technician