Sometime in May of 2010, I began feeding a group of small feral kittens in my yard. They waited on my porch to eat every morning, and again before dark. I tied string to various toys and threw them into the yard, pulling it back slowly, playing with them. I couldn't touch the kittens - they would run if I got close. Months went by …
Wildlife Center of Virginia Blog
As a part of our “Where Are They Now?” series, we had an e-interview with Amber Dedrick, who was a staff wildlife rehabilitator at the Center from 2011 – 2014.
What have you done professionally since leaving the Wildlife Center?
Ask me a year ago what I thought of snakes, or even just mention the word “snake”, and I would recoil and tell you how much I hated them! I’m happy to say a lot has changed in a year; education, exposure, and a few different one-on-one experiences worked to change my deeply-rooted hatred of snakes.
Before applying for the rehabilitation externship at the Wildlife Center of Virginia, I had been working as a vet assistant in a small-animal practice. I have a background in both wildlife management and veterinary science and was looking for something new -- something that would combine these backgrounds and help me set foot in the direction of wildlife care.
I can still picture myself last summer, sitting in the education office of an aquarium in North Carolina, perusing the pictures and stories of education animals on the Wildlife Center of Virginia’s website. After my Education Intern experience at the Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, I was positive that my place in this wonderful world of wildlife was in conservation education.
In April 2017, the Wildlife Center admitted a male kestrel [patient #17-0435] with a broken wing. The kestrel was found by researchers Lance and Jill Morrow in Rockingham County; they had actually banded the kestrel a year before in that same area. After three months of rehabilitation, the kestrel was released, about 16 miles away from its original banding location. In May 2018, Lance and Jill contacted the Center with good news on former patient #17-0435!
History of Kestrel Nest Box #76 - as of May 13, 2018
I became a wildlife rehabilitation extern to learn new skills about handling and caring for wildlife. I was a pre-veterinary student still trying to figure out which field of veterinary medicine was for me. I thought wildlife rehabilitation would be a nice break from the routine cat and dog appointments that I’ve been seeing for the past three years while working at small-animal veterinary clinics.
Having worked in ecological field and lab research for the past few years, I didn't think wildlife rehabilitation would be too much of a deviation from my previous work. I was looking to try something slower-paced that was more hands-on and personal than the research projects I had been a part of previously, and wildlife rehab seemed right up that alley. I had no idea how much my externship would consistently exceed those expectations.
Spring has sprung at WCV (even though the weather hasn’t quite caught up) – there is an influx of baby squirrels, bunnies, opossums, etc. In the midst of our baby mania, I had the opportunity to participate in the release of our 2017 Black Bear cubs.