My experience so far ...

During the past month, I have learned so much about what it really means to be on the outreach team here at the Wildlife Center.

Because the Center is a teaching hospital, the outreach department (comprised of staff members, students, and volunteers) offers educational activities and programs to the public about wildlife, current events at the Center, and wildlife conservation efforts.

Coordinating tours and conducting programs, however, just barely brushes the surface of what the outreach department does. The past few weeks have been especially busy. Much of my time has been spent writing. I have written updates about our education animals to Caring for Critters sponsors, composed patient stories, and helped write general news articles for the website.

My other tasks have included updating educational activities for our assembly programs, assisting staff with research on various topics, and shadowing each of the departments (vet staff, rehabilitation staff, and the front desk). I believe shadowing the other areas has been an important part of the externship – learning more about the other departments and the essential roles each person plays has helped me gain a better understanding of how this organization works overall.

One of the most exciting things that I have learned is how to handle the raptors. So far I have handled Pignoli (Eastern Screech-Owl) and Grayson (Broad-winged Hawk), and this week I will begin working with Quinn (Great Horned Owl). I have learned how to tie a falconer’s knot and how to make anklets and jesses (part of the handling equipment for the raptors). I have gotten to know the patient history, natural history, and individual personalities of many of the animal ambassadors. It is hard to explain in words what it’s like to work with such amazing creatures.

Another part of my externship that I just can’t seem to get enough of is teaching others about wildlife! I love taking people on tours and traveling for programs. It makes me so happy to see people who are so interested in everything that I have to say about wildlife. I truly hope that when I walk away from this externship there are at least a few people who feel that they learned something from me.

The time is finally here for me to “meet” everyone on the moderated discussion! I will be introducing myself Thursday, March 27 at 12:00 p.m., so please join us!

--Brittney, outreach extern

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