Wildlife Care Academy Course Catalog

C Credits
H Hours in Classroom
L Hours in Laboratory
Pre Prerequisite 

Course Categories
REHAB – Wildlife Rehabilitation
NHx - Natural History 
VM – Veterinary Medicine
MGT – Non-profit Management

REHAB Course Descriptions

REHAB 101: Introduction to Wildlife Rehabilitation
Interested in helping wildlife, but not sure where to start? Join us for an introduction to ways in which you can help wild animals. Learn how to determine if a baby animal is really an orphan, what to do if an animal is injured, and where to get the right wildlife advice. Discover ways to get involved, including how to become a permitted wildlife rehabilitator in Virginia. Discussion will also include wildlife laws, the rehabilitator’s code of ethics, and considerations on becoming a wildlife rehabilitator. While the specific laws and wildlife examples will be from Virginia, the information is applicable to anyone interested in wildlife! (2H, 2C)

REHAB 105: Wildlife Capture, Restraint, Handling & Transport
Whether you are interested in becoming a permitted wildlife rehabilitator, or you simply want to safely assist any injured wildlife that you encounter, this class is essential! Learn tried and true capture, restraint, and handling techniques used to effectively work with wildlife. This class will include photos and videos of appropriate methods used to capture and restrain commonly encountered species in wildlife rehabilitation. Discussion will include the importance of learning and developing skills to ensure the well-being of both you and the animal. We’ll also cover indispensable transporting tips to keep you protected and the animal as secure and stress-free as possible. (2H, 2C)

REHAB 203: Wildlife Rehabilitation Fundamentals
Interested in rehabilitating wildlife? Discussion will include an examination of the Virginia permitting process, with a focus on helping the new rehabilitator decide which species he/she would like to and can rehabilitate. The class will also include the who, what, when, where, and why of setting up a home rehabilitation room/facility, and will include information on stocking the appropriate equipment and supplies. The importance of natural history will be emphasized, and attendees will learn how to develop an animal nutrition plan. Finally, the class will examine the rehabilitation processes of an infant mammal and nestling songbird, from birth to release. Our case-study approach makes learning about wildlife rehabilitation fun and practical for the beginner! (Pre: REHAB 101). (2H, 2C)

NHx 304:  Natural History Considerations for Small Mammal Rehabilitation
Understanding natural history is an essential component of wildlife care.  This class serves as an accompaniment to REHAB 304: Small Mammal Rehabilitation and will provide a fundamental understanding of the natural history considerations for rehabilitation of small mammals.  Excellent wildlife care requires extensive knowledge of how animals function within their ecosystem.  Topics discussed include diet and predator/prey interactions, reproduction, seasonality of rehabilitation concerns, release criteria, and more!  This class covers three of the most common small mammal species admitted to rehabilitators in Virginia: the Eastern Gray Squirrel, Eastern Cottontail, and Virginia Opossum. (2H, 2C)

REHAB 304: Small Mammal Rehabilitation
Raising orphaned small mammals is a great place for the new rehabilitator to start! This class is a basic introduction to hand-rearing orphaned small mammals from birth to release. Three species commonly admitted for wildlife rehabilitation will be examined: the Eastern Grey Squirrel, Virginia Opossum, and Eastern Cottontail. Discussion will include reasons for admission, natural history, husbandry, housing, and release criteria. Proper nutrition will be analyzed in detail, including formulas and diets.  This course will include photos and videos of hand-feeding techniques, including syringe-feeding and tube-feeding. Tips and tricks plus frequently encountered problems and solutions are all covered. (Pre: REHAB 203). (2H, 2C)

NHx 310:  Natural History Considerations for Songbird Rehabilitation
Natural history should inform all aspects of wildlife care.  This class serves as an accompaniment to REHAB 310: Songbird Rehabilitation and will provide a fundamental understanding of the natural history considerations for rehabilitation of songbirds.  NHx 310 will provide foundational information regarding the diversity of natural history among passerines.  Topics discussed include identification, anatomy, diet, reproduction and nesting, migration, seasonality of rehabilitation concerns, and more!  This class covers several of the most common passerine species admitted to rehabilitators in Virginia and provides an outline for establishing a natural history based rehabilitation plan for any species. (2H, 2C)

REHAB 310: Songbird Rehabilitation
Calling all birders, bird nerds, and bird lovers! This course covers basic rehabilitation principles for healthy orphaned songbirds so that they can ultimately be released back into the environment as healthy wild individuals.  Discussion will focus on the rehabilitation of “beginner” and “intermediate” species of birds frequently seen in rehabilitation from within the diverse scientific order Passeriformes.  The challenging task of nestling bird identification will be broken down step by step.  Discover the importance of natural history, general care, proper nutrition, hand-feeding, housing, flight conditioning, and everything else you need to know to successfully rehabilitate songbirds from hatching to release.
(Pre: REHAB 203). (2H, 2C)

NHx 317:  Natural History Considerations for White-tailed Deer Rehabilitation
The natural history of White-tailed Deer has significant implications for rehabilitation of this sensitive species. This class serves as an accompaniment to REHAB 317: White-tailed Deer Rehabilitation and will provide a fundamental understanding of the natural history considerations for rehabilitation of White-tailed Deer.  White-tailed Deer are a uniquely challenging species to house and treat in captivity, with significant legal restrictions in some locations.  This class will cover topics including diet and predation, reproduction, seasonality of rehabilitation, release criteria, and more! Additionally, unique rehabilitation concerns regarding disease transmission, stress, and habituation will be discussed. (2H, 2C)

REHAB 317: White-tailed Deer Fawn Rehabilitation
Odocoileus virginianus inhabit the entire contiguous United States minus 2 to 3 states in the west. Each summer, rehabilitators receive “kidnapped” fawns found alone and mistaken for orphans. Public education and reuniting or fostering offers the best chance for survival. When not possible, successful rehabilitation requires knowledge of natural history, GI anatomy, housing, handling, bottle feeding, rack training and browse. Tips and tricks for frequent problems including bloat, taming, and capture myopathy will be covered. Learn about common zoonotic diseases spread by fawns like Cryptosporidium and Giardia. Help keep Bambi out of the hands of private citizens and provide an important public health service!. (Pre: REHAB 203). (2H, 2C)


MGT Course Descriptions

MGT 104: Basic Elements of a Strategic Plan – What does success look like?
If you don’t know where you are going, you will never be able to determine how best to get there. For any wildlife care organization or other nonprofit, a strategic plan is the foundation of success. An organization that cannot articulate why it exists, what it aspires to do, and how it intends to do it will never be able to organize and effectively utilize its resources (human and financial), nor will it be able to attract the support it needs to succeed. This course examines the basic elements of a complete strategic plan: mission (why your organization exists), goals (the major things you intend to accomplish), objectives (how you intend to achieve your goals), tasks (who is going to be responsible for each job), and budget (how much will it cost to succeed). (2H, 2C)

MGT 111: Excellent Animal Care Organizations Depend On PEOPLE!
When asked, many people who work with wildlife or other animals will readily confess that they like animals better than they like people. But, while this may be a good foundation for the actual hands-on care of wildlife, it may be a strong impediment to organizational success. Few wildlife care organizations succeed if they are only composed of “animal people”; animals don’t write checks, don’t make laws, and don’t volunteer to get your work done. Human relationships are often the most critical factor in determining whether or not an organization will be successful. Internal conflict, the inability to win public support, and the failure to prioritize human resources are among the most common reasons that animal care organizations fail. This course will examine how a wildlife care organization can maintain a focus on wildlife, without losing sight of the fact people are essential for the organization to succeed. Balance is the key … (2H, 2C)

MGT 204: Fundraising for Wildlife Care – “Nobody gives you money because you need it!”
The most common complaint heard from animal care organizations is that they lack the resources—the money—to provide care for wildlife as they would like to do. However, when you ask how much is needed and what they are doing to get it, few organizations have an actual budget of fixed expenses, let alone a coherent fundraising program to solicit support from those able to provide it. This class will explore the process of successful fundraising, including building your case for support, effectively telling your story, identifying potential support, and building and maintaining a relationship with donors in which both the organization and the donor are fulfilled. (2H, 2C)

MGT 205: Building your Case for Support
All organizations need money to operate, but some seem to be more successful in getting it.  Typically it is because the most successful organizations have done a better job of showing that they deserve support, will use it wisely, and will actually make a difference with the support they receive.  This class will walk you through the steps in building your case for support.  (2H, 2C)

MGT 207: Volunteers Don’t Do It For Free! – Volunteerism is an Exchange of Value
Volunteers are NOT slave labor, and cannot be treated as such. When someone volunteers for an organization, especially wildlife care programs, they expect to receive something in return … just not money. Volunteer compensation may include the opportunity to learn and do new things, to contribute to the community, to make a real difference for wildlife, or to use specific skills and education to advance a personal mission. In addition, all volunteers deserve to earn and be given respect, courtesy, an enjoyable work environment, and the opportunity to grow and advance in their positions. This course will provide a look at volunteerism from the volunteers’ point of view and will provide many tangible and practical ideas for recruiting, cultivating and retaining an effective volunteer workforce. (2H, 2C)

MGT 212: Your True Cost of Doing Business
When an organization is asked about the size of its operations in financial terms, the typical answer is the amount of cash expended in a year’s time, which almost always underestimates the actual costs and the true value of the organization’s programs and services.  This class will help organizations accurately determine the actual value of their work, which can be critical for public relations, fundraising, and truly understanding the benefits your organization delivers to its community.  You will be surprised! (2H, 2C)

Check our online class calendar for upcoming classes! 

Have an additional idea for classes? Contact us at academy@wildlifecenter.org