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NWRA Symposium 2012
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Lees–McRae College Symposium 2012 attendees. Photo courtesy of Nina Fischesser

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Symposium Attendee Comments

The Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute at Lees–McRae College in NC provides medical and rehabilitation care for sick, injured, and orphaned native wildlife, and is the setting for biology students to acquire a Bachelors of Science in Biology with a Concentration in Wildlife Rehabilitation. A group of students in this program attended Symposium 2012 in Baton Rouge and their experiences are reflected in the following comments.

As a graduating senior, continuing education is of utmost importance entering a career field. This year’s NWRA Symposium in Baton Rouge truly impacted my life. I always had an innate passion for wildlife and worked in rehabilitation centers since the age of 13. However, there are few in the public who can understand what wildlife rehabilitation entails and why we do it, that it is not so much a job or even a career, as it is a way of life. There is always a variety of general and specialized lecture and workshop topics. There also are always standard topics for beginners or those who want to refresh their memories and keep up–to–date on new and improving techniques. The presenters are knowledgeable and more than willing to share their knowledge and answer any questions one might have. These symposia are a gathering of people to a have a great time and share knowledge they have acquired.

At the 2012 Symposium, I networked with people from all over the country and made lifelong friends with individuals from New Jersey to Texas to Alaska. The true beauty of these friendships is they are based on something special that makes us all whom we are—wildlife rehabilitators! I feel validated and have new faith what I want to spend the rest of my life doing can be a reality. I can hardly wait to attend next year’s Symposium in Portland, Oregon.
Sunny Bettley, Senior

I really gained so much from the NWRA symposium. This was my second symposium attendance and was an even more informative experience. I was able to participate in workshops and practice wound cleaning, IO catheters, and other valuable skills under the guidance of amazing wildlife veterinarians. I really look up to all of the veterinarians; they have inspired me to become a wildlife vet myself. I also really enjoyed networking with all of the other rehabilitators and sharing techniques for animal care. Sometimes, it can feel a little intimidating being among the youngest among so many seasoned rehabilitators, but after talking with everyone at the Icebreaker reception, I feel I was welcomed and respected amongst the rehabilitation community. Wildlife rehabilitation is gaining popularity with younger generations and slowly becoming a career choice rather than just a hobby. Lees-McRae is paving the way as the first college to train rehabilitators for this growing field. I really look forward to attending future symposia and networking to learn more and possibly find work in wildlife rehabilitation.
Eric Rayfield, Junior

The NWRA Symposium is always a great experience for me; I am able to go with friends who also are passionate about animals, as well as meet new people! The most important thing for me is learning about new studies, better rehabilitation techniques, and listening to different opinions and approaches to problems. The lectures oriented around discussion with the audience were very beneficial. I can get great answers to specific questions from people in the field and feel confident enough to apply that knowledge. I look forward to future conferences because there is always something new to learn.
Flo Wong, Graduate

I had an extremely fun and rewarding experience at the NWRA Symposium in Louisiana. I loved meeting new people from all over the country with similar interests, and our class even became close to two other rehabilitators from different states, with which we are still in contact. I attended numerous lectures and learned many new skills. The two workshops, Adult Avian Care and Wound Management, were very useful hands–on experiences for me. In the future, I hope to attend the NWRA Symposium again because it is so fun and useful to my career.
Rachel Thurman, Junior


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