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NWRA Symposium 1999
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Just a Memory...  

Greensboro, NC

In spite of Mother Nature‘s attempt to hold onto winter, NWRA Symposium '99 in Greensboro, North Carolina, turned out to be quite a success! Four hundred and twenty people from 40 states and 2 Canadian provinces attended our 17th national symposium. More than 80 speakers presented more than 90 different papers and hands-on labs. It was a positive and productive week for attendees, speakers, and volunteers alike.

Through rain, sleet, snow

It appeared that the forces of nature were working against us at the onset of the symposium. Several airports had to close due to a snowstorm moving across the U.S. Many travel plans were changed, but that didn’t stop our attendees from showing up. It just goes to show you what a hardy bunch of people rehabilitators are!

Something old, something new...

Our symposium began with a full-day homeopathy seminar. We realize that many rehabilitators want to learn more about alternative therapies, so look forward to more choices next year. Attendees were enthusiastic about the hands-on workshops, ranging from necropsies to turtle shell repair to parasitology. We also offered a waterbirds roundtable hosted by Mark Pokras. This session gave people the opportunity to interact with the speakers and to ask specific questions. This year we also offered a session titled "Organizing and Maintaining State Wildlife Rehabilitation Networks." Not only did state organizations get a chance to network with other groups like theirs, but one or two new state networks may be forming in the near future. Other sessions of interest were the full-day veterinary session, eight hours of songbird information, and caging demonstrations.

Behind the scenes

Thanks and kudos to the NWRA National Committee led by Symposium Coordinator Barbara Suto, assisted by Program Coordinator Donna Ludwig, and Raffle/Auction/Exhibit Coordinator Pam Reger. National Committee members designed and mailed registration materials; coordinated audio-visual setup and operation; coordinated the exhibits, raffle, and silent auction; scheduled sessions, presentations, and hands-on workshops; assembled and typeset information for the Program Book; did the necessary accounting record keeping; and, generally made everything fit together and run smoothly. And comments like the following from one of our attendees makes it all worthwhile: "This is without a doubt the best one I've attended. I was really down prior to attending, in fact, almost forfeited my plane fare and cancelled my reservation. This symposium and the support I found has helped me to refocus and re-identify my priorities while at the same time providing me with the tools to help achieve my goals. Thank you."

And let’s not forget about our wonderful AV crew and registration table workers! Steve Thrune and Gary Orendorff kept quite busy fulfilling all the AV needs of the conference and this year they had the much-appreciated help of Hilary Pittel. Meanwhile, Joyce Galiardo, Ann Suto, Carolyn Suto, and Sylvia Groeger were pleasantly helping people with their registration needs. Also a special thanks to Joyce who helps out our Symposium Coordinator for many weeks before and after the conference.

With a little help from our friends

Our North Carolina core group, comprised of Lessie Davis, Nina Fischesser, Wanda Burton, Carolina Raptor Center, Nancy DeVries, Shirley Needham, Peggy Hager, and Barbara and Tom Tomlinson did a lot of hard work on the local level. Among other things, they chose the theme (Educating Ourselves Today for the Children Tomorrow), recommended speakers, designed the conference logo, responded to the local media, found sponsors and donations, and borrowed and transported AV equipment. Needless to say, they were kept busy for several months prior to the event, not to mention seen running about during the symposium. These volunteers also were responsible for the unique getting-to-know-you bingo game held during the Icebreaker social. Icebreaker refreshments were sponsored by Mobil Shipping and Transportation.

Symposium '99 was a success due to the willingness of so many volunteers to unselfishly work together and to strive toward high quality, both behind the scenes and in the limelight. The positive and open attitudes of those who attended created a friendly atmosphere that contributed largely to the success of this event. We take pride in designing a symposium that meets high professional standards and, at the same time, allows for comfortable learning, networking, and growing. Thank you, without your help we wouldn’t be the organization we are today.

A final thanks

And thanks also to all of you who have a passion for wildlife rehabilitation and learning. Without you, there would be no need for our symposiums or our organization. Here are a few random quotes some of your peers put on their evaluation forms:

"From the comments I've heard from seasoned rehabilitators, this has been the best symposium ever. NWRA continues to go from ’̒glory to glory’ with its programs and education. I am proud and honored to be among its membership."

"The symposium helped to reinforce my very strong beliefs for my own center on professionalism and commitment. It was wonderful being involved in the symposium. All of the subject matter was pertinent and informative."


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