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NWRA Symposium 2001
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Just a Memory Now

Lake Tahoe

by Deb Duffy, Office Manager

I've learned over the course of the past few years that our members are a lot of fun. Who else could discuss fecal parasites and mealworms over lunch without looks of disgust crossing their faces? Wildlife rehabilitators are an all-too-rare, quirky breed, and getting the chance to work and play with you is, without a doubt, the highlight of my job. That is why I love attending the NWRA Symposium each year. I can meet the new attendees and reacquaint myself with the regulars. And this year's event was no exception; in fact, this was the best one yet for me. And I wasn't alone in thinking this. One of our attendees had this to say:

"Being a beginner rehabilitator, college student, and first timer at a symposium, the highlight was talking with the pros from all over the country. I was surprised by how friendly everyone was and how interested they were in helping us students with networking and finding internships."

The Place

Mother Nature, being a true rehabilitator herself, welcomed us and offered beautiful weather all week long. The attendees who trekked through the snow on the hike or explored Lake Tahoe on the MS Dixie II concur. The Horizon Casino and Resort was one of our more scenic conference sites with a view of the mountains on one side and a view of mountains and Lake Tahoe on the other.

The Program

Over 70 speakers presented more than 90 presentations at Symposium 2001. A lot of time and effort goes into finding these people and it pays off. One registrant stated: "The quality and variety of speakers was very impressive." Incidentally, if you are interested in presenting next year, an application is available on-line that you can print out, complete, and mail.

Several workshops were offered this year to provide some hands-on learning experiences. We included two new ones this year, the Raptor Hood Workshop and Beginning Rehabilitation and Education Workshop (BREW) Part II. Both were well received and you can be assured of seeing them again in the future.

Four hundred sixty-nine people registered for the symposium, representing 44 states and 2 Canadian provinces. We didn't set any registration records but this year did yield our largest banquet ever. This suited our emcee, Mark "Danke Schoen" Mitchell, just fine. We recently discovered Mark's hidden talent as a lounge singer and he did a wonderful job of keeping the banquet program moving along.

The People

Those of you who have already attended one of our conferences know and recognize the friendly faces of the registration team: Carolyn Suto, Joyce Galiardo, Sylvia Groeger and, of course, Mom Suto—known as Ann the other 51 weeks of the year. This world-class group of women have been volunteering their time for several years and are a regular staple of the conference. Not only do they help out during the conference, but some of them volunteer their time throughout the year too. Carolyn maintains our master database year-round and Joyce helps out with the pre-registration and inputs your symposium evaluation forms into the computer (yes, we do read every one of them).

Across the room, the NWRA Sales Table yielded a few new faces this year. Merine Hansen, Dan Ludwig, and Kate Ludwig put in quite a few hours helping customers lighten their wallets and burden their luggage. There was also a new person maneuvering AV carts this year. Chuck Hyatt was inaugurated into the ranks by fellow AV crew members John Frink, Keith Hulsebos, Gary Orendorff, and Steve Thrune. These guys definitely get a workout as they attend to the AV needs of each session and the banquet, as well as the phone and power cord needs of the NWRA Sales and Registration tables. Usually all you see of them is a blur running down the hallway.

A few familiar faces changed job duties this year. Pam Reger joined Donna Ludwig as Program Coordinator. She bequeathed the exhibitor, raffle, and silent auction responsibilities to Nina Fischesser, who did a wonderful job. Lessie Davis fully assumed the duties of workshop coordinator as well as helping our ever-working symposium coordinator, Barbara Suto, with site selection details. Another new face seen wandering around the meeting rooms was our Executive Director, Lisa Borgia, who got her first taste of what our symposiums are like.

The Lake Tahoe Wildlife Center put in a lot of time and energy this past year as they prepared to host the conference. Among the host responsibilities were assisting in the theme selection (Healing the Whole, Body and Spirit), supplying borrowed AV equipment and handling the incineration of all the workshop bodies at the end of each day. I would like to extend a personal thank you to Tom and Cheryl Millham for assisting the Central Office with our shipping needs. You made our lives a lot easier.

I would like to extend one last thank you to the attendees. Your cheerful attitudes (not to mention some of the one-liners we heard) really make the week go by fast as well as making the trip worthwhile. Thanks.


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