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NWRA Symposium 2006
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Costa Mesa, California

By Fran Feeney 

The National Wildlife Rehabilitators’ Association Symposium 2006 was packed with choices from beginning to end. The all day Pre-Symposium Seminar, Introduction to Wildlife Rehabilitation, was well attended by new and future wildlife rehabilitators. Field trips to the Aquarium of the Pacific, Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center, and Bolsa Chica Ecological Preserve also took place prior to the official opening and General Session.

At the General Session, NWRA President Curt Clumpner welcomed the nearly 500 attendees that included more than 100 new NWRA members. Attendees came from across the US, Canada, and the Virgin Islands. The Keynote speakers, Jim Fitzpatrick of Carpenter Nature Center in Minnesota, presented In Search of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, and John Hendrickson, a renowned wildlife educator from California, presented Celebrating Raptors—Their Beauty, Ecology, and Challenges. Both presentations were riveting, and they set the tone for a dynamic and thought-provoking symposium.

The program had an astonishing array of sessions, seminars, workshops, roundtables and panel discussions running concurrently. Each session (approximately four hours) featured several presenters with papers covering a specific topic within a broader range. The sessions included presentations on Mammals, General Topics, Songbirds, Administration, Raptors, Waterbirds, and Veterinary. By the third day, words such as “terrific conference” and “best ever” were heard from attendees who were dashing from room to room, not wanting to miss a moment of any presentation.

The Awards Banquet was a very lively party with lots of raffle prizes and auction items as well as unique entertainment. Among the awards, Dr. Flo Tseng accepted a grant award on behalf of Tufts Wildlife Clinic for Dr. Maya Kummrow’s research project studying pain medicines in turtles.

A program of this quality and scope would not have been possible without the hard work and assistance of the NWRA Conference Committee, the Host Committee, California Council for Wildlife Rehabilitators, and a multitude of volunteers working over a period of many months. This was an opportunity for a large group of like-minded people to get together and ask questions, solve problems, learn new techniques, network with new contacts, connect with friends and associates, participate in a challenging environment, and enjoy— priceless!

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