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NWRA Symposium 2010
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Bellevue, Washington

by Kristin Castellon, Florida 

Over 400 attendees representing 41 states, 9 Canadian provinces, and Sweden, Belgium, India, France and Spain participated in 99 lectures and presentations at the NWRA Symposium 2010 in Washington State. Diverse topics addressed included wildlife nutrition, educational bird training and management, administrative management skills, and the rehabilitation care of species ranging from marine mammals, squirrels, opossums, and bear cubs to turtles, pelicans, eagles, passerines, and bats.

Although I'm a fairly experienced wildlife rehabilitator, I am a new member of NWRA and loved the NWRA Symposium in Bellevue, Washington. It is extremely important for wildlife rehabilitators to attend national conferences because we work in a dynamic field that is continuously evolving and changing. NWRA has an exceptional national conference for rehabilitators of all levels.

The class selection and speakers exceeded my expectations. Animal topics ranged from sea otters and one-horned rhinos to songbirds and reptiles. Many administrative topics and workshops also were included and although practical, my personal favorite was the opening speaker. Paul Bannick was a very entertaining and talented storyteller. His images combined with the audio and stories were unforgettable.

Anyone who has attended a NWRA Symposium understands that the lectures are only one aspect of the overall conference experience. Gathering with other wildlife rehabilitators is incredibly important to keep one's sanity. Sharing experiences, venting frustrations, getting advice, and laughing at things only another rehabilitator would understand was invited and expected in Bellevue. I hope to attend the NWRA Symposiums each year to reconnect with old and new friends.

The atmosphere in Bellevue was warm and welcoming to a newcomer. The accommodations were inviting and there were a great variety of restaurants in the area. Directions and recommendations were easily accessible from the host committee. The NWRA board also was very helpful, approachable, and immediately made you feel part of the community.

I would strongly recommend the NWRA symposium to anyone involved in caring for wildlife. The education, enrichment, and overall experience were priceless.

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