Wildlife volunteers rendezvous | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Wildlife volunteers rendezvous

Jill Darby

Wildlife rehabilitators have a chance this week to network with peers and establish important contacts in their rare field.

The National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association National Symposium 2001 is taking place at Horizon Casino Resort through Sunday. Activities began Tuesday.

This is the first time the nationwide event is being held at Lake Tahoe.

“One reason we wanted to host it is it gives our local volunteers a chance to experience a national symposium,” said Cheryl Millham, executive director of Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care. “I think it is great. It’s a great opportunity and they do accept walk-ins so anybody’s welcome. They’ll learn something, believe me.”

The 19th annual symposium includes workshops, demonstrations, seminars and roundtable discussions, demonstrating various levels of rehabilitation – from novice rehabilitators raising orphan squirrels in their homes, to international experts treating animal victims of oil spills.

“It’s a really generous opportunity for rehabilitators to network with each other and re-energize and recenter themselves,” NWRA Executive Director Lisa Borgia said. “It’s a small group of individuals who do this, maybe 2,000 people across the nation. Most of the time they’re very isolated. Here, they get to come together and talk to people in their field. It’s a once-a-year opportunity.”

Melanie Piazza, 27, came all the way from North Carolina to participate in this year’s wildlife conference.

“It’s a chance to learn new things,” Piazza said. “It’s good because people are always trying new ways of doing things and this is a great opportunity to share those ideas and get new ideas from people in your field.”

Corrie Williams, also from North Carolina, is conducting a seminar Thursday at the convention.

“I’m a graduate student and I’m studying a high-elevation bird that lives in the Southern Appalachian Mountains,” Williams said. “I’m here to speak to people and share some information about that.”

Workshop topics include falconry, setting broken wings and necropsy.

“It’s up to us to help get animal carcasses for the wet labs, the necropsy,” Millham said.

Wildlife professionals are speaking about reptile critical care and internal parasites. Many speakers are nationally recognized leaders in wildlife rehabilitation and medicine.

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