Highlights from the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association Symposium 2008

Thanks to all who attended the 2008 National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association Symposium on March 4-8 in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

NJAWR’s newest Board member, Michael Ginder, had these observations about the NWRA conference:

It was worth the price of admission. We have all heard this phrase used, but when it came to the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association’s 2008 Symposium this past March it was worth five times the price of admission. This year we were fortunate to have it held in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, with Tri-State Bird and Rescue Research as the host committee and NJAWR helping to coordinate. What a great opportunity for the rehabilitation community of the Garden State to learn new things, hone skills, share knowledge, and connect with old friends as well as make new ones.

The NWRA Symposium is something that anyone involved in wildlife rehabilitation should attend. Each year NWRA holds the symposium at different locations across the country, bringing together wildlife rehabilitators, veterinarians, educators, animal control officers, volunteers, and governmental representatives to network and update their skills.

One of the best reasons to attend the symposium is to learn from our peers and professionals about what is current and what is being tried. I want to learn how other people do things; the more tricks in the bag, the better care I can give to wildlife. Even something that generally works for a species may not work for every individual. So you never know when a piece of knowledge might come in handy.

Aside from the knowledge gained, the connections and friendships made are more than worth the price of admission. I met rehabilitators from Ohio, California, Florida, Virginia, Canada, India, Washington, Maine and many other places. We talked about the lectures, our facilities, our animals, and ourselves. We shared techniques and protocols, cage designs and diets. We told each other our stories, our successes, our failures, our joys and our heartaches.

The NWRA does a good job of bringing a top-notch, professional symposium to our community each year. The conference in New Jersey was one of the best. There was something for everyone, whatever your involvement with wildlife rehabilitation. I certainly picked up some good information and now have some new pals. If you missed this symposium, consider attending next year. Of course, our state conference held by NJAWR in 2009 will be just as inspiring and productive, so don’t miss that one!