This spring we are pleased to announce the addition of two new Hospital Coordinators. Brittany Ginter and Alana Pay bring their interest and education to share the position of Hospital Coordinator. They both have lots to experience and learn and are looking forward to the challenge.
The first of the international volunteers have arrived and are settling in. This year we have 14 volunteers from Germany and England along with 2 local practicum students and 2 work experience students. It's going to be a challenging year so it looks like we will have lots of eager help to get all the work done!
The gentle winter of 2014/15 was truly appreciated by the staff of MRWC. The Centre was running with just 1 part-time hospital staff and the building was on its last legs with the heating system crashing by late winter. The warm weather and lack of snow made it so much easier to function but also brought far less patients than normal. The Centre experienced less than half of the normal patient calls than a normal, more difficult winter. We really will be working hard to get the new hospital in place for next year because we likely won't be as lucky two years in a row.
We feel it is truly spring when we hear the sound of the Sandhill Cranes singing in our wetland. The loud, echoing, rolling croak made by the Cranes is distinctive and music to our ears. The birds arrive "home" mid-April every year and the male soon begins to display his prowess to the female in a graceful dance. They nest quite visibly on the wetland hatching 1-2 red, fuzzy chicks.
Sandhill Cranes are tall, grey cranes with red top-knots. They travel high in the sky in huge groups numbering in the thousands at times and return to the same nesting grounds year after year. These cranes prefer to live on prairie, grasslands and wetlands around North America and feed on grains and invertabrates.
This year's spring National Wildlife Rehabilitators' Association Conference was held in the college town of Princeton, New Jersey. Fostering Researcher, Judy Boyd and Executive Director, Carol Kelly were asked, once again, to present. This year's request was to speak on Medicine River's research fostering orphaned mammals into wild families. The two were a big hit, presenting to a packed double room at the Princeton Hilton.
The presentation discussed how to foster when working with coyote pups, fawns, moose calves, hare and beaver kits. The presentation was created by Education Coordinator, Erin Young, and even included Judy appearing in a doe mask and tail to demonstrate the incorrect response you may see in adult deer when playing the distress call of a fawn. Making a presentation informative, interesting and lots of fun will hopefully make it memorable for the attendees.
The California Rehabilitation Association has requested a fall presentation by the ladies this November. We are so proud that our fostering project has been received so well. It puts babies back into a wild family to be raised normally, reduces time and minimizes costs. It really is a win-win situation.
Spring is always a welcome time for staff at MRWC as some patients who have overwintered with us can now be sent "home". As the weather warms up and their wild counterparts return to Alberta or become active again, muskrats, gulls, ducks, songbirds, owls, hawks, and even salamanders are set free once again. This Great Horned Owl was one of two released on a wildlife reserve where no other Great Horned Owl nests were known to exist in an attempt to avoid a fight over territory.
We are excited to welcome a new group of international interns into our summer volunteer schedule!
Spring is one of the busiest times of year for school presentations.
The sun is shining and the snow is melting! It is that time of year when the wee ones of the wild world will be showing themselves.
Thanks to several donors, the MRWC now has its own "fleet" of vehicles. A grant from the Community Initiatives Program gave us the Mazda 5 a few years ago, as winners of the Scott KIA challenge we were awarded the Kia Rio last year, and a gift from the Alberta Wildlife Rehabilitators' Association allowed us to purchase a used Dodge truck this year!
These various vehicles give us the flexibility we needed and no longer have to rely on volunteers' vehicles to accomplish our day-to-day operations. The truck gets put into use mostly during the fostering season when we are in the field or when a truck is required to complete a task. The Mazda is the education vehicle going to schools, community groups and trade shows. The most economical vehicle, the Kia, is used for errands and travelling done by the international volunteers. Now we just need the new building to park these impressive vehicles in front of!
Changes to our International Volunteer Program in 2015 could include you! Each year, volunteers from all over Europe, Australia and New Zealand have come to stay, work and learn at MRWC. Each volunteer stays between 10-12 weeks with a few leaving early and a few staying for an extended period of time. 9 are already booked to come in 2015.