When I first began teaching in Hillsborough county (2013) I took the lead in rehabilitating several animals in a school’s collection that had not received proper care prior to my joining their staff. While working very closely with numerous veterinarians I was introduced to a local state and federal wildlife rehabilitator, Kris Porter, and began to volunteer with her in order to gain more knowledge and expertise related to our native wildlife.
I was the fifth volunteer to join her organization (March 2014), Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife, and within a few months asked if I may develop a community outreach program. These first programs focused on preventing many of the common injuries we were seeing. Within a year I was asked to become an official board member for the 501.3c and was named the Director of Education and Outreach. Now we offer programs for everyone from day care students to veterinarians and local law enforcement with a strong focus on Florida native wildlife and migratory bird conservation and appreciation. Each year we are able to reach over 20,000 people in our community through our in person programs alone. That is not where our reach ends though, we also use our utilize online media to share stories, tips, and educational information.
Aside from leading the education side of the organization I have also assisted in the rehabilitation of native wildlife and migratory birds. Each year we are able to provide care for over 2,000 animals with a more than 80% release rate.