When I began teaching in Hillsborough county (2013) I took the lead in rehabilitating several animals in a school’s collection that had not been receiving proper care prior. While working 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 the organization (March 2014), Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife, and within a few months asked to develop community outreach programs. These first programs focused on prevention of many common injuries. Within a year I became 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 reach over 20,000 people in our community through our in person programs alone. That is not where our reach ends though, we also utilize online media to share stories, tips, and educational information.
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.