No thanks required

Greetings!  This is my first blog post ever, so I beg your indulgence.  Mike promises me it gets easier . . . . but then I think he’s a pretty optimistic guy!  I’m the new Response Veterinarian for OWCN, and I am pretty excited to be here. Before April 20th of this year, when I told people I was moving to California to take a job caring for oiled wildlife, some were surprised that that could be a full time job. Well, since April 20th, no one is surprised anymore.  In fact, the most frequent comment I’ve gotten is “thanks for helping the wildlife.”  The tragedy in the Gulf has certainly triggered a heightened awareness of this type of work, but I want to point out that members of and volunteers with the OWCN have been helping wildlife for many years, demonstrating an incredible level of commitment even when few people outside the “spill world” are paying attention or offering their thanks. I’m honored and humbled to be a part of team . . . . although our team has, in fact, yet to ever be all together in one place since I started the job!  Mike, of course, has spent the bulk of the last two months in the Gulf, leading the Oiled Mammal and Turtle Unit. Everyone else has spent at least some time in the Gulf, even myself, green as I am.  I spent time working with the bird response in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi, helping out our old friend (and my predecessor) Dr. Massey (and pressing him to teach me everything he knows!), as well as working with some IBRRC folks. I have to say, the largest oil spill in US history is an interesting way to get initiated into the world of oil spill response!  I returned from the Gulf physically tired and of course saddened by the environmental costs, but also inspired by the dedication of the wildlife response staff and volunteers.  So, even though I know it’s not required, I want to say “thank you” for all of your efforts.

-Christine Fiorello

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