Emily and I traveled to Arcata this past weekend for an outreach and to provide some training to our volunteers. Tamar, the coordinator of the Marine Wildlife Care Center at Humboldt State University, helped organize a diverse group of volunteers from numerous organizations, including Bird Ally X, Audubon Society, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, the Yurok Tribe, Humboldt Wildlife, Northcoast Marine Mammal Center, and Humboldt State (if I’ve forgotten anyone, I apologize!). We had both seasoned oil spill volunteers as well as newcomers, and it was great to see those “veterans” sharing their skills and experiences with less-experienced folks.
After a couple of hours of lectures, we let our students work on some bird carcasses, and we were lucky to have Monte and January (a former OWCN staffer!) there to help us demonstrate various skills. The students practiced giving injections, giving fluids, avian intake exams, restraint, applying donuts and booties, and avian processing. While it’s always a little sad (and sometimes a bit stinky!) to work on dead birds, it’s a great way to practice skills so that when it’s time to handle a living (and stressed out) bird, you’ll be faster and less hesitant. A rapid but thorough exam is the best gift you can give an oiled bird!
When we were done, Tamar had some yummy pizza delivered, and then she gave a facility tour and discussed some of the upgrades to the building that will be done in the next year or so. We all lingered outside as long as possible, because the weather was unseasonably and fabulously warm and sunny. Having never before been in Arcata when it wasn’t pouring rain, I finally could appreciate what a gorgeous place it is!
We are lucky to have such a dedicated bunch of volunteers in this vulnerable coastal area. Thanks to Tamar, January, Monte, and all the volunteers who devoted their Saturday morning to help improve readiness “behind the redwood curtain!”