Striving for Professionalism

Hello all,

As many of you start registering for OIlapalooza 2013, Becky has received quite a few emails asking about the webinar requirements, so I thought I would take a moment to explain the philosophy behind them. First of all, thank you to everyone who has finished the webinar series!  You all get a gold star 🙂

Oilapalooza is over 5 years old now, and I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who have attended every year, sat through every lecture,  and taken multiple wet labs.  That is fantastic! However, if you’re one of those people, you *might* be wondering why you also have to sit through all those webinars and quizzes. We understand your frustration, and we have a couple of reasons for you (and one request).

Our goal is to be a highly professional oiled wildlife response team. When we are called upon to respond to a spill, we aim to work with the responsible party (RP) in a professional way, even though a large part of our workforce is volunteer. One way we do this is through written job descriptions that detail the qualifications and responsibilities of every responder, from management to staff to volunteer. By ensuring that all staff members and high-level volunteers have taken the webinars, we can ensure the RP and other stakeholders that responders have received consistent training. This gives the RP, the public, and the wildlife trustees confidence that they can trust us to perform in an effective and cost-effective manner.

Another reason to watch the webinars and take the quizzes is that we all forget things AND no one knows everything (except for Lavonne. She really does know everything, luckily for us!). You never know when you might learn something new, even if it’s just a tip or an interesting factoid. Even if you are already an expert on the bird side of things, knowing a bit about oiled mammals might help you better understand the whole response process. At the very least, it can give you something to chat about at cocktail parties.

Well, those are a couple of reasons we ask you to watch all the webinars instead of attending cocktail parties. Finally, our request: please take the quizzes!  Your viewing of the webinar is not recorded until you take and pass the quiz. Quizzes are now known to help cement knowledge (in other words, although we used to think of tests as just a way for teachers to measure how much you know, recent research indicates that the process of taking a test actually improves your knowledge retention!), and after all, our quizzes aren’t that hard!

Thanks to everyone who has registered for Oilapalooza and taken the webinars!  We’re looking forward to a great conference this year and look forward to seeing you all there.

Christine

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