The two constants over the 20 + years since the birth of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network have been change and striving to improve as individual organizations and as a team. We are currently working feverishly to re-envision our training program in order to achieve consistent excellence across all areas of a wildlife response anywhere in California – expanding into inland areas and species with new organizations and responders while leveraging the knowledge and experience of our marine base. Over the next 6 months you will see more of the specifics of this change in the training program as each of the elements go live. The greatest strength of OWCN is the knowledge of its organizations and people, and finding ways to best use that knowledge and experience for maximum impact in wildlife response is our ultimate goal.
Today I get to share with you an event whose goal is exactly that, and one element that I am personally very excited about. As a part of our efforts to evolve the OWCN training program to meet the challenges of our expanded responsibilities for all of California, October will see an example of that new culture with the debut of the first OWCN Wildlife Summit. We admit like so many great ideas it is not original. The concept is based on the annual NW Area Plan Summit held in Seattle, but we are the first (we think) to bring it into focus on wildlife.
The OWCN Wildlife Summit has a number of goals all built on the idea that the OWCN is a world leader because of its unique mix of member organizations, the UC Davis Management Team, and consistent financial support through OSPR and industry to continually invest in best achievable capture and care.
- To provide a regular (every two years) review of our protocols and procedures for the capture and care of oil affected wildlife and the Wildlife Plan for California by both the OWCN Management Team (e.g., UC Davis staff) and the Member Organizations.
- To provide an opportunity for discussion and prioritization of additions or adjustments by the OWCN Management team, representatives from Member Organizations, and key trustee representatives based on our collective experience summit to summit and a mechanism to facilitate workgroups produce response tools based on those discussions.
- An opportunity to familiarize Member Organizations with the equipment stockpile for wildlife response that the OWCN has in Davis and seek input on equipment additions and remote stockpiles.
- To provide an opportunity for Member Organization input on priorities for wildlife response exercises.
The initial OWCN Wildlife Summit will take place October 15 and 16 in Davis. Saturday will be a day long discussion/work party focusing on plans, protocols, and exercises. Sunday morning will be dedicated to equipment with activities taking place at the “Boneyard” where OWCN’s stockpile of response equipment is stored. Walk through displays of mobile equipment and storage areas will provide fuel for discussions on additional equipment needs, deployment strategies and remote stockpiles.
Space will be limited and we are looking for active participants with ideas and energy dedicated to improving our collective readiness, but at least one spot will be held for each Member Organization until the mid September registration deadline. Slots not claimed by the deadline will then be distributed among nominated candidates – subject matter expert from member organizations wanting to send multiple representatives as well as other interested representatives from other stakeholders from industry and trustee agencies such as OSPR, USFWS, and NOAA.
Specific information on registration, travel support and preparation will be going out to our Member Organization contacts in early August. Because of the size and scope of this event, our plan is to rotate this event alternating years with Oilapalooza. Don’t worry though – new and exciting training opportunities will be announced soon to make sure even on the years where Oilapalooza isn’t held, hands-on training experiences can be found within the OWCN!
I think this will be a fun and productive event and I hope many of you will be there. For those who aren’t, I can assure you we will be sharing the results in a variety of ways including a future blog.