2022 OWCN Training Program Update

As many of you know, the year of 2021 proved eventful in many ways including a pair of recent Network activations during a global pandemic. But through it all, the OWCN Management Team remains committed to providing our Network ample training opportunities, even if many must remain in a virtual or hybrid format.

A Goal Without a Plan Is Just a Wish sign on desert roadOur team recently met to review our 2021 training efforts and map out our 2022 OWCN Training Program Calendar. (Final OWCN Training Program Calendar will be hitting your inboxes in very early January!). As you can see via the graph below, we were able to virtually engage and train many of you this past year and we appreciate your patience and enthusiasm as we transitioned much of our content online.

As we move forward into 2022, we remain cautiously optimistic that we can offer many virtual opportunities paired with a few select hybrid events with small, in person components. In an effort to give you a preview of what’s to come, we have listed all the training types we plan to offer next year. Exact dates and locations will be shared soon. (Please note: to access the OWCN training program, you must be 18 years of age, affiliated with one of our 44 Member Organizations, and have a responder profile in our database; contact us at owcn@ucdavis.edu with any questions)

New Responder Engagement (Virtual)

A great place to start for new responders, if you have recently joined our responder database and seek some assistance in getting started, please join us for this virtual engagement hosted via Zoom. We will provide an overview of our training program, drills and exercise opportunities, and host a Q & A session.

Core Webinar Series (Virtual)

A must for all new responders, these three webinars provide the perfect introduction to our OWCN operations and are available 24/7. After viewing the OWCN Overview, Spill Basics and Responder Involvement content, you must pass the Core Webinar Series Exam, and then you are officially one of our Core Responders!

Basic Responder Training (Virtual & In Person Options)

The Basic Responder Training (BRT) is a one day training that covers common concepts and skills applicable across all areas of oiled wildlife response. The elements are designed to help participants navigate spill response in a prepared manner (i.e. safety, spill structure, core animal handling concepts, etc). Upon completion of this course, you are officially an OWCN Basic Responder and gain access to priority volunteer sign up during incidents. We plan to offer both virtual classes hosted via Zoom, as well as in person classes in 2022.

Oiled Wildlife Specialist Training (Hybrid; 1 Day Virtual & 1 Day In Person)

The Oiled Wildlife Specialist (OWS) Workshop is a two day class for individuals with moderate to advanced hands-on experience related to at least one aspect of oiled wildlife response.  It is open both to species specialists and multi-species responders, and is intended to give participants a deeper understanding of spill response operations, broaden the applicability of the responder’s existing skills, and increase consistency between responders. We currently offer 5 specialization options including Field Operations (Hazing & Recovery), Field Stabilization, Intake & Processing, PreWash Care and Cleaning & Conditioning. We plan to host Day 1 of this training virtually via Zoom and then offer the 2nd day of instruction in person for hands on components.

Oiled Wildlife Manager Training (In Person; Invitation Only)

The Oiled Wildlife Manager (OWM) Training aims to better prepare our veteran and highly experienced responders to fill leadership positions within the Wildlife Branch, including Strike Team Leader, Area Coordinator and/or Group Supervisor with limited supervision. This course is by invitation only.

HAZWOPER Courses (24hr In Person; 8hr Refresher Virtual)

24hr Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) Training is a three-day course and an OSHA health and safety requirement for working in the hot zone during oil spill response.  It is required to fill certain OWCN positions within Wildlife Recovery, Hazing, and Field Stabilization, and it is a prerequisite for some advanced training opportunities as well. We are working with OSPR to offer two in person 24hr HAZWOPER training opportunities in 2022.

8hr HAZWOPER Refresher Training is only available to those who have already completed the 24hr HAZWOPER Training course, as this certification must be annually refreshed. The 8hr course is available online 24/7 with online recorded content and a final exam that you must pass.

Lecture Series (Virtual)

New for 2022, we will be offering an online lecture series from January through June, with one lecture hosted via Zoom each month. Stay tuned as final dates and topics will be shared in the coming weeks.

Oilapalooza 2022 (Hybrid)

Oilapalooza is OWCN’s biennial oiled wildlife response conference, and is a chance for responders to meet one another, learn about recent responses, new technologies and procedures, and practice hands-on response skills.  Oilapalooza 2022 will take place at UC Davis in Davis, CA on October 22-23. We plan to offer both in person and virtual participation opportunities.

Continuing Education

And as a reminder to all of our active responders, the OWCN requires engagement with our training program to maintain active status (at least every 3 years for Core and Basic Responders; annually for our Specialists and Managers). Attending any of our options listed above, as well as participating as a volunteer at a drill or spill, refreshes your CE.

Looking forward to a fantastic 2022, and hoping to even see a few of you at an in-person training event!

Readiness Santa Scott

Thank Goodness for Virtual Outreach

I am certain, at this point in the pandemic, that you do not need a reminder about the challenges we’ve faced, or the lingering yearning for human interaction that many of us desire as we crawl out of isolation. But today I wanted to share thanks and praise for the technology developments that allow us to connect, albeit virtually and through small portals, on our computers or devices. 

With regard to our Oiled Wildlife Care Network training program, this past year and a half required us to transform our offerings into a completely online, virtual setting. Inherent challenges aside, we have discovered many benefits to connecting with our oiled wildlife responders located throughout our state:

  • An online engagement with 60+ new responders in February was a great way to welcome and inform our newest additions and offer direct answers to their burning questions.  This successful event confirmed that we should add this format to our engagement repertoire moving forward.

  • A virtual meet up with our advanced responders in April allowed us to review recent spill responses, practice working through our supervisor/strike team leader job aids, and reserved time to connect and discuss any pertinent topics. This accessible event solved one of our challenges, as we strive to connect with our advanced responders at least annually as they are often the first wave of response during a large incident. 

Beyond readiness, we have jumped headfirst into virtual outreach as well. Usually, springtime is loaded with outreach requests including local Davis classrooms, State Scientist Day in Sacramento, UC Davis Take your Children to Work Day, etc. As those in person events are still on hold, we have been working with teachers and students at the Pacific Charter Family of Schools: Sutter Peak Charter Academy, Heritage Peak Charter School, Rio Valley Charter School, and Valley View Charter Prep where we had the opportunity to provide some materials and lead virtual yet interactive oiled wildlife activities, followed by a brief presentation and ample Q & A time. 

In numerous sessions, we met with students in middle or high school via Zoom who all impressed our staff with their enthusiasm and insightful questions. My personal favorite moment was leading our feather drop experiment live with some middle school students, who were instructed to use a small pipette to release a few drops of water onto a clean goose feather. We had just finished explaining bird feather properties, but we all know seeing is believing, so as we instructed students to apply the drops, we heard numerous, excited exclamations of “It just rolls right off…didn’t soak in at all!”  Science sure can be satisfying. 

The students seemed to enjoy themselves during the event, and even the parents shared some encouraging words of gratitude:

“We are very thankful for all the work they do! I would have loved this experience when I was in school.”

“We love our school and the opportunities it provides. Neriah just finished a zoom class on oil spills and how they effect wildlife. She had so much fun!!!”

While the world unfurls, you may still have some students you know that could use an interactive activity or two.  The OWCN is currently working diligently to update and improve the outreach section of our website.  Our plan is to include many different activities and resources for students, teachers, and parents alike. 

But as a sneak peak, if you would like to lead an oiled wildlife activity at home, check out these resources: 

And if you have any questions, feel free to email us at owcn@ucdavis.edu

Thank you to all our responders, students and teachers who have remained as flexible as possible during these unique times.  And thank you to technology, for providing us with a pathway of connection that I never realized was so desperately needed.

Scott Buhl – Field Ops Readiness Coordinator

What Firefighting and Spill Response Have in Common

Volunteer firefighter performing one of the tasks during his physical test, pre-pandemic

About a year and a half ago, when I moved from Davis to Winters, CA, I decided to apply to become a volunteer firefighter with the Winters Fire Department.  I thought it would be a relatively simple process: you fill out an application and they accept you.  After all, you are a “volunteer”, not getting paid, and dedicating your own time to helping out, right?  I couldn’t have been more wrong! I did fill out an application, then had to show up in person for a pretty strenuous physical test that involved completing different tasks within a certain amount of time…in full turnout gear. After passing that, I had a fairly formal interview with two of the captains, then had to schedule a comprehensive medical exam, get fingerprinted at the Police Department, attend a volunteer orientation, take an oath, and then, and only then, was I “accepted”.

Swiftwater rescue training on Putah Creek in July 2020

Then the real work began: getting all my gear (and there is a lot!), getting fit-tested for the face piece of the SCBA (Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus, sort of like a SCUBA tank and regulator but for above water), and attending the twice month Wednesday evening trainings. This was right around the time that COVID began, so attendance to trainings involved several modifications to insure that we were all protecting ourselves and others as much as possible from COVID exposure.

Trainings at the fire station have included skill-building exercises, such as learning how to put on and operate the SCBA, hose layouts, swiftwater rescue, victim search and rescue at night, learning how to drive and operate the various fire engines, etc. And that is just the training piece. There is also on-the-job training that happens when you are at the fire station, with never-ending tasks in between calls.  It has been a steep learning curve, and continues to be, although my time at the fire department (mostly on weekends or days off) has been incredible.

I have only been a volunteer firefighter for a year, and yet I have learned so much during that time.  So, what does firefighting have to do with oil spill response, you might ask?  The answer is that there is a lot in common between the two, when you think about it (and I have thought a lot about it during the past year). Some of the similarities that stand out for me are the following (and this is by no means an exhaustive list).

Incident Command System (ICS for short)

Firefighting and spill response both operate under this system. The ICS is an organizational management structure that originated for response to fire incidents and has since been adapted for many other emergencies such as spills, floods, missing persons, storms, etc. The ICS has many uses and many benefits, including being able to expand or contract depending on the magnitude and evolution of the particular emergency. The other significant benefit of ICS is the use of common terminology, which helps make responding to an emergency much more efficient and organized, since everyone is using the common language.

Variations on the same theme: one example of an ICS layout

PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

gayle

Oiled Wildlife Responders during Refugio Oil Spill in 2015

Prior to 2020 most people did not know what “PPE” stood for, yet this acronym was being thrown around in media outlets left and right. COVID-19 has certainly changed that! PPE is meant to protect from many things (depending on the type of PPE), such as viruses, oil, hazardous chemicals, fire, etc. Most people now know that PPE refers to supplies that help protect you, and PPE can refer to anything from masks, gloves, to goggles, hard hats, face shields, etc.  As an oiled wildlife spill responder, you certainly learn about different types of PPE and which ones you are required to wear either in the field capturing an animal or at a facility while washing oil off an animal.  As a firefighter you also learn about PPE – not only the medical type used to help protect first responders from viruses, bacteria, blood borne pathogens and such, but also the type of PPE that helps protect from heat (turnouts and boots), smoke (SCBA), and physical impacts (helmets, goggles, gloves).

Training

DSCF1123

Oiled Wildlife Manager Training (pre-pandemic)

The effectiveness and success of a response system, whether that be firefighting or spill response, is highly dependent on ensuring that the personnel responding to an emergency have the proper training.  Training not only builds capacity and skill, but it also builds confidence as well as less tangible outcomes such as interpersonal relationships and trust-building within a team. These are just as important as learning skills, since teammates that trust each other and have good working relationships (that can only be achieved prior to an emergency), are usually more efficient than teams that have never worked together or have not had the time or opportunity to build trust with each other. Just as training is an important component of firefighting, the OWCN training program is a huge component of our overall program and as such, the OWCN Management Team dedicates a significant portion of our time on planning, preparing, and delivering different trainings throughout the state (or virtually). We consider these trainings to be so important for keeping our responders up to date on protocols, procedures, and skills. Finally, because oil spills that impact wildlife don’t happen every day in California (thankfully!), we often participate or conduct oil spill drills or exercises to help prepare for the real thing.

Emergency Response

This is the reason for our existence! When we are called upon during an emergency, such as to help someone that is in cardiac arrest, to put out a fire in a chimney, or to rescue wildlife that is covered in oil, we are there! Our goal is to be quick to respond, and fully armed with the necessary tools and skills to help out when and where we are needed.

Animals rescued during the Cuyama River Incident in 2020

Passion for Helping

Finally, firefighters and oiled wildlife responders are passionate about helping alleviate suffering and lending a hand where needed. That is why we make the decision to do what we do. No regrets, no apologies. A simple passion for making the world a better place. And that alone is a worthy goal.

Kyra.

New and Improved Wildlife Recovery App!

BREAKING NEWS!!! We are happy to announce the newest version of the Wildlife Recovery App (WR App 2.1.0)!  This cool Apple application was originally created by the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, Office of Spill Prevention and Response (CDFW-OSPR), for the purpose of data collection by field teams deployed for spill response.  The WR App has gone through a series of changes over the past few years, based on feedback from people testing it or using it in the field. With each new version, it has gotten better and better! 

Most recently, and thanks to the hard work and dedication of Phil Stone, who is a programmer for the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, we now have a freshly enhanced version of the WR App. Some of the aspects that make this newest version so amazing is that it is more user friendly and allows us to gather a lot more information, such as hazing, pre-emptive capture, release post-rehabilitation, and trail camera usage. The data recorded in the app gets uploaded to the OSPR server, where it is accessed by OWRMD (see blog).   This means that for each animal captured, the data collected in the field can be accessed at the Primary Care Facility. 

Sounds pretty great huh?! Well don’t take my word for it, go check it out yourself! Just search “Wildlife Recovery” in the app store on your Apple device (this app is only compatible on apple devices), hit the download button, and get started. You are more than welcome to try it out, but just make sure that you select the “Test” spill ID and don’t transfer your data.

Again, a HUGE thank you to CDFW-OSPR for their original creation of this app, and to Phil Stone for making the changes for the new version! We’re very excited about these updates and hope you are as well! 

Questions? Please contact Jennie Hawkins, Field Operations Specialist, a jlhawkins@ucdavis.edu

Jennie Hawkins, Field Operations Specialist

OWCN Town Hall Recap & Revised Training Dates

Screen Shot 2020-05-07 at 11.54.34 AM

Small sample of our amazing responders who graciously shared their video so we could see their smiling faces!

Thank you to everyone who joined us live last week for our very first OWCN Town Hall: COVID-19, Recent Activities, and Operational Updates.  We were thrilled to see over 130 responders gather virtually to listen to a global update (thank you Jonna Mazet!), hear a few OWCN specific operational updates, share lessons learned from our most recent response, meet our newest staff member and ask some excellent questions. You are the Network, and we miss you!

 

Screen Shot 2020-05-07 at 5.30.35 PM

Snapshot of the agenda

If you are an OWCN responder and were unable to join the fun, have no fear, as we have posted PDFs of each presentation, along with a recording of the meeting (available via the responder database, listed under the opportunities tab). If you have any issues finding it, just shoot us an email at owcn@ucdavis.edu.

Since we had so much fun, we are already in the early phases of planning another OWCN Town Hall (version 2.0), likely coming your way in June.  But in the mean time, please continue all your efforts to curb the spread of this pandemic, and know that the Oiled Wildlife Care Network remains ready to respond (albeit with some operational modifications).

Screen Shot 2020-05-11 at 4.21.51 PM

Note the NEW dates for some of our training courses!

PS. We have just posted our revised 2020 OWCN Training Calendar to the responder database, so don’t forget to check that out as well! A direct email to all responders with this information, plus some additional training course safety protocols, will hit your inbox soon. We hope to see some of you, from at least 6ft away wearing a mask, later this fall!

And if you are not currently an active OWCN responder but wish to learn more about how to become one, please send us an email at owcn@ucdavis.edu.

-The OWCN Management Team

Meet our New Field Veterinarian!

Dr. Tom working on a bear.

Dr. Tom working on a bear

As you know, 2020 has been an interesting year so far, especially as we all hunker down, sheltering in place during this pandemic that has changed our lives in so many ways.

Coinciding with our orders to shelter-in-place, and with impeccable timing, our new Field Veterinarian, Dr. Duane Tom, joined our team. As excited and happy as we were for him to join us here in Davis, it also meant that we couldn’t give him a proper welcome or follow through with our regular onboarding process. Instead, we sent him to his new apartment on his very first day with a list of online trainings, and we have only seen him face-to-face on Zoom during our remote Field Ops or UCD Management Team meetings.  Not an ideal situation, but during this extraordinary time when we are all struggling to adapt and continue our forward path in the best way possible under the circumstances, Dr. Tom has been a real trooper!

As an example of his “trooper-ness”, for those of you that have taken the 24-hr HAZWOPER training and know how long (and, dare I say, ‘painful’) it can be to sit in a classroom for 3 days, you can imagine that this is magnified 100 times when you have to take this training online! Don’t get me wrong – I am very grateful that we have the option to take it online (especially during our current crisis) where we want Dr. Tom to be fully trained and ready to deploy to an oil spill should we need him, but he most definitely deserves a medal for sitting through hour after hour of online training to get there! And not only has he taken the HAZWOPER, but a whole bunch of other online trainings, like the Incident Command System (ICS) trainings, as an example.

So, without further ado, I want to share some of Dr. Tom’s thoughts to give you a better idea of OWCN’s amazing fortune in having him join us.  I recently asked him a few questions, and this is what he said in response:

  1. What inspires you?
    I am inspired to be able to contribute to the care and overall health of wildlife.  I am also inspired to expand the discipline of wildlife medicine by helping to get more people involved and knowledgeable.
  2. What inspires you today?
    Finding ways to continue to contribute during this difficult time, especially with facilities that are currently having difficulty maintaining their same level of patient care. I am doing this by consulting with them remotely, including the Belize Bird Rescue, the Belize Zoo, Portland Audubon, and the Hawaii Wildlife Center, as well as with former students.
  3. What made you want to join the OWCN?
    I wanted to join the OWCN because I wanted to be a part of a highly respected organization that would allow me to both assist in the care of wildlife as well as find ways of improving the outcomes of animals that have been affected by society’s mishaps.
  4. What is your favorite book? Favorite movie? 
    I’m more of a movie person.  My favorite movie would have to be Forrest Gump!
  5. What do you do in your free time?
    I like to hike or walk to remote areas where I can no longer hear the sounds of civilization, then sit with my eyes closed and count the different sounds of nature.
  6. If you had a magic wand, what would you do with it?
    Make all of the poachers and those involved in animal cruelty disappear.  Maybe that’s too harsh to say, so maybe just make them realize the wrong in their ways so they never do it again.

WELCOME TO THE TEAM, DR. DUANE TOM!  We are so happy to have you.

-Kyra

And the next Oilapalooza will be – wait for it…

Scott, Greg, and I are on our way back from the latest Basic Responder Training at the Marine Wildlife Care Center, located on Humboldt State University’s campus in Arcata. The last time I was in Arcata was nearly 20 years ago for the predecessor of the BRT, which was called Advanced Supervisors Training. Interestingly, this was the first time I met Greg. We only know this because of photographic evidence – neither of us actually remembers meeting each other, but we have actually known each since 2001, not 2010.

The Basic Responder Training brought in members from Shasta Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation, Humboldt State University, and a strong showing from Bird Ally X @ Humboldt Wildlife Care Center. We actually have a lot of Network members in this region. We had the chance to visit the Humboldt Wildlife Care Center and check out the new location of the Institute for Wildlife Studies – one of our hazing and collection Network members that is also based in Arcata.

IMG_1517

I forgot just how much is happening in this area, and just how beautiful it is. The drive up through the redwoods was stunning. We arrived early the day before the BRT, which gave us plenty of time to check out the incredible facilities of our hotel – the Best Western Plus, Humboldt Bay Inn located in Eureka – which has a solarium with a pool table, a swimming-pool-sized hot tub with a waterfall, and tikki bar with fire pits. Just a couple blocks away is old town Eureka, which has an incredible food Co-op and a lot of great restaurants.

You may be wondering right about now why I’m rambling about hotels and towns in this distant refuge behind the redwood curtain. That’s because this is where we’ll be hosting the next Oilapalooza, this October 16-17th!!! With the improved highways and direct flights from LA, access to this beautiful destination will be much easier for all of our member organizations.

As if the Network partners, natural beauty, and incredible wildlife (not to mention the spill history) of this region weren’t enough, we’ve already started planning for some incredible workshops, lectures, and hands-on experiences. Stay tuned for more on that. For now, save the date: October 16-17th2019. Additional information and registration details coming soon.

oilapalooza is coming

Hope to see some of you in Humboldt County!!

~ Danene

DaneneBirtell-2

Danene Birtell – OWCN Readiness Coordinator

 

 

 

 

Basic Responder Training in the San Francisco Bay Area

On Monday, members of the OWCN management team led a Basic Responder Training (BRT) in Tiburon, California, at the Estuary and Ocean Science Center, a research and service organization of San Francisco State University.

BRT attendees represented OWCN member organizations from across the Bay Area, including the EOS Center, The Marine Mammal Center, Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA, the SPCA for Monterey County, Lindsay Wildlife Experience and the Greater Farallones Association. Newly hired OWCN management staff also participated.

View from the training of the San Francisco Bay

Our view of the San Francisco Bay during training.

After enjoying coffee and a beautiful view of the San Francisco Bay, the 22 BRT attendees focused on the objective of the day: Learn the core concepts and fundamental skills needed for oil spill response.

While participants already have established skills in animal care and previously completed the OWCN Core Webinar series providing basic information on oil spill response, BRT gives them the opportunity to walk through the response process firsthand and learn their roles in various spill settings.

“After this training, the volunteers are better equipped to jump in and help us respond to a spill immediately,” said Scott Buhl, OWCN responder specialist, who helped lead the training.

Basic Responder Training participants

The all-day event included sessions on human safety, animal handling and restraint, documentation, and the importance of resiliency — recognizing the need for self-care during chaotic emergency response. Participants also took part in spill response role-playing scenarios and a personal protective equipment (PPE) exercise.

By day’s end, attendees are considered “pre-trained volunteers.” When there is a spill, they are among the first to be called to help.

Basic Responder Training is offered five-to-six times a year throughout the state. Our next BRT event will be held March 12 in Arcata at Humboldt State University’s Marine Wildlife Care Center.

Thank you to the Estuary and Ocean Science Center for hosting this training, and for providing caffeine and sustenance to fuel our day!

– Kristin

A holiday message from the ghost of oil spills past

 

img667793

In many of our training materials we talk about looking for the silver lining in the aftermath of a spill. Silver linings can be many things. For one spill it might be new methods to care for oiled wildlife, while for another it might be new legislation to increase prevention and preparedness. The Deepwater Horizon was a huge spill with many negative impacts – some of which we are still learning about. At least one of the silver linings from that disaster has been the array of scientific studies that have been done to measure impacts to wildlife, the environment and to the people who responded.

The wildlife response spanned coastal and offshore areas from Louisiana to Florida and included many of us from OWCN Member Organizations as well as from OSPR and CDFW. Eight years after the event, studies continue to be published and two came out recently that I read with interest and I feel are important to share. I share them not to scare anyone, but simply to remind us that the chemical products we work around during spills are hazardous materials, and that oil spills are traumatic events that can impact our mental health as well.  The OWCN and OSPR both work very hard to ensure the safety of our responders, providing required training and annual refreshers, safety officers, safety protocols and provided PPE during response but ultimately it is up to each of us to keep ourselves informed and safe.

Both of these papers are part of the GULF Study (Gulf Long-term Follow-up Study) and a detailed discussion of both are well beyond the scope of an OWCN blog. I hope you will take a look at both of them and read them completely if you are so inclined.

One looks at mental health indicators associated with oil spill response workers including some working with wildlife and can be found here.

The second looks at lung function and association with oil spill response and clean-up work roles and found an impact in those handling oily plants/wildlife or dead animals. A summary can be found here.

As with anything else you read on the internet please do so critically. Neither of these focused on what we consider “professional” oiled wildlife responders like many of you are with the training and experience to identify the hazards and recognize how to mitigate them. I present them simply in an effort to help you stay on the cutting edge of health and safety in oiled wildlife response.

While this may not be a typical “Happy holidays” type of message, the health and safety of all of our responders (and their families) comes into true focus at this time of year. Please enjoy a safe holiday season!

Curt

13th EOW in B’more

The number 13 turned out to be lucky for the 2018 Effects of Oil on Wildlife Conference earlier this month in Baltimore, MD or B’more as the hometown of John Waters, Divine and the Baltimore Orioles is affectionately known. For one thing, no one was called away to respond to an oil spill. This iteration was widely considered to be one the best, going all the way back to the initial Effects of Oil on Birds Symposium which convened in 1982 about 100 miles east as the oiled bird flies.  The conference was presented by Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research and OWCN and hosted by the National Aquarium but the success was the result of the hard work of a big flock of people including all the speakers, moderators, workshop instructors, volunteers, committee members and sponsors.

A few of the highlights for me included Gary Shigenaka of NOAA and his History of Oil Spills, an updating of Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research on-going testing of products of the removal of oil from feathers, case studies involving polyisobutylene on birds, and a presentation on managing compassion fatigue and burnout during an oiled wildlife response. Of course, there was also many opportunities between presentations to ask more questions, meet new colleagues and reconnect with old ones at the icebreaker, the beer tasting, the poster session/reception and the banquet which was held at the National Aquarium.

The conference closed with a panel discussion moderated by OWCN’s own Dr. Mike Ziccardi and included 4 representatives with an depth of experience in oiled wildlife response and a breadth of international perspective spanning industry, government agencies and NGO’s.Closing panel before They answered questions on a number of topics regarding the achievements and challenges going forward for oiled wildlife response and those of us who have chosen it as a profession. And then as Steve Jobs would say “one more thing”  as two post-conference activities were available for those who were not quite ready to say goodbye, a birding trip and a sea turtle and pinniped workshop. I can only report on the workshop. I thought it was all great but the photos will let you judge for yourself. I am already looking forward to the yet to be scheduled 14thEffects of Oil on Wildlife

 

Hope to see you there!

 

Curt