OWCN’s Inland Survey Says….

As many of you know, we recently held our first inland Full Deployment Drill since the expansion of the OWCN’s mandate to cover all surface waters of the State.  This was a unique experience that gave us some fresh insight into the challenges that face us when responding away from marine waters.  As a follow-up, we sent out a survey to all OWCN responders asking a few questions about volunteering during inland response.  We had over a hundred responses to the survey, and were pleased to learn that there is a strong desire in the Network to volunteer during inland response, despite the difficulties that come with responding in remote locations.

Chart_Q4_170504-1Notably, 75% of survey responses indicated people would be willing to volunteer for full day shifts instead of the usual 4 hour shift.  This is important since it will be difficult to get many volunteers mobilized to more remote areas, and the willingness to work longer shifts means that we need fewer total volunteers each day.  Additionally, we found that if we are able to provide accommodations and reimburse travel expenses, volunteer interest and availability increases dramatically.  This is something that we will be taking into account when we plan for volunteers at future inland responses.

Finally, we read through all the comments, which were very helpful.  Many of you are interested in more training on how to handle inland species, and many others had comments discussing how providing accommodations would really help – some were even willing to stay in tents during inland responses!  Thank you to everyone who had a chance to respond to the survey, and know that this information is very valuable to us as we build our inland program.


OWCN Member Organization Engagement

NEW California Map shutterstock_135005765 [Converted]

The Oiled Wildlife Care Network’s Member Organizations

As a member of the OWCN management team located at UC Davis, I am often asked a very simple question: What is the Oiled Wildlife Care Network?  While the answer may seem relatively simple, I find myself often providing a long winded response, as I attempt to portray that the OWCN is a united force composed of diverse organizations that individually excel but collectively impress.  In the words of Aristotle, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.

So along with a strong pride for this cohesive resource comes a responsibility to support and engage our member organization community.  While many are likely aware of our public outreach efforts, others may not realize that we also offer internal outreach which we have chosen to term engagement. Member organization engagement provides a fantastic opportunity for OWCN management staff to connect directly with our member organization’s staff and volunteers (some of which are current OWCN responders, others are hopefully future responders).  The format and presentation style of these engagement events can be customized based on the specific member organization involved, but often consists of an informational overview presentation to both staff and volunteers with a specific highlight on how folks can get further involved and properly pre-trained for spill response.

We have already lined up a few of these events in the coming months with member organizations, including:

  • April 28th – The Marine Mammal Center
  • May 21st – Monterey Bay Aquarium & Marine Wildlife Veterinary Care and Research Center
  • August 12th – Lindsay Wildlife Experience

If you are involved with a member organization listed above and wish to learn more about the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, make sure to attend!

If you believe your member organization would benefit from hosting an OWCN engagement event this year, please let us know by emailing us at spbuhl@ucdavis.edu.

Cheers to our amazing member orgs!


National Volunteer Month

Volunteer recruitment poster from the Marine Mammal Center.

Volunteer recruitment poster from the Marine Mammal Center.

April is National Volunteer Month, and the OWCN staff would like to extend a big thank you to all the pre-trained volunteers in our network! We truly believe that we have the greatest volunteers out there. We are lucky enough to receive volunteers from all of our 30+ amazing Member Organizations around the state – so we get the best of the best on our responder list!

Nancy Mix of International Bird Rescue takes a break from volunteering with a feathered friend.

Nancy Mix of International Bird Rescue takes a break from volunteering with a feathered friend.

The OWCN is unique because we don’t get to see our volunteer’s faces very often during non-spill times. We have an online relationship with you all, with the occasional meet up at Oilapalooza, drills, and outreaches. It makes it that much more difficult to accurately reflect our gratitude for all the hard work that each volunteer puts in toward being prepared for oiled wildlife response. That being said, we would like you all to know that we actually do see the effort each volunteer puts into their training, and we are aware of how dedicated each of you are to your Member Organization, and to the wildlife in California.

A virtual flowered thank you to all our volunteers!

A virtual flowered thank you to all our volunteers!

So as a reward for all our fantastic pre-trained oiled wildlife volunteers, we send virtual flowers of gratitude (see picture), and urge you all to treat yourself to some ice cream, or a massage, or dinner and a movie, or a new book, or all of the above – you certainly deserve it! And the next time you see any OWCN staff visiting your organization, please come say hi, so we can have the chance to talk in person.