Response and Preparedness Carries On With Trainings Throughout Global Pandemic

The Response and Preparedness Team – even during COVID-19 in-person restrictions – has been as busy as ever, offering trainings all over the world: from Israel to Canada to Alaska.

As a global conservation organization, Bird Rescue’s goal is to inspire and train the next generation of waterbird rehabilitators, researchers, and emergency responders. In 2022 the Bird Rescue team has been making headway on this goal; providing trainings to grow the pre-trained volunteer pool, including“Oiled Wildlife First Response Training” for clients and global colleagues.

Using the Zoom interface, Barbara Callahan, Senior Director of Response and Preparedness, and Michelle Bellizzi, Response Manager, have been honing their skills as virtual trainers by providing several trainings throughout the pandemic. They started the year with a two-day, virtual training for about 60 wildlife rehabilitators and transporters from the Wildlife Rescue Society of Saskatchewan (WRSOS). They will be hosting a follow-up training for the group later this month.

In February, they  provided a day-long training on oiled wildlife to the Israeli Wildlife Hospital (IWH) in Tel Aviv. This training was geared toward teaching both their veterinary and rehabilitation staff about medical stabilization of oiled wildlife. A second training will focus on an in-depth discussion on cleaning and reconditioning oil impacted wildlife.

During the height of the two year old pandemic, the team stopped all in-person training. As COVID-19 numbers receded last fall, they did the first in-person training in October 2021 with an Oiled Wildlife First Response Training in Ketchikan, Alaska. This was in support of Bird Rescue’s longtime client, SEAPRO, who hosted the live, two-day training. More than 50 people attended this training. The Ketchikan training proved so popular that Bird Rescue will provide additional in-person training in both Sitka and Juneau, Alaska. Those are scheduled for April 2022.

These training efforts build a much needed pre-trained volunteer base in Alaska. Preparing for a wildlife emergency is an important part of our work.Trainings like these connect us to  potential wildlife responders who may one day help us fulfill our mission to rescue waterbirds in crisis as a part of our Oil Spill Response Team.