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Sounds of Summer

At this time of year our wards are packed with injured and orphaned animals and the halls are filled with interns.  WRC is a hopping place.  From my office, which happens to be located below our baby raccoon ward, the sound of chattering and squealing raccoons never stops. I n the background are the noises from our other animal wards: the strident caw of crows, the staccato of a pileated woodpecker drumming and the melodic symphony of dozens of songbirds.

For the most part I’m used to these noises; after all we have animals in the building year-round.

But what struck me today as I was passing through our volunteer lounge was a new sound.  Someone was chattering away in German and another person was happily talking with her family in Spanish.  The sounds of summer have taken on a new accent in recent years: the sound of foreign students Skyping with their families and friends telling them about their daily experiences here at WRC.

When I pause and think about this, it’s truly amazing to realize the international reach that we have.  Five visiting veterinarians from Colombia, Taiwan, Norway, Sweden, and Austria are with us this summer; we also have students from the United Kingdom and Norway.  In the past month we’ve had visitors from rehabilitation centers in China and South Korea.  WRC’s has established itself as an international go-to source for wildlife biology and vet students.

And students come from all over the United States, too.  We’re welcoming 12 fourth-year vet students from seven different schools this summer.  The course that we host in conjunction with the UMN’s Veterinary College is bringing in another four first-year vet students later this summer.

I’m pleased that we’re accomplishing a major part of our mission: to share our knowledge with others.  And I’m happy that these students are having a wonderful time while experiencing some of the best hands-on training they’ll ever have in their student careers.  It’s a tribute to our staff and our organization that WRC can provide this unique opportunity for students from around the globe.

caption: WRC Veterinarian Leslie Reed (right) examines a chickadee with visiting DVM Agnes Hutchinson (left) and Veterinary Student Sara Hofer. Hutchinson has just relocated to the Twin Cities from Austria and Hofer is a student at Iowa State.

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