From President’s Report

Filling the President’s Shoes

The IWRC has seen many presidents in the last 40 years, all with their unique perspectives, well-established reputations and drive to pursue the organization’s mission of providing education and resources to support the field of wildlife rehabilitation.

I have some very big shoes to fill as the president. I remember being brought on the board in 2008 as the youngest board member at the time to represent new rehabilitators to the field. This opportunity was challenging but allowed me access to a network of experienced wildlife rehabilitators, which would prove to be invaluable and have a great influence in the care and protocols I established for the birds we admit to Le Nichoir.

Sue Wylie examining a mourning dove
IWRC Board President Sue Wylie examines a mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) in her role as Executive Director of Le Nichoir in Quebec, Canada.

Even after being in this field for over 10 years (not long compared to some of our members!) as both a rehabilitator and wildlife biologist I still consider myself a novice. There is always more to learn; whether you are new to the field, or have been practicing for a very long time, we are constantly learning new information and changing accordingly. Our passion for wildlife drives us to learn more, to improve our work and to teach others what we know. The ultimate result is to offer wildlife casualties a more humane, appropriate form of care that means we will be releasing better prepared, more viable animals back into the wild and we will be confident that our job was well done.

Projects such as the revision of courses including Basic Wildlife Rehabilitation, developing new resources and increasing networking among individuals in the field are just some of ways IWRC is supporting its members and contributing to the bigger picture of wildlife conservation.

IWRC is the international hub of wildlife rehabilitation, and I look forward to continuing to work hard, contribute to these projects, and represent the IWRC the best that I can so that we can increase our visibility and continue to support rehabilitators worldwide.

The board and I are always available to you to help you in any way that we can. Do not hesitate to contact us through the office at 866.871.1869 and visit our bios on our website

President’s Report Fall 2011

From the President’s desk
I am writing this letter from my aunt’s garden in England, for the most part hearing strange bird calls with the odd one I recognize. All punctuated with that odd sound squirrels make, yes I do recognize those, our grey squirrel, now a problem species here in the UK. I have been in Ireland  to attend the Irish Wildlife Rehabilitation Conference and present the IWRC’s Basic Course to a small group of Irish wildlife rehabbers. What a thrill for me to teach the course, but of course I was somewhat  concerned about the differences in species. North American species present no problems, however, my knowledge of species around the world is sufficient to recognize families, but not necessarily species. So my first port of call was the Irish Natural History museum in Dublin. One floor is devoted to the species of Ireland, all collected, read mostly shot and mounted, by the Victorians. It was interesting to see the dates on the specimens which ranged from the mid 1800’s into the early 1900’s. In many specimens, the bullet holes were evident.  It was sad to see, and as one person pointed out, it is locally called the dead zoo. However, it did provide me with a valuable look at the range of species Irish wildlife rehabbers deal with. Not surprisingly, many were either the same or close relatives to those in North America. Sometimes the names stumped me, but looking at the scientific names helped. So, the northern diver is North America’s common loon, Gavier immer. The reality is that the principles of professional wildlife rehab are the same all over the world. But now I was prepared and could use local names and give related species as I presented IWRC’s flagship course. It was such a pleasure to present  it to our colleagues. The course finished, we had a bat box making session. Mine is going to be winging its way over the pond, if I can fit it in my luggage. And that will be quite a challenge.
I then met up with fellow IWRC board member Adam Grogan and attended the conference itself. I had been asked to give several talks, which were fun to prepare and present. The first day was a general rehabbers day, a great chance for the rehab community to get together. The second day was geared to the veterinary community, nurses and vets, with continuing education credit for attending. All in all, it was simply wonderful, of course the accents were amazing too. Next leg, I travelled with Adam to Mallydams near Hastings in southern England. This is one of the RSPCA’s wildlife rehab centers. Again, I presented the Basic Wildlife Rehab course to a small group of rehabbers.  Nights were also special, local pubs and pub meals, pub quizzes, and badger watching. I had the privilege of seeing 5 wild badgers. What a thrill. This week I have so much to look forward to also with visits to my old stomping ground, London Zoo, and several rehab centers, along with a meeting about the plight of oiled birds with the RSPB. I am looking forward to an update on that awful disaster on Tristan de Cunha. The mortality will understandably be high as this is a very remote region with few resources.
It is a treat to meet a so many rehabbers, Irish, English and Scottish, plus a Polish veterinarian! No matter where we are in the world, rehabbers are all committed to the same things; caring for the wildlife we admit, relieving pain and suffering, and growing healthy vibrant youngsters up to become good wild citizens, heading off to live free and wild and make babies.
Back in North America, the Educational Symposium is coming up fast. You can check out the IWRC website for the details. Of course many IWRC members are still inundated with patients. Hopefully you can hand over any late admissions to team members and join us in Florida, the line up is looking great. One other activity we need to work on is the Annual General Meeting. This is required by IWRC by-law and is also an opportunity to report on the state of IWRC. It is also the time to have nominations from the floor for board membership.  If you have skills and time to share them, please consider joining the board. The thing to remember is the time factor. This is a working board and to keep IWRC vibrant, fiscally responsible and relevant to our community takes work. Meetings, both in person and by phone or skype, keep us connected and moving forward. Committee membership is required, so you will need to factor those commitments in if you are considering joining. Plus there is a financial commitment. IWRC does not cover costs associated with meetings. Currently we have a weekend meeting in March or April, plus a meeting at the Symposium. Given the amount of work we cover, there is also a potential to reinstate a third in person meeting. Most months we also get together by phone or skype. The committees also often use skype for their meetings, which does help with cost.  Do you have the time? Can you bring needed skills? Talk to Kai for further information or submit a nomination at
The Basic course  review is coming along. I will ask the committee involved about the images they are seeking and let you know, in case you can help. Digital photography has really revolutionized our world, allowing us to share our cases, both in seeking help and advice, as well as helping our colleagues learn from our experiences.   So please keep taking photos and sharing them with us all.
Talking of courses. The Course Development Committee is really steaming ahead with several new courses in the works. We will prepare a review of them for presenting at the Symposium and then have them available for all IWRC members in the website.
Requests for input to various research projects are occasionally sent to Kai. She will be placing them on the IWRC website. Please have a look, they may be things that are of interest to you personally, and of course, help our wildlife.
Finally, do take time to smell the roses. It is so hard to keep that space for you when every where you turn there is a mouth open waiting for food, a cage to clean, a phone ringing. We are such a special bunch of people because we do give so much of ourselves. From experience however, I can tell you that taking special time to nurture ourselves is well worth it. I am now off to smell the roses! See you in Florida.
PS Are there any veterinarians interested in joining IWRC’s Board of Directors? Please contact me asap.

President’s Report Summer 2011

Dear Colleagues
Summer is at its height in the Northern Hemisphere and rehab centers are loaded with babies and injured adults to care for, and a phone that never stops.  We often forget to take time to care for ourselves.  Having been there and gotten many tee-shirts, I can only ask you, my dear colleagues, to try and take time for yourselves.  Some years ago, I wrote a talk entitled ‘Stress, burnout, compassion fatigue, and adrenal fatigue – the dark side of rehab’ (yes it is a bit like do as I say and not as I do!).  In preparing for this, I asked colleagues on a rehab chat line for input, what are the worst issues you face and how do you de-stress.  One reply still resonates and I have endeavored to use it in my life.  This wise person takes time for an unbreakable date with her husband each evening, meeting on the deck at 6pm, time for being together.  My translation is nibbles, a drink, maybe a fruit juice spritzer, and M*A*S*H re-runs with my husband, so calling me between 5 and 6pm may not be a good thing.  We chat, catching up on the day and deciding what supper will be if there are no left-overs in the fridge.  Magic!  I look forward to this special time and always feel recharged afterwards.
IWRC has been busy with planning for the 2011 Symposium.  Kai and Kim will let you know the details as soon as the plans are finalized.  I look forward to meeting you in Florida this November.  Maybe we can try meeting for a drink at 5!
Bookings for courses are also keeping us busy.  Don’t forget to check out the in person courses that may be coming to your region.  On-line courses are also being revamped and released.  There are several new and very exciting courses in the works.  Kai will let you know more next week.
Instructor Team
Did you know that all of IWRC’s instructors are Certified Wildlife Rehabilitators (CWR)?  We, yes me too, have all sat this on-line exam, designed to challenge our knowledge and ensure that a pass really is quite an achievement.  IWRC is also proud to welcome new instructors on board.  If you are interested in preparing for this exam, the Basic Course is a great start.  Check out the locations of up-coming classes.  None near you?  How about hosting one?  Contact Kim at
The Basic Course needs your help (and Nutrition Course too).
This wonderful course is in need of an update which will be tackled later on this year.  But we need images to update the PowerPoint.  Can you help please?  Topics cover a wide range, as any of you who have taken this class know, and you probably remember that many of the photos are looking rather ancient!  So, this summer, take lots of photos and share your high quality digital images with us and other rehabbers.  Topic we need digital images for include: facilities, caging, flight caging, housing, diseases, general images of wild animals, babies of all sorts, injuries, release sites and releases, laboratory set-up, digital X-ray images, safety equipment, and any thing else you would like to share with us.  We would also like to to place some of the images not used in the course in the IWRC Members site as a resource available for browsing.  Please let Kai know who took the images so we can ensure they are acknowledged correctly.  Email images to
The Nutrition Course is also up for review and I would like to bring more images into this course also.  So think about any photos that would be of use to illustrate nutritional issues.  Have you received an animal with severe nutritional deficiencies?  How about feather damage?  Fractures?  Please take those photos and send them to Kai.
Talking nutrition, calcium is often an underdone component of our young wildlife diets.  You can simply use your egg shells for your charges.  If they come from boiled eggs, simply dry them and grind them up.  If uncooked, bake them for 20 minutes at 250°F, grind them up and store them in a container.  Place a little egg shell in all your cages allowing your charges the chance to add calcium to their diet as needed.  Deer antlers are great calcium sources for small mammals.
Thinking about courses, a new series of webinars are going to be added to the IWRC Members section.  The first one should be out next week.  It is the first in a new series called ‘Almost everything you wanted to know…’.  These webinars address topics we all need to know something about, the first one – Needles and Syringes.  The next – Reading a pharmaceutical label.  I have to admit, I learned lots too as I pulled them together.  Plus it was fun to do these units.  Are you interested in helping?  One I am working on is – how to identify that white stuff in that bird’s mouth.  Contact Kai.
In the works are a special series in the ‘Almost everything…’ group – Wildlife Disease Webinars.  We are hoping to enlist veterinary students to help prepare them.  However, we need your help too.  Let us know what wildlife diseases are of concern in your area.  What species are affected and what common names are used for this disease.  Also, do you have any contact with your local vet school?  We would love to ensure that they are in our database.  This series could be a great class project and the benefits ongoing for years to come.  Email Kim at if you have a vet school contact to share.
The webinars are all going to be translated into French and Spanish.  However, I don’t want to wear out our 2 volunteer translators, so do you know someone who can help with these languages?  It would also be useful if they are prepared to simply review the translation.  My hope is that we can also translate the webinars into other languages, Mandarin and Cantonese being two languages that would be so exciting to offer these in – OK I know, dreaming in Technicolor again, but if we don’t, nothing changes.  So if you dream too, and can help, let me know.
I was really excited when Kai asked me to look over the book titles she was considering purchasing for the on-line store.  There really is nothing like a great reference book on the shelf, something to turn to for help and ideas.  Let her know at if you need other titles.  I am looking for a new drug formulary.  What ones do you find most useful?
A new Database for State, Provincial, and Territory contacts (and beyond)
We are developing a new database for our membership of all the contact information, current regulations for registering a rehab center, relevant wildlife rehabilitation laws and regulations for the USA and Canada.  This is a huge undertaking and needs help to make it happen.  Board member, Brenda Harms is preparing a template to ensure we cover all the bases as we develop this informational database.  Are you interested in helping with the information for your State, Province, or Territory?  We can send you the template as soon as it is ready.  Or you can send Kim the email contact for your permitting office.  Any regulations or web based forms will also be of great use to your colleagues.  Not in the USA or Canada?  Send your government’s information along.  It might be a very long while before we have information available worldwide, but we can start with the countries with IWRC members!  Email information to
Don’t forget to protect yourself through these long days of hard work, never ending demands for your time and expertise, and always one more job to do.  Sleep all you need, eat well and don’t forget to laugh, maybe one of our greatest gifts for de-stressing.  I hope you can plan a break with all of us in Florida this November.  If this is not a possibility, do make time for time out, you deserve it.
My very best to you all,

President’s Report Spring 2011

Dear Colleagues;

Thank goodness we can do this electronically and don’t have to chop down any trees! It is just there seems to be so much to talk about. So let me begin with a Thank You.

THANK YOU to our out going president, Dody Wyman. Dody devoted many years to the board of directors and began transitions that are paying dividends today. But she has not escaped and is chairing the Course Development Committee (CDC) – more about that group later.

Now to our present board. Let me introduce everyone to you. Please check out the IWRC website for comprehensive bios on your board.

Harry Kelton, Vice-President. Harry has a wealth of knowledge in many fields and is truly special.  Check out Harry’s bio on IWRC’s website. He is amazing.

Brenda Harms, Secretary. New to rehab, and a wonderful resource to IWRC with her background in the law. Brenda has taken on the job of secretary and has made a huge difference to our understanding of the many aspects involved in this job. To work as a legal entity, IWRC must explore the many rules and regulations governing an organization that boasts a membership world-wide. Brenda is making this so easy because she understands all the big words used in legalese.

Earl Fox. Treasurer. A new addition to the board, Earl has taken on this extremely important task. In this, he is supported by the Finance committee. It is such an important role and we are delighted Earl is on board.

Randie Segal. Co-chair of the Symposium committee and maker of the best foot baths (want to know more, see me at the conference). Home is sometimes the ‘Songbird’ a wonderful bus, sometimes Arizona and sometimes Wisconsin. Take a guess at when those residences are occupied! Here’s a hint, it looks as if Randie does not like snow!

Deb Teachout. Veterinarian and all round good egg. Deb is in her last termon the board. We will miss you. Deb also was involved with making the Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator exam a reality. I am so delighted that IWRC has made this exam a professional qualification to be proud off. It is no
romp in the park, but a great feeling to pass it.

Mary Seth. Masks’r’us. Mary made sure we had some great laughs at last year’s Symposium with fun masks that brought some stunned looks, and then laughter when she and her gang crashed the classes in progress. What’s next Mary???  Mary also is a very active rehabber and often shares wonderful cases with us.

Melissa Matassa-Stone. As an engineer, precision is Melissa’s world, and it is this expertise we see coming to the foreground as Melissa chairs the Development committee. I have also learned so much about how to run a meeting from you, thank you.

Susan Wylie. A very active bird rehabber and amazing organizer. Susan also co-chairs the Symposium committee, and helps to bring together many aspects we all love including the silent auction goodies to be perused at the annual Symposium.

Adam Grogan. Our newest board member. We have been waiting on Adam to be able to join the board for some time. He is based in England with the RSPCA’s wildlife rehabilitation program. With Adam joining, I am no longer the only oddly accented person on the board. Adam is also on the Symposium committee and very involved in the program of presentations.

Finally, me, Lynn Miller. Growing up in New Zealand, I never thought I would be living in Canada, pursuing my passion in caring for our wildlife. I also have the very great privilege to be an IWRC instructor for many years meeting many wonderful rehabbers, sharing knowledge, tears and laughter. Thank you.
For more  information check out the board bio’s on IWRC’s website.

IWRC Staff. We are so fortunate to have Kai Williams as Executive Director extraordinaire! She is aided by Kim Forrest. Together, they are helping IWRC on so many levels, as well as making sure you get to talk to a real person, quite a pleasure in this age of automated services. Thank you both for your hard work and dedication.

The Journal is wildlife rehabilitation’s only peer reviewed publication.
Kieran Lindsey guides its production, ensuring high quality information
available for all of us. The next issue was recently published, and announced in the April Newsletter. Go to the IWRC website and log in to access JWR.

This is a working board and everyone is extremely involved in many committees and activities. The following committees groups are all working on a diversity of aspects involving IWRC. They are all open to new members, and we encourage anyone contemplating becoming involved with IWRC to consider
joining a committee. These committees are all very active and if one appeals to you, please contact Kai at
Course Development Committee. Chaired by Dody Wyman. This dedicated team works very hard to bring new courses into being. The courses begin in one of several ways. One way may be a person with expertise is willing to write a course and approaches the CDC, or the committee has identified a subject and a writer is then sought. That is only the beginning. With a draft course in hand, the CDC puts it through the peer review process where it is evaluated by other experts. Their comments are then reviewed and incorporated into the course. This ensures the course is of extremely high quality and meets the needs of the rehab community.
Symposium Committee.  Co-chaired by Sue Wylie and Randie Segal.  If you have attended a conference, you see the end product, but the reality is that a huge amount of work goes into making it successful. IWRC’s Symposium committee has many aspects within its mandate; the program, the location, fun events, the dinner and silent auction.
Development Committee.  Chaired by Melissa Matassa-Stone.  It takes money to develop and update the courses that serve our mission.  This committee has recently put together a Development Plan that looks at fundraising on several fronts, including applying for grants and to foundations, seeking corporate support, and of course filling our membership in on the benefit of private donations to meet IWRC goals.  Keep an eye out for more information in the IWRC newsletter and website!  We are actively looking for a few enthusiastic committee members who have fundraising and marketing experience to help IWRC to keep our programs current, plentiful and serving membership needs.

Finance Committee. Chaired by Earl Fox.  IWRC has been making its financial reporting and practices a priority. Ensuring bookkeeping practices are current and governmental reporting needs are met, takes time. This committee is preparing a Finance manual to aid the treasurer and executive director in their activities.

Ethics Committee. Randie Segal and Deb Teachout. The ethics committee is in place to help guide and evaluate issues that relate to ethics or ethical situations. If you are interested in this aspect of our work as rehabbers, please let Kai know.

States, Provinces and Territories Committee. Chaired by Brenda Harms. One question we often hear is “how do I go about getting my permit?” One way IWRC can help is by setting up a members section which has all the relevant information for each State, Province and Territory. Brenda is currently working on the template for this section. However, we need help to make this
undertaking a reality. The information we hope to provide is only one part of this undertaking. We also need to have member ambassadors for each of the States, Provinces and Territories. IWRC can then ensure meetings, conferences, and local information is relayed from these ambassadors to our
membership. Interested in helping, please let Kai know.

International Committee. Steering committee chaired by Mikal Deese. To ensure IWRC reaches out to our colleagues in the rehab community all over our planet, this committee will set up a framework to ensure International committee members come on knowing the goals of this committee. Essentially IWRC knows that the material that we find relevant here in the North American sphere may not be so in Katmandu or Veracruz. So by working with our colleagues in as many countries as possible, we can all learn from each other, finding equivalencies, and alternatives that are realistic for the many different regions. We have a Canadian, Caribbean, and USA rep, now we need rehab colleagues in as many countries as possible.

Scientific Advisory Panel Committee. Chaired by Kristin Madden. Have you ever wondered about an odd behavior in your foxes, a disease that seems new in your raccoons, or how a cliff swallow fledges? But who to turn to? This committee is mandated to approach experts in a wide range of subjects, introduce them to IWRC and invite them to share their expertise with our membership.

Educational Webinars.  We are starting to develop mini courses available free to our members only. Under the working title ‘Almost everything you wanted to know about …’ the first mini course is now with the review team. Also, these courses will be available in English, Spanish and French with other languages being added as we reach out to members world-wide. So the first mini-course subject – Needles and syringes. Subjects discussed for additional mini-courses; what is that white spot in your birds mouth?; Disinfection; rehydration fluids; IM and SQ injections; gavage; bandaging; physical exams; microscopes and how to use them; ruptured airsacs; illustrated glossary; you get the picture, how about helping? Contact Kai.

We also have another new member section underway.

The monographs on North American mammals will bring a wealth of biological data together, species by species. We are hoping to add much more to this section. More to come.

Interested in what is happening in, say, Nepal? A new section will post newsletters and information from all over our world. Do you know of a great publication that highlights the world of rehabilitation and conservation that can be added to this section? You know who to contact!

There is so much happening at IWRC. Are you interested in becoming more involved? Contact Kai and let her know what interests you. Also, keep visiting IWRC’s website, there’s lots more to come.

Lastly, don’t forget to check out news for the 2011 Symposium. Plan your holiday to relax from your rehab season and pre-holiday craziness by joining us in Florida this November. It will be a wonderful gathering, packed with great classes, lectures, networking and social events.
Meantime, I know many of you are already busy, caring for your wild patients. Don’t forget to care for yourself too, we all need you.