Elise Gundlach

Incoming Board Member Spotlight

How did you initially become involved with IWRC and why did you choose to become involved on a board level?

I first heard about the IWRC while working as an intern at Wildlife Center of Virginia. There I learned about the Basics class, some of the book materials, and what the Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator exam was. After that, I got my CWR and supervised a Practicum for the interns at WildCare Oklahoma. Education was something my grandparents really instilled in my family and in turn fostered my love for teaching and learning. With IWRC being one of the leading providers of training for the field, I’ve fully supported and appreciated what they have done and wanted to play a larger role in their mission.

Describe a specific area of interest or a particular passion within the scope of IWRC’s mission.

One of the areas I have always been passionate about is the CWR exam. Many other fields have certifications and licensing and years of training to become what they are. Unfortunately wildlife rehabilitation does not have that or it varies by location. The CWR is a great way to professionalize the field of wildlife rehabilitation.

Describe a skill that you have that has been surprisingly useful to your work as a wildlife rehabilitator?

One skill I have that has really helped me as a wildlife rehabilitator is my patience. While this is something that without a doubt helps with animals, it is also pivotal in working with people. When I started in the wildlife rehab field I did not necessarily work with the public, but over time  that changed. Sometimes rehabilitation starts with the people who find the animals first, educating them or giving them instructions in a high stress situation. Patience is a must in these instances, as sometimes the public can present more challenges than the animals in care.

Describe a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.

One of the accomplishments I consider the most significant to my career would be implementing a reptile egg incubation program at WildCare Oklahoma. While this may not seem very large it stands out to me, because it served as a stepping stone to other accomplishments and events that would not have happened otherwise.  After implementing the program we had a closer working relationship with the Oklahoma City Zoo thanks to a partnership in hatching Texas Horned Lizard Eggs. It also opened the door for me to speak at conferences and other events nationally and locally.

If you were to do something else professionally, what would it be?

If I never became a wildlife rehabilitator I think I would have really enjoyed a career involving engineering. I really enjoy building things and finding out how things work.

If you could be a wild animal, which would you be?

I would be an Arctic Tern, mainly because I love to travel. They are one of the longest migrating birds in the world, traveling from the Arctic to the Antarctic each year.

What is the thing for which you have waited in line the longest?

I’ve had to stand in lines for hours in order to get front row during general admission at concerts before. I would highly recommend front row at least once in your life for a band you really enjoy.