Virginia Tech wildlife scholar applies his expertise to chook rehabilitation

Wildlife Conservation Chief Haley Olsen-Hodges treats a critically injured northern cardinal girl on the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Middle in Roanoke. Photograph by Ray Meese for Virginia Tech.

Should you hear a songbird behind a classroom or the flying hawk feathers throughout a lab, there is a good likelihood Haley Olsen-Hodges is considered one of your classmates.

A significant participant in wildlife conservation School of Pure Assets and the Setting, Olsen-Hodges is the uncommon scholar who brings a wealth of expertise working with birds and different animals to the classroom. Generally which means she brings the animals herself.

“I needed to take care of a number of animals in the course of the classes,” mentioned Olsen-Hodges. “At a bat lab for my mammalogy class, I obtained a falcon from a wildlife abductor and needed to type it. I had bluebirds and a child cardinal that wanted fixed feeding which made chirping each time I opened the field.

Olsen-Hodges, workers naturalist Roanoke Southwest Virginia Wildlife Middle, has been doing sensible work with birds for about ten years. Beginning as a highschool volunteer on the Middle for Wildlife in Want in Wisconsin and persevering with to wildlife rehab amenities in Iowa and Florida, she turned captivated with birds and devoted to understanding the science of wounded animal rehabilitation and the way whose effort could broaden our understanding of animal habits.

“In lots of wildlife rehabilitation amenities, the emphasis is on the medical facet of animal rehabilitation,” defined Olsen-Hodges, who has a Class IV rehabilitation license from the Virginia Division of Wildlife Assets. “One other necessary issue is the kind of pure historical past of every species and the way we are able to work with the traits to make sure that every animal will be efficiently rehabilitated with minimal stress to return to the wild. A giant a part of my function is to determine these challenges and to design how we’re going to handle animals sooner or later.

To assist on this effort, Olsen-Hodges has ready a “chook bible” – a complete protocol that synthesizes each exterior analysis and his personal experiences right into a reference information for caring for injured songbirds.

“Haley is a tremendous younger girl,” mentioned Sabrina Garvin, govt director and co-founder of the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Middle. “She is extraordinarily clever and has intensive information and abilities for working with wildlife. She’s the one one who can tackle a problem, run with it, and remedy it on her personal.

School Assistant Professor Kevin haamed by Virginia Tech’s Division of Fish and Wildlife Conservation added, “Haley is a tremendous scholar and a pleasure to have within the classroom. She is continually in search of subjects that we focus on throughout lectures at her personal tempo and brings new info to the classroom. As a wildlife rehabilitator she can be a wonderful instructor, and different college students respect the real-world experiences that she contributes to our lessons.

Olsen-Hodges, an authorized Virginia Grasp Naturalist, raised appreciable consciousness within the New River Valley, speaking concerning the necessary relationships between bugs and birds in Hokie BugFest to current wildlife rehabilitation to chook teams within the area. She has been a visitor lecturer at Roanoke School and the Radford College Scholar Part of the Wildlife Society.

Nearer to campus, she is an lively member of the Wildlife Society Virginia Tech Scholar Chapter, the Fowl Membership at Virginia Tech, and the college chapter of the Wildlife Illness Affiliation, the place she is president and treasurer of social media. She can be a part of the 2020-2021 cohort of the School of Pure Assets and Setting’s Management Institute.

Olsen-Hodges used his work with the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Middle to assist the second Virginia Breeding Fowl Atlas, a five-year citizen science survey that goals to map the placement and breeding standing of birds within the Commonwealth to tell avian conservation methods.

“Usually, volunteers signal as much as monitor a particular transect on the map,” she says. “I considered their efforts and realized that our heart was receiving numerous bodily proof: we’re introduced nests, eggs and infants and grownup birds, and we’re required to gather info on the date and time. ‘location of what’s introduced. thought, we have now this wonderful assortment of knowledge out there: how can we use it? “

Work with Ashley peele by Virginia Tech’s Institute of Conservation Administration, Coordinator of the Virginia Breeding Fowl Atlas program, Olsen-Hodges devised a protocol to make use of rehabilitation knowledge to complement the work volunteers and researchers have been doing within the subject.

Fostering such collaboration between researchers and rehabilitation specialists is an space that Olsen-Hodges, who will apply to graduate faculty upon completion of his undergraduate diploma, wish to discover additional.

“We stay in an more and more urbanized world the place folks have extra mutualistic interactions with wildlife,” she famous. “The rehabilitation works are a part of an attention-grabbing house between the science of wildlife and the broader challenges of the human dimension. My dream could be to discover a option to work as a liaison between researchers and folks in rehabilitation, in order that each events can be taught from one another and mutually create higher ends in wildlife conservation.

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