Rebecca Moore, curator of animal programs at the James. H Barrow Biological Field Station, writes on the budding excitement spring brings each year and the dedication involved with Hiram’s wildlife rehabilitation program.

Spring is here, and the beautiful songs of Ohio’s native songbirds can be heard far and wide.  As wildlife rigorously prepare for the birth of their young, the wildlife rehabilitation program at the James H. Barrow Biological Field Station gears up for an influx of orphaned and injured wildlife during the spring and summer. 

Working under the leadership or our partner, Lake Metroparks Wildlife Center, Hiram’s conservation program, which is a public service serving Northeastern Ohio, admits over 150 native animals for care.  Student workers and interns in the animal care and husbandry department at the Field Station will provide medical treatment, housing, and long-term care for these animals until they are ready for release.  This program accepts native songbirds, raptors, waterfowl, reptiles and amphibians, and a variety of orphaned mammals, including opossums, squirrels, bunnies, and chipmunks.  Rabies-vector species such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats are not accepted due to state restrictions.  There are three main goals to this program including rehabilitating wildlife for release back into the wild where they belong, educating the public about the natural history of native wildlife and threats to their populations, and how humans can help support and conserve wildlife. 

The wildlife rehabilitation program provides a unique experience for student interns.  It is truly an immersion in experiential learning as students learn species ID, especially with songbirds, as they are caring for the animals on a daily basis.  Students also see first-hand the impact humans have on wildlife since many of the admitted animal injuries are caused by humans.  Examples include car collisions, window strikes, habitat destruction, pesticide poisoning, and cat/dog attacks. Due to the severity of some injuries, students are trained in animal first aid including fluid therapy, tube feeding, injections, and administering medications.  For pre-vet students, this training sets them apart from many other pre-vet programs and gives all student workers the opportunity to gain unique experience in the animal field.

As this program continues to grow as more human/wildlife conflict occurs, a need for student workers interested in helping wildlife will be imperative to the future success of this program. The joy and satisfaction that results from all of the dedication and hard work students put forth to save wildlife is immeasurable. 

If you are interested in helping support our wildlife rehabilitation program, please contact Rebecca Moore at Moorer1@hiram.edu