By: Lauren Vincent, Class of 2023
Milkweed is a native Illinois perennial plant that serves a unique role in our backyard ecosystems and across the country. This plant is the only host for Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) making it critical for their survival. With progressive urbanization and habitat loss, milkweed distribution has plummeted, bringing the monarch populations down with it.
As students prepare for the second half of this spring semester, the Wildlife Medical Clinic is undergoing some big personnel changes. Third year students are moving onto their 4th (and final) year of the veterinary medicine curriculum and will no longer be volunteering at the WMC. One of these students is our senior Student Manager, Erica Bender. She’s mentored hundreds of students over her two years managing every aspect of the clinic’s operations. Over the next year, she will be completing several externships to hone her skills as a veterinarian. We interviewed Erica about her time at the WMC and learned about what the future has in store for her!
Erica has worked with large and small patients! This is one of the larger patients she’s worked with – a snapping turtle!
On behalf of the clinic’s students all the patients you’ve helped over the years, THANK YOU ERICA!
Where are you from?
I’m from the San Francisco Bay area in California.
Where did you go to undergrad?
I studied Biological Anthropology at UC San Diego. I like to joke that my major was mostly monkeys.
What initially sparked your interest in wildlife medicine? Continue reading
It can be easy to take our local wildlife for granted and have them blend into the scenery of our everyday lives. At the Wildlife Medical Clinic, we’re thankful we get to work with wildlife to treat their medical conditions and help relieve their pain. Here’s a list of 4 reasons we are thankful for our local wildlife, as some inspiration for what we do!
They’re masters at recycling
We appreciate how resourceful wild animals are! Birds and squirrels use twigs and fallen leaves to build their nests. Snakes take advantage of fallen logs and rocks to hide from predators. Opossums and raccoons are there to clean up fallen fruits. Carrion birds like turkey vultures and scavengers also play a role in keeping the environment clean, not letting anything go to waste. Continue reading