WMC Conservation Newsletter Summer 2018- Student Spotlight

Student Conservation Spotlight: Kathleen Rafferty and her last straw

Kathleen attending to an injured osprey in the Wildlife Medical Clinic

At the beginning of this year, after learning that Americans use 500 million straws per day, Kathleen and a few friends made the decision to be environmentally conscious and reduce their plastic consumption by avoiding single-use plastic straws and switching to reusable stainless-steel straws. As it turned out, interest among her peers was high, and Kathleen distributed about 60 SS straws. With the average person using 1.6 straws per day, that equals over 35,000 straws saved per year or 81 pounds of plastic per year.

After seeing first-hand the effects of excessive plastic use while scuba diving in Florida, Kathleen became interested in conservation at a young age. She found Inspiration in the documentary Sharkwater by the late filmmaker and shark conservationist Rob Stewart where she learned that humans are responsible for the destruction of 99% of some shark species populations. Kathleen plans to use her DVM to contribute to the One Health initiative and wildlife conservation. “Which may include learning more about the harmful effects of plastic and human affiliated toxins in the environment,” says Kathleen, “At the end of the day, pollution not only negatively impacts our wildlife, but our human health as well.” –Know a student who incorporates conservation into their everyday lives? Let us know who they are, and they could be in our Student Conservation Spotlight.

Continue reading: WMC_newsletter_may2018

Kate Keets VM2021

WMC Conservation Chair

It Takes A Village!

While the weather may not agree, the wild animals of Illinois seem to have decided that springtime is here! Our clinic is once again filling with orphaned infant and juvenile animals in need of care. At the same time, our student volunteers are coming to the end of the school year and have been studying for their last rounds of exams. So how do you split the care of these orphans between those already crunched for time? Hard work and organization!

Some orphans, like this litter of 8 baby Virginia opossums, need to be fed 5 times a day at 7 a.m., noon, 4 p.m., 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

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Thank You Volunteers!

The Vet Med team posing for a picture before heading off to clean up various parts of Urbana-Champaign. Thank you to all volunteers!

This weekend, members of the community braved the chilly morning for the annual Boneyard Creek Community Day! It was a rewarding morning spent collecting waste from various parts of Urbana-Champaign, making our public spaces a better place for both humans and wildlife to spend their time. A special thank you to the Vet Med students who took the time even though midterms are just around the corner! We’re already looking forward to next year.