Wildlife First Responder Education Initiative

Introduction

Into The Outdoors' mission is to empower all youth, families, and teachers to make informed decisions by offering free educational content to inspire present and future generations to become social advocates and environmental stewards. For over twenty years, ITO has shared countless stories and perspectives by collaborating with subject matter experts to curate educational and inspiring messages that promote a positive appreciation for each other and our shared planet.

To raise awareness and promote the protection and humane care of injured or orphaned wildlife, ITO has partnered with the Department of Natural Resources and Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital to launch the Wildlife First Responder Education Initiative. If you are an organization or individual who believes all animals deserve professional, humane care, we encourage you to continue reading to learn how you can be a part of shaping the future of our wildlife care culture by helping us share the pivotal messages of wildlife care intervention.

As our society expands into various wilderness areas, wildlife is forced to either relocate or live in these new shared spaces. Over the years, both the DNR’s Wildlife Management Bureau and Wildlife Rehabilitation Facilities have independently discovered a series of challenges regarding the public’s proper first responder interaction with wildlife. Our initiative has determined the holistic solution to these challenges is to fill the void of public knowledge of wildlife first responder education. Below are the initiative’s goals, the reasons why these goals are imperative, and how we will achieve these goals through pivotal youth and educator education.

Initiative Goals At A Glance

1. Encourage wildlife care compassion, raise national awareness of the public resources and services available through wildlife rehabilitation organizations, and provide the proper procedures of how to collaborate with professional rehabilitation resources to provide first responder care for wildlife.

2. Nationally reshape the preconceptions of wildlife intervention within communities about proper wildlife care procedures by addressing misinformation and provide the proper dos-and-don’ts of wildlife care intervention.

3. Establish the credibility and community understanding of the professionalism of wildlife rehabilitation specialists by explaining the licensing process and collaboration between rehabilitation hospitals and the DNR.

4. Inspire future wildlife rehabilitation advocates by sharing the fulfillment discovered by playing a role in providing care for wildlife as well as empower advocates to take preventative measures in their environment to reduce the amount of wildlife injury and orphaning.

5. Empower advocates to pursue a career in wildlife care by explaining the career of wildlife rehabilitation specialists and wildlife management professionals and offering direction to prepare/embark on a wildlife care career path. This goal will also empower advocates to establish their own wildlife rehabilitation hospitals in the future by highlighting how to create a professional rehabilitation hospital based on Fellow Mortals’ professional, ethical, and sustainable model.

 

Achieving The Initiative’s Educational Goals

To achieve our educational goals, we are producing and nationally distributing a 30-minute wildlife-care and intervention documentary on ITO’s educational distribution network to educate a projected 20 million viewers across the country with expert advice about the importance of professional wildlife care, how to properly steward wildlife, and how to collaborate with wildlife care service providers. Alongside the episode, we are also developing and distributing corresponding classroom lesson plans, activities, and videos for educators to use as supplemental curriculum for elementary to high school students in classrooms and/or homes.

1. The first goal will encourage public compassion and spread knowledge of the fragile relationship we have with the other inhabitants of our planet by sharing the critical importance of proper wildlife care as it affects: our public and individual safety, the well-being of individual wildlife, the protection of wildlife populations, biodiversity, and ultimately the health of the planet’s ecosystems. The documentary will also raise national awareness of the widely available private and public wildlife rehabilitation organizations and services by showcasing case stories and expert interviews from Fellow Mortals Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital and the DNR who will authentically describe the services offered and how to properly utilize these services by making observations and calling for intervention advice. ITO’s audience will learn how these organizations offer 1-to-1 expert advice and free services to the public to educate individuals on the case-by-case procedures of wildlife care and intervention. By creating national societal awareness of these invaluable organizations and the services they provide, the public will have access to the proper information needed to properly collaborate with professionals to rehabilitate wildlife in the case of injury or orphaned.  



2. The second goal will correct the spread of intervention misinformation by providing an extensive and chronological explanation of the Dos-and-Don’ts of wildlife care interaction through several “start-to-finish-how-to” case narratives to highlight common and critical cases of injured and orphaned wildlife. The episode and lesson content will highlight the following proper ways (Do’s) to collaborate with rehabilitation hospitals provide care for wildlife:  

  1. Research to find the number for your local wildlife rehabilitators and your state’s DNR wildlife management bureau
  2. Observe behavior from a safe distance
  3. Call an expert immediately and follow their advice
  4. Prepare by acquainting yourself with species common to your area and natural history

The documentary will also address the following common misconceptions of wildlife care intervention (Don’ts) that create unsafe scenarios for humans and wildlife as well as reduce the effectiveness of wildlife hospitals to rehabilitate:

  1. Do not touch the wildlife
  2. Do not move unless advised to do so by experts
  3. Do not feed or water
  4. Do not live trap
  5. Do not seek advice from uncertified sources
  6. Do not give wildlife to anyone without asking for credentials
  7. Do not keep in your possession

The episode will also encourage viewers to play a role in the prevention of the spread of misinformation by empowering youth and educators to share these critical messages by word of mouth and by directing others to educational resources such as this episode/lesson content. To further foster a more humane treatment culture, the content will also promote celebration for individuals and organizations that practice safe and humane wildlife care procedures.


3. The third goal will establish professional credibility for wildlife rehabilitators by showcasing rehabilitation facilities and procedures to educate viewers about the process of becoming a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, including the necessary training, studying, testing and inspection required prior to licensing. The content will include interviews by experts who will highlight how the years of mentorship and practice result in extensive experiential knowledge of species, natural history, and behavior, as well as the knowledge of cause and treatment of injuries and preventative measures. The episode will also share the DNR’s Licensing Process of becoming a wildlife rehabilitator as well as shed light on the shared knowledge gained through the collaboration of rehabilitation hospitals, DNR teams, veterinarians, and universities.

The episode will also offer viewers an inside perspective of the challenges and solutions that wildlife rehabilitation hospitals face as they care for our communities by providing care for wildlife, challenges such as lack of community knowledge of wildlife care availability that prevents professionals from providing life-saving care, lack of funding for staff and operating costs, lack of other rehabilitation facilities, and the spread of misinformation about care intervention. The solutions to these challenges are: inform communities about the widely available resource of rehabilitation hospitals and provide instructions on how to interact with this professional resource, inspire individuals, communities, and organizations to help contribute funding to protect our wildlife by supporting our wildlife hospitals, empower advocates to launch their own professional rehabilitation hospital in their career’s future.


4. The fourth goal will empower future advocates by showcasing interviews from rehabilitation and wildlife management staff as they share their passion and joys discovered while helping wildlife. The content will also empower future advocates to be a part of wildlife conservation by providing a wildlife injury preventive education which highlights preventive measures that can be taken around homes and schools to reduce wildlife harm such as habitat and structure modifications, keeping buildings repaired, reducing the use of poison, reducing the use of glue traps, and addressing the orphaning issues of live-trapping.


5. The fifth goal will empower advocates to pursue a career in wildlife care by explaining the career of wildlife rehabilitation specialists and wildlife management professionals and offering direction to prepare/embark on a wildlife care career path. The content will educate the audience about the DNR’s Wildlife Management team and share critical ways they impact the population of wildlife to manage biodiversity to ensure sustainable ecosystems. The content will also empower advocates to establish their own wildlife rehabilitation hospitals in the future by highlighting how to create a professional rehabilitation hospital based on Fellow Mortals’ professional, ethical, and sustainable model.

Get Involved

  • As public and privately funded organizations collaborate to serve wildlife and our communities, they are faced with several challenges that can be mitigated through public education. The easiest way to get involved is to reach out to us and give a nod of approval through a comment or testimonial about the importance of wildlife rehabilitation and conservation education.

  • By nationally fostering an informed and compassionate culture together, we will cultivate an environment where wildlife rehabilitation hospitals and DNR services can be more efficient and effective as they rehabilitate and protect wildlife and our planet's ecosystems. If you are passionate to play a vital role to foster this culture, we invite you to help us spread these critical messages by supporting us with a contribution to fund the production.

  • We envision a day where all individuals know how to properly respond to wildlife in distress. Help us achieve that day by getting involved to spread awareness of this message, initiative, and project-- if you know of an individual or organization who shares our beliefs and determination to promote a more compassionate and informed society, please invite them to connect with us so we can include their perspective and expertise in the content.

 

We truly appreciate your passion and thank you for your time to learn more about our education initiative and project. We are excited to connect with you to share these pivotal messages together,

 

-The Wildlife Care Coalition

 

To learn more and/or get involved, please email lodh@discovermediaworks.com