by Sara Zainer, Greenwood Wildlife Intern (2016)
Working as an intern at Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center has been an incredible experience thus far. Greenwood has given me the opportunity to work hands-on with wild animals, not only to save lives, but also to make a positive impact on Colorado’s wildlife community. I personally feel that this experience has allowed me to gain better knowledge and understanding of our wildlife population, how they behave, and what it truly means for them to survive and thrive.
My time at Greenwood has been mostly spent in the squirrel nursery, since it is baby squirrel season. As an intern, I have assisted with the intake of a good percentage of our baby squirrels, and have cared for all of them since they have been at the facility. As we personally name each squirrel to better keep track of the specific conditions and needs of each one of them, it is amazing to get to watch these little ones grow up right before my eyes. With their progress comes increased wild behaviors and instincts. This allows us to personally see the transition from helpless, motherless babies to fully self-sufficient adult squirrels ready to be released. There is no doubt that I have loved being a huge part of letting these squirrels go back into the wild, knowing that without us, their chance of survival would be little to none.
Before we truly had our hands full with baby squirrels, I feel like I got to participate and assist with a number of different animals and procedures. I helped provide care to bird and waterfowl species, bunnies, an opossum, and more. I feel like interning at Greenwood has opened my eyes to Colorado’s wildlife population, and I am encountering and learning about so many species I didn’t even know existed. As an intern, helping to provide care to animals can include anything from preparing meals to giving medication and drawing blood.
Overall, Greenwood really is an amazing place, and if it weren’t for them, hundreds, if not thousands, of animals each year wouldn’t have even gotten a second chance. At Greenwood, there is no doubt that the gain outweighs the loss, and I feel like I have learned so many skills that allow me to feel like I am truly making a difference.