Thursday, July 21, 2016

How Can You Hear Like an Owl?

The summer camp topic this week at TRC is Biomimicry.  Biomimicry looks at elements of nature for inspiration to solve human problems or address human needs.  The evolution of plant and animal adaptations, for example, shows they have "solved" problems by being able to survive.

The campers used materials to create their own versions of “owl facial discs”, to mimic this important owl adaptation related to hearing. 

Two very creative campers, Athena and Elise, used some “down time” in between activities to show their creative sides.  They agreed to let us share their artwork.  Beautiful! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Meet. Dr. Adrien Pesque, TRC's Clinical Intern

Dr. Adrien examines a great horned owl.
We'd like to introduce you to Dr. Adrien Pesque, TRC's new clinical intern.  He wrote a few lines to share!

"I am originally from France but I grew up in the states of California, Washington, and Arizona. I recently received my veterinary degree from the University of California, Davis, with an emphasis in zoological species. During my undergraduate years at the University of Arizona in Tucson, I became determined to aid and protect the species of the wild. My passion stems from working hands-on with wildlife to provide veterinary care and to relieve suffering. My career goals include better understanding the human impact on ecosystems and how we can ameliorate those issues to empower our conservation efforts.

Why I was interested in the Raptor Center:
The Raptor Center is well known as a leader in wildlife veterinary care and research, so I knew I would be honored to be part of their program. After graduation, I was seeking additional training through an internship and hoped to eventually find a job in the extremely competitive field of wildlife medicine. The Raptor Center fulfilled everything I could have hoped for and I feel extremely fortunate to be working here today.

What I hope to learn:
During the upcoming year, I plan to build my skills and confidence as a clinician, and better understand the dynamics of raptor rehabilitation and management. I hope to become proficient in orthopedic surgery and complete a research project as well. I also look forward to teaching the fourth year veterinary students and honing my leadership skills. Overall, I am very grateful to be part of The Raptor Center team and could not be more excited for what this year has in store"

Monday, June 27, 2016

Raptor Lab at The Raptor Center

For the past two years, 14 teachers have been actively piloting the Raptor Lab in their classrooms.  The Raptor Lab is an online learning environment which models the process of scientific investigation in real-world settings.  Students use active role playing to assume a scientific career in wildlife rehabilitation.  This educational partnership between The Raptor Center and the University of Minnesota’s Learning Technologies Media Lab was funded by a grant from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. 

Recently, nine of those teachers came together to participate in a final workshop to evaluate the Raptor Lab, and ensure that it meets the needs of both teachers and students.  
Jennifer Clemmerson and Allison Fasking, two teachers at Prior Lake’s Twin Oaks Middle School, are already planning on having the Raptor Lab replace their current curriculum on teaching the process of scientific investigation.  In addition, the curriculum will be expanded to two additional classrooms in Hidden Oaks (a sister middle school to Twin Oaks) and will reach more than 600 7th graders in the Prior Lake area.  Overall, the Raptor Lab was used by over 1,000 students with numerous teachers lining up to help pilot the curriculum next year.  Our hope is to see this number double for the 2016 – 2017 school year.  

It has been a very exciting two years watching the Raptor Lab develop and be used by teachers and students in the classroom.  The final curriculum will be finished this summer for use for the start of the next school year.  As this program grows we hope students throughout Minnesota and the Midwest will have the opportunity to use the Raptor Lab to learn firsthand about threats facing wildlife and our shared environments and what they can do to be part of the solution.

If you are a teacher and interested in this project, contact Mike Billington at

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Hear From TRC Former Clinical Intern Ernesto Domínguez Villegas

Dr. Ernesto Dominguez Villegas, from Mexico, recently completed his clinical internship at The Raptor Center.  While he was here, he worked on a cardiology project looking the hearts of eagles that have been exposed to lead.

He graciously wrote a few lines about this time here at TRC.  We know he will continue to do amazing things, and wish him the very best. 

What I enjoyed?
I enjoyed the everyday working with so many different raptor species. I enjoyed working with great volunteers that they were always willing to share their knowledge and experience. I enjoyed doing clinical and research work to improve our world thru avian and raptor medicine.

What I learned?
Ohh boy!! That is a tough question. I learned so much that is difficult to have a start point. But I think I can summarize all my learning saying that I learned looking at the ecosystem and conservation medicine as a whole. I learned that every patient we admitted is a tiny sample of what is happening outside in our world, and in the ecosystem. Every patient showed us how much we have changed nature, how polluted is the ecosystem, how diseases behave, spread and get controlled in the wild. I learned that wildlife medicine is not just about treating individuals, it is about treating the ecosystem, educate people and do research to improve ecosystem, animal and human health.

What surprised me?
The amount of bald eagles we treated. I was surprised about how many eagles we admit, treat and rehab per year. 

What would I do with the knowledge?
First of all share it. Share it with my colleagues, friends, kids, new and old generations. Second continue improving the knowledge by continue doing research and continue learning about wildlife medicine. 

My time at TRC was just wonderful. It was not just a veterinary experience, it was a life experience.