Volunteer Spotlight: Adriana Bianco!

We asked Adriana some questions about her time with Wild Ontario. Here's what she said:

1. Why did you decide to volunteer for Wild Ontario?

I’ve always been very interested in birds and was introduced to Wild Ontario for the first time when I was a first year university student. Unfortunately I missed the deadline to apply for that year’s cohort, however not to be deterred I spent the summer rehabilitating injured owls with The Owl Foundation where my passion for birds of prey grew exponentially. After that summer I gained a greater appreciation for the impact, both positive and negative, that humans can have on wildlife. Many people don’t realize small actions have a greater consequence; for example tossing trash out of a car window - not many people think about the small animals attracted to roadsides to nibble apple cores, and the subsequent hawks that will be hit by cars as they prey on those small animals. I liked that volunteering with Wild Ontario would provide me with an opportunity to educate the public about these things and hopefully prevent the number of negative interactions that occur between humans and animals, thus reducing the need for rehabilitation so more birds can live their lives in the wild.

2. When did you join the program?

I joined the program September 2014, during the second year of my undergrad.

3. What have you learned/how have you grown through this experience?

I have learned so much about our native Ontario birds of prey and have gained valuable animal handling skills, but I think most importantly I have gained so much confidence through working with this program and with the incredible volunteers I have had the privilege to get to know over the past few years. In addition to traveling the province and improving my public speaking skills through talking to diverse crowds, I’ve also been to lucky to interact with the many wonderful volunteers who have spent time with this program. Each volunteer has taught me something different. It is truly the greatest team of people.

4. How would you describe the bird(s) you work with?

Currently I am working with 2 birds - Whistler (aka peeper, whisalicious, peeperella etc.) the Broad-winged Hawk and Freyja the Red-tailed Hawk. Though they are both members of the hawk family they are also incredibly different animals to work with. Whistler and I have been working together since January 2015 so I’ve had plenty of time to learn how to best work with her, but everyday I still learn something new which makes each session with her dynamic and interesting. I have only been working with Freyja for a little over a month now, so our relationship is still new. Sessions with her can sometimes be slow and frustrating but she is teaching me to be patient and celebrate the small victories. Different as they both may be, these ladies are both amazing creatures that do great work as ambassadors for their species, impacting the lives of everyone who comes into contact with them.

5. What’s up next for you?

I have just finished my Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Guelph, though I don’t feel quite ready to leave Guelph yet and want to pursue an advanced degree so for this fall I have accepted a Master of Science position at the Ontario Veterinary College in the department of Clinical Studies. For my thesis I will be looking at the in vitro anti-cancer effects of beta glucans on canine osteosarcoma cells. 

6. What others say about Adriana:

"Adriana is so positive, upbeat and friendly - she's a pleasure to work with and has a great energy."

"Adriana is one of those quiet leaders who leads by example and supports her team with her extensive knowledge and great mentorship skills. She's awesome to work with and always helps the people around her shine their brightest!"

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