Danene and Wendy at SeaWorld tabling event

Reaching Out: Community Partners Day with SeaWorld San Diego

Reaching out may be one of the less emphasized R’s of the OWCN’s four R’s (Readiness, Response, Reaching Out, and Research), but is a very important part of the OWCN’s program. Last month we had the opportunity to participate in SeaWorld’s Inside Look Community Partners Day. The purpose of this event was to give the visiting public an opportunity to glimpse behind the scenes, talk to animal care specialists, and highlight SeaWorld’s valuable partners. The exciting (and rainy!) day offered an opportunity to educate the public about the importance of marine conservation and how valuable partnerships expedite a timely response when a wildlife emergency occurs. Question of the day: “Do you really use Dawn™ dish soap to clean the birds?”

OWCN Seaworld facility

Did you know that SeaWorld San Diego is an OWCN partner and one of our valuable Member Organizations? They house the southernmost OWCN purpose-built oiled wildlife Primary Care Facility (PCF) equipped to rehabilitate oil-affected wildlife – and, in fact, is the only OWCN facility designed to care for birds, marine mammals AND sea turtles! They also manage a rescue program that cares for sick and injured marine wildlife.

Wendy Massey with the Seaworld penguin

In addition to our time interacting with the park’s visitors, we had the opportunity to visit the Oiled Wildlife Care Center and get a behind-the-scenes tour of the other rescue areas. Visiting OWCN Member Organizations, while temporarily on hold due to COVID-19, is an extremely valuable way to cultivate relationships with those who might assist the OWCN during a response and assess facility capabilities, which are vital to the success of a response. We also had some time to have a little SeaWorld Fun!

Danene Birtell at SeaWorld tabling event

A special thank you to Kim Peterson and the entire SeaWorld Rescue team for inviting us to participate in this event, and for taking the time to educate us about their commitment and capacity to care for sick and injured wildlife.

We also would like to recognize Kim Peterson on her recent retirement. Her commitment wildlife through supporting the mission of the SeaWorld and the OWCN for countless years is greatly appreciated. We thank you for your service and ongoing support. We have a feeling this is not goodbye, but perhaps a “see you soon”