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What’s Your Calling? For Great Basin and Broadview, It’s a Wild One

Published on July 5, 2013 by Staff Writer

If you don’t have a profession that involves working with animals, you might think that wildlife creatures can only be seen, well, in the wild. But this is not true. You don’t have to be Jack Hanna to get close to a wildlife species; you simply have to know where to look.

veterinary technology degree program, Broadview University

Patti Richards shows Heather Bird (Broadview University vet tech instructor) how to feed a baby kestrel.

Great Basin Wildlife Rescue is one such place that harbors multiple species of wildlife. A normal-looking house precedes a large, lush backyard, full of enclosures for every type of animal that owner, Patti Richards, is currently caring for.

Unassuming in its presentation, this is a place where many gorgeous and rare species can be found, from various types of eagles and falcons to hawks and owls. The occasional crow, raven, or woodpecker can sometimes be seen around the premises, and in the Springville bear facility, even wild bears!

Founded by Patti Richards more than 10 years ago, this nonprofit organization in Mapleton, Utah, is one of the best places for injured animals to get rehabilitated. Boasting a federal and state rehabilitation permit as well as an education permit, this organization motivates people from all over the state to bring in wounded wild animals, assured that Richards and her volunteers will give them the care and attention they need before being released back into their natural habitats.

Broadview University-Orem’s veterinary technology degree program is thrilled to have started an educational partnership with Great Basin Wildlife Rescue, since it will give students many wonderful opportunities for volunteering, internships, and service learning projects (e.g., Morgan Pedersen’s project earlier this year). Great Basin Wildlife Rescue is, in turn, also excited to be connected with Broadview, since the partnership with the university will allow for the acquisition of a bald eagle permit.

veterinary technology degree program, Broadview University

Eagle trainer, Dean Hawley, with a golden eagle.

One might ask where the funding comes from to help maintain such a facility, where every animal receives top-notch medical care, including X-rays and other exams when needed. In speaking with Richards, one can conclude that she has mastered the art of fundraising. By putting on bird shows to help raise money for her cause, Richards has gotten so well-known in the community that she put on a total of 54 shows last year.

Along with the everyday demands of her rescue efforts, Richards also has a program tailored to returning veterans. The Wings of Valor program allows disabled veterans to experience the art of falconry at no cost to them. Training a bird of prey invokes a closeness to nature while creating a lasting bond between the veteran and his or her bird.

Heather Riggs, veterinary technology program chair, had this to say about the recent partnership with Great Basin Wildlife Rescue: “We are excited and privileged to add Great Basin Wildlife Rescue to our growing list of sites where our students can build their knowledge base. The opportunity to work with wildlife species broadens the interest and job prospects for our future veterinary technology graduates. Many students plan on working with species other than dogs and cats, and this is a great chance for them to work with species that they might otherwise never encounter.”

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