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Birdwatching USA Squirrels
Wildlife Rehabilitation
Endangered Honeybees
Pet Responsibility
Backyard Naturalist
Wildlife Rehabilitation
For her part, Kirsch finds working with squirrels especially gratifying: "Squirrels are very sweet animals and when they come in as babies there's something very touching about them, especially when they hold on to you and to the syringe you're using to feed them." Maya also plays a vital role. Every day she balances homework and high school with helping with feedings, warming up formula, and basically any odd task that needs to get done. Maya, who's currently preparing to get her own license, has shown remarkable selflessness when it comes to her family's furry guests. For example, she used the gift money she received for her Bat Mitzvah to buy an incubator for newborns.

There's always a need for more volunteers, so if you think you have what it takes to help squirrels or other wildlife, here's how to start: Both Kirsch and Barbara Bellens-Picon, who runs the Squirrel Sanctuary and appears on WILD TV, strongly encourage people to gain practical experience by working with a skilled, experienced professional. In fact, some states require it. Having gained hands-on training, you'll then need a license. Laws vary, but some states have a minimum age requirement and require applicants to pass a written exam.

In New York, for example, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) offers a test once a year to applicants ages 16 and over, as well as a study guide to help them prepare. If you pass this written test, you become a licensed rehabilitator. However, Kirsch cautions, "While the test gives you the rudiments of rehabilitation, it really doesn't prepare you to actually do the hands-on work."

For Kirsch, rehabbing is more than a job, it's a way of life, and she feels that those who have the potential to make good rehabbers are "nurturing people, people who feel they have a responsibility to give back to our world. For myself, I feel a strong emotional attachment to the life cycle, it's really a kind of a spiritual or religious experience."

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Wildlife Rehabilitators care for injured animals, eventually returning them to the wild.




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