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Volunteer finds outlet for wildlife preservation

Karen Resch volunteers with Gold Country Wildlife Rescue
By: Michael Althouse, Placer Herald Correspondent
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Karen Resch, an 18-year Rocklin resident, loves birds. She loves birds and other wildlife so much that she has become intimately involved with a local organization whose mission is to rescue injured and orphaned wildlife in Rocklin and the surrounding area. Resch?s concern for wildlife preservation in her local area prompted her to find a way to get involved in a direct way two years ago. ?My primary goal is to give back to the community, to educate people how to treat wildlife,? she said. Researching online to find a local organization she could get involved with, Resch found Gold Country Wildlife Rescue, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of wildlife. Resch is currently serving as a member-at-large on the organization?s board of directors. Prior to joining the board, Resch was trained at the organization?s Intake Center in Loomis to rehabilitate wildlife received by the center. Although she still volunteers at the Intake Center, Resch has many other tasks as well. ?I do outreach, education and fundraising,? Resch said. ?I have a passion and concern for wildlife. I want there to be local wildlife for our children and grandchildren.? Gold Country Wildlife Rescue has just one employee, part-time Registered Veterinary Technician Gabriela Dunn, who serves as the Intake Center coordinator. Dunn, a 7-year Rocklin resident, became aware of the organization after reading a story in the Placer Herald last January. ?I have always wanted to work with wildlife,?Dunn said, adding that it is far more interesting than working with pets. While some of the volunteers are also licensed technicians, most volunteers have no prior experience. They are trained and certified as wildlife rehabilitators by Gold Country Wildlife Rescue. ?We can always use more volunteers,?Resch said, adding that no special skills are needed. Gold Country Wildlife Rescue provides all the necessary training. The organization is sanctioned through the California Department of Fish & Game and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. One of the volunteer rehabbers is Resch?s daughter, Rose Resch, a 1999 Rocklin High School graduate now living in Roseville. ?When I told her about Gold Country Wildlife Rescue, she became interested and trained to be a volunteer,?Resch said. In just one hour at the Intake Center last Thursday afternoon, an orphaned blue bird chick, a juvenile robin and an approximately two-week old cottontail rabbit were brought in for triage. Roseville resident Jennifer Mercado and her two children, Marissa, 4 and Nathaniel, 7, brought the robin, which had fallen out of its nest, to the Intake Center. ?We called the SPCA, who referred us to animal control, who referred us here,? Mercado said. The robin had fallen out of a neighbor?s tree, Mercado said, adding, ?We saw the parents trying to feed it.? Marissa wanted to keep the robin as a pet and Nathaniel was being ?dive-bombed? by the parents as the family was rescuing the bird, but Dunn and Resch warn that while the family?s motives were genuine, both actions indicate the sort of misinformation the organization is trying to correct. Resch said the handling, disturbing or keeping of wildlife is illegal in California. Dunn said that while some animals might appear to be in peril, the parents can and often do care for their young when they have fallen out of their nests or otherwise appear to be abandoned. In this case, the Mercados did the right thing because the robin did show signs of injury, probably the result of an attack by a cat, Dunn said. Gold Country Wildlife Rescue was incorporated as a 501c3 non-profit in 1992, but it has operated saving wildlife for more than 25 years. ?We rely entirely on donations, fundraisers and grants,? Resch said. ?We receive no public funding at all and we are constantly trying to raise funds to keep the Intake Center fully functional.? And that function is vital to helping preserve wildlife in the area. Once an animal is taken to the Intake center, it is examined, hydrated, fed if necessary and then taken to a volunteer rehabber, who cares for the animal until it is able to survive on its own. Helping rehabilitate and release wildlife is ?a wonderful thing; it?s a joyful thing; it?s really incomparable to anything else,? Resch said. A fundraiser for Gold Country Wildlife Rescue, ?An Evening of Music and Flight? will start at 6 p.m. on Saturday. During intermission, Gold Country Wildlife Rescue?s ?Winged Ambassadors,? raptors that could not be returned to the wild, will be presented. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. However, since attendance is limited advance ticket purchases are highly recommended. For more information on the fundraiser, membership or volunteering, visit Gold Country Wildlife Rescue?s website at: www.goldcountrywildliferescue.org The Intake Center, located at 5901 Horseshoe Bar Road in Loomis is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily during breeding season (May through August). For questions or assistance with rescues, call the hotline at (530) 885-0862. Volunteer orientation takes place in January. ________ Know and Go What: ?Evening of Music and Flight: When: 6 p.m., Saturday Where: 8250 Macargo Court, Granite Bay Tickets: $20 in advance or $25 at door. Seating limited. Visit goldcountry wildliferescue.org.