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Rachel Avilla has been a Wildlife Rehabilitator since 2003. While still in college finishing her Environmental Science degree she started her rehabilitation career. Since then she has volunteered and/or worked at: The Bird Rescue Center in Santa Rosa, CA –  Lindsay Wildlife Hospital in Walnut Creek, CA – Belize Bird Rescue, in Roaring Creek, Belize –  Native Songbird Care and Conservation in Sebastopol, CA.

She is currently the co-founder of the The Wild Neighbors Database Project which has 3 projects under way. First is “WRMD” which is the free online medical database for wildlife rehabilitators. The Second is “O-WRMD” which is a collaboration of The Oiled Wildlife Care Network and WRMD to have an Oil Spill ready Medical Database for oil spill victims. Third is a the California Wildlife Disease Surveillance Project, which gleans basic data from participating wildlife rehabilitation organizations to help identify diseases in California Wildlife. The Wild Neighbor’s Database Project has been a booming success and has given her the opportunity to visit dozens of centers all of the US and abroad. With this experience, she has developed a unique view into Wildlife Rehabilitation globally and has made it her goal to discover the leverage points of this field. How can wildlife rehabilitators best continue to improve their skills and knowledge as well as bring its hard work and knowledge to the forefront and use that collective data to better help wildlife as a whole?

As much as she loves working directly with the animals and wishes she could contribute more to direct animal care, she has come to the acknowledgement that at this point her skills are best used in organizing the community as a whole. With her experience of collaborating with hundreds of organizations and thousands of users she has gained a view of the big picture. CCWR is one of the largest, oldest and best organized state organizations and has the opportunity to make a difference at a state level. Where California goes, so does the rest of the states, eventually.