Spotlight Stories Archive

Intersecting Worlds: eLearning and Wildlife Rehab

It’s 2:00 AM, and Desiree Pinder has to get up for yet another feeding. She works from home, so she can work (and sleep) on a flexible schedule to accommodate the feedings and doctor’s appointments. She walks over to the incubator and pulls the little one out for the first of eight feedings that day. This latest “pinky” came to her after a big storm rolled through St. Augustine, Florida, where she lives. He was found the next day, having fallen from his nest in a tree.

You see, Desiree is a certified wildlife rehabber. When she isn’t working as co-owner of Artisan E-Learning and XP Learning, she’s running Hotel for Squirrels. The pinky she’s feeding (a pinky is a squirrel so young it doesn’t have its hair yet) needs round-the-clock care. But with the right food, warmth, and gradual re-introduction into the outdoors, he’ll hopefully be released into the wild in about three months.

Since Desiree started rehabbing in 2016, she’s helped 50 squirrels (including a flying squirrel) and eight raccoons, and currently has a family of six ‘possums.

“It all started when a friend found a squirrel. I offered to take him and find out who to turn him over to. When I couldn’t find anyone, I started doing research myself and figured out what to do. That’s what got me hooked.” She then spent the next two years getting the training and certification she needed to do it properly.

So how does she manage all those babies along with a full-time job doing eLearning design and development? “Sometimes it’s tough to juggle both, and I couldn’t do it if I didn’t work for a virtual company” she says. “When I’m on internal video calls, my co-workers sometimes encourage me to do a feeding while we are talking—they enjoy seeing the little ones getting nursed back to health.”

And what if you’re ever on a video call with Desiree? “Normally I’d put them away for a client call. But if you really want to see one, just ask!”

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