Thursday, October 2, 2014
Staff Spotlight: Trina Whitener
he World Bird Sanctuary would not be able to properly care for our birds without the help of our staff and volunteers. They are hardworking, dedicated, and most of all passionate about everything they do. To show our appreciation, we want to spotlight individuals who make day-to-day operations at the World Bird Sanctuary run smoothly.
Trina and two young fans (photo: Joel Kichline)
Trina Whitener’s love and passion for animals began the moment she heard about Lonesome George. Lonesome George was the last Pinta Island Tortoise on the Earth. While in captivity at the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island, Pinta Island Tortoises were declared functionally extinct. Even though Trina was only in kindergarten when she heard about George, she knew at that young age that she didn’t want another animal to go through what George did as the last of his species. She realized it was her mission in life to help protect wildlife.
Trina preparing to catch a Eurasian Eagle Owl (photo: Gay Schroer)
Growing up, Trina had a lifelong interest in raptors of all kinds, including dinosaurs. As a kid, Trina’s father was interested in falconry, so birds of prey were always a part of her life. It wasn’t until May of 2003, however, that Trina became aware of the World Bird Sanctuary. While playing Dungeons and Dragons with a friend, she was informed about the internships at the World Bird Sanctuary. Trina applied for the internship and was given the opportunity to intern for three months. Afterwards, she volunteered for about four months before being given a position as a Naturalist Field Specialist in February of 2004.
One of Trina's passions--teaching kids about reptiles (photo: Gay Schroer
Trina’s passion radiates around her. When talking with her about the birds at the Sanctuary, or any animal in particular, it is obvious that Trina puts her heart and soul into her work. Trina loves animals, and she loves that her work allows her to share her passion about wildlife and inform the public about what we can do to save them. Trina firmly believes that if she can influence just one person, then she has done her job for the day.
Trina herself is influenced by one of our Golden Eagles at the Sanctuary--Mariah. Currently, Mariah is the oldest bird at the Sanctuary. Trina has known Mariah for years, way back to when this magnificent bird was still used for education.
Trina’s favorite thing about Mariah is her personality. According to Trina, Mariah is tough, cool, sweet, independent, and smart. When she first met Mariah, Trina admired that she wouldn’t take flack from anyone; she has a “personality” all her own.
Mariah’s part in education also influences Trina. Before being retired, Mariah educated thousands of people who have come to the World Bird Sanctuary. She has taught them so much about how to save the wildlife and educated them about birds in general. Trina’s goal is to one day be on Mariah’s level as an educator. If she can influence and educate the amount of people Mariah has, then she has completed her purpose in life.
We at the World Bird Sanctuary are extremely lucky to have staff and volunteers who are devoted to the care of all our birds. Thank you Trina for everything you do for the World Bird Sanctuary!
Submitted by Mary Beth St. Peters, World Bird Sanctuary Social Media and Fundraising Intern