CROW Feather: Sydney Lewis

Where are you from?

“I was born and raised outside Washington DC in Northern Virginia. I went to vet school at Ross University on St. Kitts and Nevis and will shortly be completing my clinical year at Tufts University in Massachusetts.”

What is your position at CROW?

“I am a Veterinary Medicine Student Extern and I am very excited to say that I finish my veterinary school education here at CROW and will be graduating and licensed to practice medicine following this externship.”

How long have you worked at CROW?

“I have completed 4 wonderful weeks at CROW!”

What is your favorite animal and why?

“Prior to being here at CROW, I have had some experience with raptors such as Red-Tailed Hawks and Great Horned Owls. My time here has introduced me to a new raptor species, the Osprey. These birds are quite beautiful and when restraining them, you can get a good sense of their strength compared to other, smaller, raptors.

I also must say that Gopher Tortoises are quite special to me. I greatly enjoyed my time in the Reptile Room: cleaning wounds, administered medications, and letting them soak. It was a wonderful time chatting with the volunteers when they would take them out for their “grazing time” and seeing them happily bask in the sunlight and enjoy the fresh air”

What is your most memorable CROW moment?

“My most memorable CROW moment must have been my first release. On one of my days assisting with intakes, I helped hospitalize a Green Heron that was found with a fishing hook in its wing. He was admitted to the hospital and given pain medications immediately. Shortly after, he was placed under general anesthesia where we took radiographs to assess the extent of his injuries. The hook had had gone full thickness through his wing, but we were able to remove it without contributing to any additional soft tissue trauma. We lavage the site and placed a honey bandage on both aspects of the wing before waking him up and allowing him to recover in his cage. As he healed, we were able to move him to a larger enclosure but found that he was not eating his diet. This prompted our team to think outside the box and the rehabbers and other externs and I went outside and caught live minnows to feed him. He took the live fish very well! He was only in our care for 6 days before we took a group field trip to the Ding Darling Refuge and released him. I was able to be the one to do the honors and it was very special to see his story come full circle.”

What activities or hobbies do you enjoy outside of CROW?

“One of my favorite activities is snorkeling and diving. I haven’t been able to do it as often as I would like because it’s quite location dependent but when I lived in St. Kitts I would try and snorkel every week. There was amazing sea life in the Caribbean and I was lucky enough to see it firsthand where I could swim alongside sea turtles and rays. I also was able to go on special dives such as cage-free shark dives and nighttime dives. It was extraordinary to see the bioluminescent plankton light up around you when you moved in complete darkness.

I also very much enjoy hiking and the outdoors. On my days off, I checked out the different Ding Darling Reserve trails and would spend time at the beach looking at shells, the birds, and chatting with the locals. The outdoors Sanibel Farmers Market on Sunday mornings was something I always looked forward to.”

What are some of your goals or aspirations for the future?

“I am excited to say I have accepted an offer as a Wildlife and Conservation Medicine Intern starting mid-2024. Ultimately, I would love to gain enough wildlife veterinary experience to be able to travel and share and expand my knowledge at each place I go. I think this goal may be years in the making, but I know CROW has played an important role in educating me and bettering my clinical skills, at a time when I am just transitioning from student to doctor.”

To learn more about CROW’s student programs, click here.