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As It Was: Volunteers Rescue Stranded Mammals on Southern Beaches

Beached marine mammals were less likely to survive before 1984 in the California counties of Humboldt and Del Norte and Oregon’s Curry County.

The usual procedure when finding stranded seals and sea lions had been to report them to the Ocean World Aquarium. The aquarium veterinarian, Dr. Dennis Wood, who assisted with rescues, would stabilize the animals and transport them for seven or eight hours to the closest marine mammal center in Marin County.

Wood had received his veterinary degree in 1980 from the University of California at Davis. From the start, he willingly donated his time to care for injured and ill wild animals.

In 1984, Dr. Wood joined Dave Edgar and Charles Tweed in founding the Northcoast Marine Mammal Center in Crescent City, Calif. Wood has served continuously on a volunteer basis as its medical director and veterinarian. The center received a grant to promote construction of a hospital and animal rehabilitation facility in 1989 that was completed in 1992.

Despite limited funds, the all-volunteer team responds to several hundred reports each year of distressed animals along the 200-mile coastline.

Sources: "Report a Distressed Marine Mammal." North Coast Marine Mammal Center. North Coast Marine Mammal Center, 2015. Web. 18 Apr. 2015. http://www.northcoastmmc.org/; “History of NMMC.” Ibid. 2010. Web. 30 Mar. 2015. http://www.northcoastmmc.org; Pike, Deidre. “Struggling to Save Seals.” 14 Feb. 2015. Web. 30 Mar. 2015. http://www.northcoastjournal.com.

Luana (Loffer) Corbin graduated from Southern Oregon College, majoring in Elementary Education.  The summer after graduation she was hired to teach at Ruch Elementary, where she taught for 32 years. After retiring, Corbin worked for Lifetouch School Photography and then returned to Ruch as an aide helping with reading instruction and at the library.  More recently, she has volunteered at South Medford High.