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Melissa Kowalski

Melissa is an animal lover with a long history of caring for and sharing her animals with others.  As well as providing a foster home for exotic birds, she is currently a volunteer with Phoenix Landing as their eastern panhandle of WV Home Visit Coordinator.

As a child, Melissa would frequently bring home stray dogs, cats, and small, injured wildlife to find their homes or rehabilitate them.  Growing up, Melissa lived in a family with pet dogs, cats, mice, parakeets, anoles, hermit crabs, chickens, and a pigeon she cared for that had fallen, flightless, out of its nest under a train bridge.

Melissa studied Spanish at the University of Maryland and can do the presentations in English, Spanish, or a mix of both.  Melissa estudió español en la Universidad de Maryland y puede hacer las presentaciones en inglés, español, o los dos.

While working on her graduate degree, Melissa had a pet sitting and dog walking business, taking care of dogs, cats, fish, and reptiles.  She has been a volunteer for the Montgomery County MD Humane Society, the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, VA, and the Animal Welfare Society of Jefferson County, VA.

A few years ago, Melissa had the honor of rehabilitating a 5' black rat snake that had emerged from hibernation with a bad wound and infection.  After two months of antibiotics and Silver Sulfadiazine cream, the black rat snake was happily released back where she had found him - under their deck. You can read more about him here.

Before starting Critters & Conservation, Melissa taught Spanish to both children and adults in classes and by private lessons. Her love of teaching and of animals culminated into the start of Critters & Conservation in January of 2008. She has shared her love of animals and thirst for knowledge at schools, camps, parties, libraries, scout meetings, festivals, and more. She is always continuing her research on and observations of animals and their behaviors, diets, adaptations, ecosystems, and biodiversity.

You can see Melissa talking about Zeelow, the Jungle Carpet Python, shortly after adopting him, in the “Women of Reptiles” episode of SnakeBytes TV.

Here is Melissa below, at the Shepherdstown University Nursery School with Zeelow when he was much smaller!

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