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2021 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal-Related, Animals, Environment, Environmental Education, Wildlife Preservation & Protection, Wildlife Sanctuaries

Mission: The mission of the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge, Inc. is Education, Conservation and Rehabilitation for the welfare of Florida''s natural fauna.

Community Stories

37 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Amazing new campus, staff and mission, this great wildlife care organization was recently identified as one of the reasons Navarre was just named as one of the top places to live in the U.S. by Money magazine (and the only Florida town on the list). Congrats ECWR for making such a huge difference for our community and it's precious wildlife!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Since my first interaction with ECWR in 2016 I have become more impressed with the work they do. The staff and volunteers dedication to the rehab of injured wildlife is beyond by expectations. The success stories, release of rehabbed wildlife are an amazing thing to watch. The number of successfully rehabbed animals increases every year, a result of the hard work by the staff and volunteers. The education programs are becoming a bigger part of the refuge. I had the chance to observe a school field trip at the refuge last week and was very impressed with staff interacting with the field trip participants. Great work.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have had the honor of working with the organization for the last 7 years and watching its mission and the number of animals it takes in every year grow to over 2000 annually has really been eye opening. With the addition of an education and outreach center and being able to watch children interact with our animal ambassador's is really heart warming. Stony recommend this organization for volunteering or donating to their cause.

1 Erin L.6

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have had the privilege to volunteer my time with The Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge. From the incredibly caring people who work every day volunteering their time cleaning and feeding the animals to the Board of Director’s who build habitats and do community events, this group cares. This organization has saved thousands of injured and orphaned animals in and around the Florida panhandle. It is truly amazing watching what they do.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ECWR is a phenomenal charity which consists of a compassionate group of people with the main objective to rescue, rehabilitate and release injured wildlife back into their natural habitate. As anyone can attest, there is no greater reward than giving love and compassion to those which are not able to help themselves nor ever repay you for their second chance at life. ECWR is definitely an asset to our community, the state of Florida and to all the hundreds, if not thousands, of wildlife animals that are thriving today because of the many acts of kindness provided by ECWR!

2 Tricia M.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We were introduced to ECWR when we moved to the area 2 years ago. There was a mention of volunteering opportunities on social media and I went to the orientation. It has been my pleasure to volunteer here ever since. The hard work and dedication by the mostly volunteer staff is very inspiring. Animals come in to recover from illness or injury. There are lots of babies without moms who need to have extended stays to grow and be released, arriving daily. I can’t imagine what this community would do with this organization. These animals couldn’t be in a better place.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In addition to education and conservation, ECWR is committed to rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing Florida's native species. On a daily basis, this might look like a volunteer wading into the Gulf to disentangle a pelican from fishing lines, or an intern hovered over the next coopers hawk admission to examine a broken wing, or a staff member confirming treatment plans and medication doses for an injured fox, or all available hands feeding infant squirrels, opossums, raccoons, and songbirds morning till night during baby season. Meanwhile, other volunteers are busy cleaning habitats, preparing individual diets for dozens of species, and washing dishes, laundry, floors, and hands all day long. Upfront at the education center, visitors young and old, are learning about our ambassadors, handling artifacts, engaging in conservation efforts, and becoming aware of and excited about Florida's environments and the creatures who live among us. Knowledgeable staff and volunteers are passionate about teaching and making a positive difference in the encounters they have with guests on-site and through outreach efforts. In addition, ECWR plays a huge role in marine mammal strandings and data collection for research. As a 3-year volunteer, I am privileged to be part of such a dedicated group. Serving as a mentor to our new volunteers and interns, not a shift goes by that I myself don't learn something new - from the staff, from other volunteers and interns, and mostly from what our Florida creatures teach us!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began volunteering at the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge in December 2020. The staff, the interns, and the volunteers make the ECWR the premier place for wildlife rehabilitation in Northwest Florida. I am grateful to have the opportunity to be a volunteer at this organization.

2 Karen M.21

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am so happy to be able to volunteer with this organization. It is a jewel in Navarre, Florida helping so many animals heal and get back into the wild. It also has a nice variety of animal ambassadors who can not be released but have a nice habitat to live in. The staff is very knowledgeable about the wide variety of animals living in North West Florida.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve been working as a volunteer for about 8 month. I am greatly impressed by the lovely, kind and professional way in which the staff and volunteers care for the injured and orphaned creatures of north west Fl.
It has been both rewarding, educational and a learning experience to work along side these lovely people. And I’ve found it to be one of the best things I’ve been able to be a part of. Working here has helped me overcome one of my deepest fears and I sincerely believe the work and care given to the animals is genuinely helping both the animals and those that work there. Thank you

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

These folks don't just care for wildlife, they even brought Florida Fish and Wildlife experts in to talk about coexisting with bears and coyotes free of charge to our community!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization is amazing and selfless. I have watched them save many creatures in a highly professional way. I have been very impressed and cannot imagine what would become of all this deserving wildlife without ECWR. Someone is on call all the time and no matter what the location or the emergency someone is available to help.

Review from Guidestar

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have learnt so much about the animals since volunteering. It is very rewarding helping these animals get strong and well again to be able to go back to their natural habitat, which is the ultimate goal. I have helped animals/birds here that I would never have encountered in the normal, every day world. And nothing can out weigh those experiences.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer and foster parent for the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge for over a year and they are awesome. With very few employees and limited funds from donors, this organization provides a great service for the communities surrounding it, and the wildlife critters that are injured and/or orphaned!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started when I was 16 as a volunteer. It was the best experience for me. It helped me figure out what I wanted to do when i graduated high school. The summer after I graduated high school I got an internship here. This only influenced my decision for what I want to be even more. I still enjoy coming back and helping out. Working here is a great experience for anyone who likes animals and want to help them.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been with the Refuge since February 9, 2007 which was my very first day as a volunteer. I cannot say enough good things about the greatly needed service they provide to our Wildlife. The Refuge has sought to alleviate the suffering of so many injured and orphaned animals and returned those to the wild and their natural habitat that it would be difficult for me to assess the magnitude of their service.
The staff at the Refuge are knowledgeable, dedicated, and motivated to the welfare of Wildlife. I have found my association with them to be a great blessing in my life. This is an organization that above all else, Loves animals.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've brought injured and orphaned native wildlife into this organization for years and am now proud to call myself an active volunteer. Their mission to rescue, rehabilitate and release native wildlife is critical to the Panhandle and they go above and beyond to accomplish that goal. The staff works tirelessly to care for their patients and I have never worked alongside more compassionate caring knowledgeable people.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been with the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge for a couple of years now. I started as a seasonal volunteer when I was here during the winter months, and now that I am living here full time, I volunteer twice a week or more when needed. The professional staff, Interns and Volunteers are some of the most caring individuals I have ever met. They all are genuinely concerned for the health and well being of all the native animals from the smallest baby hummingbird to the Great Blue Heron, raccoon, or fox. They also are willing to offer advise and answer questions when the public calls about an abandoned or injured critter. The Florida wildlife is in capable, caring hands when the personnel of the ECWR are involved.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge for over a year. ECWR has also allowed me to be an Intern for 3 months in Summer 2018 and I am a current member of the Marine Mammal Stranding team. This organization has been such a great experience for me and has taught me a lot about wildlife rehab and education.

3 Judy F.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Years ago I found an injured crane in PCBeach, FL. It had a broken wing from a storm that had gone through 3 days before. I brought the crane back to FWB, FL and called the Emerald Coast Refuge and they met me at 8 p.m. in a parking lot and took the crane. The crane's wing could not be fixed so they used the bird to educate children in the area. PS They named the crane after me, Judy!!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a current intern, the Refuge has definitely given me some of the best hands-on experience with wildlife. There is something new to learn every day & staff members more than willing to help along the way.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am an intern at the ECWR and have learned so much from being here. All of the staff are fully dedicated to helping the wildlife of NW Florida. Everyday I am given the chance to learn something new. The ECWR strives to continually improve animal care and public education and this is clearly seen through the hard-work and dedication of the staff and many volunteers. I am so glad I was able to have the opportunity to work with such a great organization.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a summer intern here. They do amazing work helping thousands of animals every year. I continue to volunteer with the refuge even now that my internship is over. I have learned so much about animal rehab with my time spent here and have enjoyed every minute that I have spent here.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge is a wonderful place for our local wildlife to have. This organization does so much work in rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing as many native wildlife as they can. I used to be a volunteer with them and it was an amazing experience! It is so great to be able to take part in an injured animal getting better and be able to leave the facility healthy. It is so rewarding and I loved every minute of it.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became involved in this amazing organization about 3 years ago as a volunteer and now as a docent. In these past 3 years, this organization has had new leadership and has grown tremendously but has kept the same mission and vision intact. The staff is highly educated and knowledgeable and the volunteers tirelessly dedicate their time to this great worthy cause of rehabilitating injured and orphaned wildlife. They go the extra mile by educating the community and youth about the importance of learning about our precious wildlife while also protecting and conserving them. My passion is the love of animals and I am proud to be apart of this wonderful organization. I cannot say enough about the great work Emerald Coast Wildlife is doing for the wildlife and our great community.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ECWR is a joyous organization with a worthy mission of rescue, rehabilitation and release of all native wildlife within the state of FL. ECWR is the only marine mammal standing team for the five northern counties of FL. It is a fantastic experience to be a volunteer with this group.

4 Scott K.3

Board Member

Rating: 5

Highly regarded and recommended wildlife refuge. Great Mission Statement along with staff rehabilitating animals and returning them to the wild.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

These dedicated folks had almost 100 squirrel babies they rescued and were caring for this summer all with volunteer and intern help and only two wildlife technicians. Well Done

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an amazing organization filled with folks from all over and all backgrounds all doing good things for our wildlife

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience began with this wonderful group about 8 years ago when I found an injured Pelican on the beach in an area about 20 miles from their refuge. As they instructed me how to capture it and give it initial care, then made arrangements to meet me half way to pick it up, I knew I wanted to become involved with such a dedicated, caring, professional group with a mission that is very close to my heart. I have watched this group go from mostly all volunteers working out of a warehouse, to a group with highly knowledgeable, educated staff members and volunteers who tirelessly dedicate their time to the worthy cause of not only rehabilitating injured and orphaned wildlife and marine mammals, but educating the community and youth about the importance of learning to live amongst our precious wildlife while protecting and conserving them.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge is a worthy organization and provides a valuable service to the Northwest Florida "Emerald Coast" by providing rescue, rehabiliation and release of native wildlife. In addition, they serve an educational purpose in the community with their outreach efforts in the areas of wildlife care and conservation. I am proud to be associated with the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge located in Destin, Florida.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at the wild life refuge for nearly three years. I can honestly say that I have never met another group of people who go so far above and beyond to take care of the wildlife that comes through the doors. Not only are the amazing people, but they are wonderful friends.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ECWR has been providing a terrific service to the local area since 1994. I have been involved with the marine mammal stranding network through ECWR for the past two years. We are authorized through National Marine Fisheries Service to respond to calls about injured or dead marine mammals in the Northwest Florida Panhandle, and we also collaborate with other federal agencies to serve this effort on parks and military lands in the region. This effort is very time consuming and expensive, but it yeilds important information about causes of animal deaths, disease concerns that might impact human health, and environmental changes such as red tides that affect a wide spectrum of marine life. ECWR is a focal organization in collecting data from marine animals that state and federal environmental managers use to monitor our coastal health, and this service is invaluable.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

An all-around outstanding organization! I've worked with this group for 10+ year in varying capacities. As a testament to my belief in the ECWR's mission and goals, it's professionalism and it's desire to educate the general public, I've remained involved even though I moved out of state six years ago. Under the capable leadership of Executive Director, Amanda Wilkerson, I've watched the ECWR go (and grow) from a tiny handful of volunteers who worked by trial and error to a very respected and educated group of professionals.

Review from Guidestar

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am constantly amazed at the knowledge, expertise, dedication and passion of both the staff and the volunteers. Their commitment to saving the lives of sick, injured and orphaned wildlife is above and beyond the call of duty. On call 24 hours a day, no animal in need goes without.

Review from Guidestar

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge is a dedicated,hard working organization. I have seen the building and infirmary. They are very organized, knowledgeable and caring. Their goal is to rescue, rehabilitate and release native Florida wildlife. It is such a thrill to see a bird of prey fly off after healing an injury at the refuge. It makes all the work and efforts worthwhile.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I previously worked as a docent at the Zoo, Northwest Florida. I had no idea that another docent position awaited with such a an organization as dynamic as the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge. Its staff is highly dedicated and educated, its goals ambitious and far reaching and its volunteers extremely dedicated and hard-working. I feel privileged to again serve as a docent and grateful for the education I am receiving. This is truly an outstanding organization.

Review from Guidestar