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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Wildlife Works Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Wildlife Sanctuaries

Mission: Wildlife Works Inc. rehabilitates injured, ill and orphaned mammals, songbirds, and birds of prey who have been victims of human interference, environmental contamination, or habitat destruction. Because people and their activities are often responsible, directly or indirectly, we believe we are obligated to help these wildlings.

Results: Wildlife Works has been serving the community for over 20 years and has recently opened it's new Raptor Barn with a continuous flight area enabling enhanced recovery opportunities for Raptors. The grounds and facility are undergoing extensive upgrades to keep pace with the growing needs in our region. We are not federally funded and exist entirely on donations. Dedicated volunteers donate hundreds of hours assisting in the care of animals, fundraising and helping with emergencies.

Target demographics: dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of distressed wildlife

Direct beneficiaries per year: 400 plus injured or imperiled wildlings with a release rate of about 70% at an average cost per wildling of $60.

Geographic areas served: Westmoreland County PA and surrounding areas

Programs: Promotion of responsible attitudes about the preservation of native species, habitat and the environment through rehabilitation, public education and outreach.

Community Stories

14 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have taken countless birds and one box turtle to Wildlife Works and they do wonderful work! They have always been willing to take in these injured animals and they have kept me informed of the outcomes. The box turtle had been hit by a car and was in bad shape. Two years later, I received a call telling me that it had been rehabilitated and was going to be released. It was nice to know that this animal had a second chance due to the folks at Wildlife Works.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wildlife Works' (Youngwood, Pa) volunteers are the kindest people on Earth. They work tirelessly to save all orphaned or injured wild animals that are brought to them. Their director, Beth, is an extremely wise old human owl. She is a compassionate, knowledgable licensed wildlife rehabber who also enjoys teaching others about wildlife. I have brought numerous injured mammals and birds over the last ten years to Wildlife Works and each was treated with great compassion. This organization donates its time to save all wild animals, not just "exciting" ones. This organization doesn't discriminate. They care for everything from lowly deer mice to exciting, endangered Golden Eagles.

My sons favorite days in elementary school were the days when a Wildlife Works volunteer brought in an owl, falcon, or other animal to teach the school children. The volunteers from this organization spend hours each year teaching the children about how humans can help wildlife species. Although my children's science lessons addressed the importance of conservation, the Wildlife Works volunteer really implanted the importance of being good environment caretakers into them.

Wildlife Works also volunteers their knowledge to the adult communities in Western Pennsylvania. They visit various adult clubs in Western Pennsylvania each month and often bring a wildlife species for viewing. Wildlife Works is always very active on Earth Day. They always find a venue on this day to teach about preserving the Earth for all species. I and many others recently enjoyed learning from a Wildlife Works volunteer at the Fred Roger's Center at St. Vincent's College in Latrobe, Pa. The "teaching arm" of Wildlife Works provides a very valuable service to Western Pennsylvania.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer at Wildlife Works and was encouraged to do it by another long term volunteer, who insisted that I would "love it." Being more of a cat and dog person, I wasn't sure I would "love it" but I was willing to give it a try. And now, several years later, I can't believe I even questioned doing it. It has become such a large part of my life, and I can't imagine not giving my time to them. The many volunteers there don't get paid to go and help, but yet we all keep coming back, week after week. Many of us have other jobs, families, other commitments in our lives, but we do it because we love the animals, like to do our part for the rehabilitation of wildlife, and also to educate others.

Beth Shoaf, our leader..:), is amazing. She is so knowledgeable, and usually knows what to do in any situation. If she doesn't know, which is rare, she'll find out. I've never seen her, or any staff member, do anything less than the best that they can. Beth has given me confidence about what I am able to do there, and it has extended into my "regular" life as well. She never assumes we are not capable of doing something, and is willing to take the time to educate us until we get it. It makes me proud to come back each week.

We do the best for every creature that comes through the door, no matter if it is a tiny baby bird or a full grown golden eagle. Unless you have done it, no one can fully experience or understand the feeling that you get when caring for an animal and setting it free. Sadly, not everything is able to be rehabbed. But even when that happens, we know that we did the best we could, and gave it a chance that it might not have had otherwise. Then we move on. And worry about the next animal coming through the door, the 20+ outside and 20+ inside that we care fore.

I am very grateful for the opportunity to write a review about us. It really reminded me of why I come in for my shift each week, that it is important to be who we are, do what we do, and why I am very proud to call myself a Wildlife Works volunteer.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is one of the best charities in the area to donate to. The love and compassion given to each and every animal that comes into their care is remarkable. Although to the general public, not having your animal looked at the instant that they are brought in may look like there is not enough being done, but this is a complete falsehood. These creatures are cared for and shown the attention they need in a professional and timely fashion and many volunteer hours make sure this happens!

Review from The Pittsburgh Foundation

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been working at Wildlife Works (WW) in Youngwood as a volunteer for many years and there has never been an organization that I have been more proud to be associated with than WW. WW has many volunteers that work tirelessly from early in the morning until late at night 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year including all holidays, to help animals that otherwise wouldn’t stand a chance of surviving. At WW we save hundreds of these injured and abandoned animals each year and have done so since 1991.

All volunteers work under the direction of Beth Shoaf who is certified by the Pennsylvania State Game Commission to rehabilitate wild animals and she also is an experienced veterinarian technician. There is no one that is more dedicated to helping animals than Beth and it is evident in the processes of the operation at WW that she directs as well as the fact that she has sacrificed part of her home, most of her yard, and untold hours of her time all these years for this purpose (her home just happens to be at the end of the dirt road).

WW is not government funded and relies solely on the generous donations from animal lovers. All money given is spent on animal care and there are no excess funds to pay for fancy signs such as a commercial business might do. When someone calls WW to make an appointment to bring an animal in we are more than willing to assist with providing directions if needed.

WW has volunteers with a variety of experience and knowledge…if someone is willing to help the animals we find things they can do. There are many volunteers with a lot of experience that work alongside the newer volunteers until they can gain more experience. Inexperienced volunteers are never left to fend for themselves, there are always additional volunteers in the hospital area but they just might not be in the room where we admit the animals.

Yes, sometimes Beth has to stop and occasionally eat a meal and sometimes, although rarely, she even goes on vacation but there is never a time when an animal’s welfare is compromised because of it. Beth has established a network of animal care specialists, veterinarians, and other rehab facilities that participate in assisting us on the few occasions when she is not available.

Sadly, many animals that are brought in for care do not survive much to everyone at WW’s disappointment. This can be due to the fact that injuries can often times be far worse than might appear to an average person or an animal is just too weak or stressed to pull through. Unfortunately this is the same at all wildlife rehabilitation facilities. As sad as it is for us to lose a patient we try to stay focused on the many animals we do save and successfully release such as the golden eagle that was broadcast on WPXI several weeks ago. WW publishes a newsletter every 6 months that includes statistics on the numbers of animals admitted, released, and died as well as interesting news and updates at WW. Information about WW as well as a copy of the latest newsletter can be found on our website: http://www.wildlifeworksinc.org/.

WW does their best to keep people informed of the outcome of the animals that they bring in but due to the work load and the number of volunteers that are available at any given time we might not be able to respond to your need for information as quickly as you would like…after all, our first priority is the care of the animals as it should be.

I am sorry that WW didn’t meet a previous reviewer’s expectations but if someone chooses to judge the quality of care that these animals receive by the fact that there are no flashy signs, the building is located at the end of a dirt road, a volunteer was maybe new or a little preoccupied by all the work she needed to get back to, or because someone was eating dinner and planning to go on vacation when they decided to bring in an animal, that is their choice. But I can attest first hand to the good work and the excellent animal care that has resulted in thousands of saved animals since WW was established and I am very proud to be involved with WW and all the top notch excellent volunteers including Beth that make this all happen!

Review from The Pittsburgh Foundation

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been a client of Wildlife Works, a participant in rehabilitating injured turtles, and a frequent donor over the past 10 years. The organization is staffed with many compassionate volunteers, well trained and proficient in providing high quality care to a broad spectrum of injured wildlife.
In addition to involvement in the "nuts and bolts" (blood and guts) of injured animal husbandry, Beth
Shoaf and her team participate in several research protocols, conducted by practicing veterinarians and university affiliated academicians.

Review from The Pittsburgh Foundation

Kailey M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

During my senior year of high school, I was a weekly volunteer with Wildlife Works. In fact, I still help out the organization when I am on winter break. It is a wonderful organization, and Beth, the founder, is a truly inspiring person. Because she gave me the chance to volunteer with Wildlife Works, I am now using my knowledge to move on to a career in either animal keeping or wildlife rehab.

The volunteer work there is truly life changing. I have a much deeper appreciation for wildlife after volunteering at Wildlife Works.

Review from The Pittsburgh Foundation

Lori113

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am the Chief Coordinator for the Westmoreland / Fayette County Animal Response Team. We have been called to assist taking animals to Wildlife Works, and we have never had a negative experience with them. They are a group of dedicated volunteers who work 24/7 no matter what the weather or holiday. But most of them are volunteers, not all paid staff, so the public must be aware this is not an emergency veterinary hospital. And there are many costs involved in caring for wildlife: food, utilities, cleaning supplies, vet care costs, and other supplies- so every donation counts. When you take a wounded wild animal to them a donation helps offset the costs they will incur. We need more wildlife rehabbers like Wildlife Works across the state, so if anyone feels they would like to start their own group, please see them as an example of excellence.

Review from The Pittsburgh Foundation

Client Served

Rating: 5


I am Augie Lombardozzi. I have been bringing wounded animals to wildlife works for 25 years. The first possum I brought there I saw on the entrance form a donation request. I said is this mandatory? Beth said do not pay attention to that. I had just gone through a financial catastrophe. I left about $15 and it hurt. I was not hurting as much as the possum I brought in. In comparison to those times I am rich!! I donate now. I am so glad Beth, Lisa, and the staff that does not know me are there for me and those who cannot help themselves. GOD BLESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Review from The Pittsburgh Foundation

Client Served

Rating: 5

We found a large turtle last year that appeared to have been painted with something, including some gouges in his shell. We contacted them, they got back to us and told us what kind of turtle it was, that people blinged them up to sell them... seriously? They confirmed it was okay and told us how to make a proper habitat for it. They contacted us a week later as followup. Wildlife Works is one of the few agencies I donate to on a regular basis -- wildlife rehabilitators are few and far between and they help many animals of many types! They manage their funds well as evidenced by the care/concern in building a Raptor pen to fit their rescue needs. A top-shelf volunteer agency!

Donor

Rating: 5

I have found that wildlife works is a very compassionate and caring organization. I have taken numerous injured animals to them and they do everything possible to help the animal. Without wildlife works where would these beautiful wild creatures get the help they need. Thanks to all of the volunteers who give a lot of hours working to provide a real service to the community. Thank you wildlife works for all you do!!!

DPL

Review from The Pittsburgh Foundation

Donor

Rating: 5

Wildlife Works goes above and beyond to help injured animals. They are caring, compassionate people who endlessly give of themselves in order to help animals in need. I'm proud to have Wildlife Works in Westmoreland County, and I'm proud to support this worthy cause.

Review from The Pittsburgh Foundation

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My family has had several personal experiences with wildlife works. We live in a more rural part of Westmoreland County and have encountered several injured animals and abandoned babies, including an injured hawk and the most ADORABLE fawn. In all cases Wildlife Works helped not only advising what do to secure the animals but also taking them in and caring for them.

Review from The Pittsburgh Foundation

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I didn't find it necessary until recently, but let me share my experience with WildLife Works.

I found an adult sparrow along the side of the road with a broken wing. I took the bird into my own care, despite the fact that I was constantly running around with two jobs, and began to nurse it back to health. The bird began to eat and drink, as well as hop around and chirp. After two days, I decided to take it to someone who was more experienced and had the time to care for an animal.

I drove an hour to Youngwood to drop off the bird and had a hard time finding the center because there weren't any signs, and it was at the end of a dirt road. I got to the center and knocked on the door to find a line of people with injured animals. A man in front of me showed the lady working there his injured animal by grabbing it out of the box and holding it up, while blood was present. The lady didn't advise him to set the bird down, despite the fact that two cats were in the room. The lady had mentioned that she had no experience with actually helping animals, that she only put them in the cages. This frightened me, so I asked if anyone had any kind of experience. She informed me that there was a woman who had previously worked as a Vet Assistant, but she was eating dinner. I asked when she would look at the injured bird, and she said the next day.

Feeling skeptical, I looked around the room to find that there was a calendar that marked that the previous Vet Assistant was going on vacation for a week when she was to look at the bird. Feeling desperate after the long drive, I decided to trust the lady to care for the bird as I did. I called the center a week after I dropped off the bird, and a week after that, and received no information. A month later, I received a letter in the mail informing me that the "sparrow didn't make it" followed by the request of a donation, in which I had already given them money. I talked to an older friend of mine who also took her injured animal to this center and had the same story. I know it's a nonprofit organization, but if you have an injured animal I advise you to make a wiser decision than I did and take the animal to a more experienced center.

Review from The Pittsburgh Foundation