I grew up in the area where WCV is located and have supported them almost from their start 35 years ago, even though I had moved from that area by then, because I heard great things about them from friends and relatives still there. I now know some of the staff personally and have had the pleasure of touring their marvelous facilities. These people are totally dedicated to helping wildlife in every possible way. They are hard working, innovative, and extremely knowledgeable. Their president, a co-founder of the Center, is internationally recognized for his expertise in this field, and the Center works with veterinary and rehabilitation students from around the world, including every vet school in both the US and Canada. They maintain regular informational posts on social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and they have a terrific website that features updates on patients, three live streaming webcams of patients and education ambassadors (non-releasable animals who are trained to be part of presentations to the public), educational opportunities for schools and for those interested in wildlife rehabilitation, a discussion board on which the public can ask questions and make comments, and more. As busy as they are, they always take time to respond to questions online and are friendly and open with visitors who have arranged tours or have signed up for free open house tours. They are a functioning hospital, so one cannot just walk in and expect a tour. They have the highest rating, four stars, that Charity Navigator awards, and they richly deserve it. The animals are well cared for with clean enclosures, good food, and constant enrichment. The staff many times goes well beyond the call of duty to help their patients, working long after "regular" hours, reaching out to other experts in difficult cases, sharing their expertise with others, spending personal time with ambassadors they train because they develop strong bonds with them, joining in the online discussions from home, and so much more. Their annual reports show clearly that they do not waste a penny of the money donated to them or any items given to them, and every single donation is promptly acknowledged with a personal message from the executive vice president. There are also periodical letters of thanks to donors from President Ed Clark himself that include personal handwritten notes from him and are signed by him--no stamp, no autopen. How he manages to do all the things he does is amazing. He always says the secret to his success is hiring a great team of people and then staying our of their way, but he is constantly busy himself. All who love wildlife and want to see wildlife protected and cared for when in need can rest assured that any donations they make to the Wildlife Center of Virginia will be responsibly used to do just that. Please do explore their great website: www.wildlifecenter.org
Wildlife Center of Virginia Inspires the Desire to Give Back
How do I begin to convey the message of how important the work is that the Wildlife Center of Virginia (WCV) performs and why I am personally inspired to give back to them as often as I can? Not only healing critters to return to the wild, not only the teaching of the world on how to care for our environment, not only conservation....but the family we have become through WCV’s moderated discussion and watching critter cams. How do I convey that 19 special needs kids feel better about themselves and their extreme medical needs by watching the WCV hospital cams...and as a result they cooperate with their own physical exams? Or that 19 kids dip into their pockets to come up with a $1.00 of their meager allowance to give to WCV because they are so moved by what they see and what they learn, that they want to give back? And these are people that have nothing. How do I describe how one very special person finds emotional healing from seeing the important role that the non-releasable ambassadors play in teaching the world, in spite of their disabilities? And how a person discovers how much they are loved and valued just for who they are. I think maybe I can best tell why we are so inspired to give back through the words of one of our special WCV followers. Some call her Carrie, others call her Izzy. Here is her story:
“I used to believe that the labels that others give us growing up were defining of us for life. It seemed as though there was no way in which to escape them or the stigma they create and that they followed me no matter where I went. You see when people encounter me on any level they are often quick to notice that I walk differently, I shake or twitch without any real warning, and my vision isn’t quite straight or focused. Instantly that starts the conversation of “what is wrong with you” a conversation I’ve had for as long as I can remember. When I tell them I have Cerebral Palsy then a different conversation begins one that often degrades my intellect as they start to connect that label to someone who must have a mental impairment. It’s a frustrating and hurtful cycle that happens all too often and while I used to chalk it up to ignorance or lack of education even that wasn’t enough to push the hurt away.
Many will tell you of the lifesaving work that the Wildlife Center of Virginia does for wildlife, but I want to be the one that tells you they also shape and change the lives of their donors. For you see those things I used to believe and the pain I used to feel isn’t part of my life anymore. I know what you’re wondering, where does the connection come from? Well allow me to introduce you to the concept of Education Ambassadors twenty-four amazing animals who are all non-releasable with differences that make them unable to be released into the wild. Each of these animals comes with a background story, and the circumstances that lead them to have visual impairments, flight difficulty, beak misalignment etc. Yet no one questions “what is wrong with them” and no one suggests even for a second that they are of less worth or value than their wild counterparts.
That is because in my experience what they may lack in one area the ambassadors more than make up for in another. The staff at the wildlife center all recognize this, and you can see it in their handling practices and in the way in which they interact with the ambassadors. The connection created allows the staff to see beyond the difference to the inner light and personality that each ambassador holds, and they are treasured and valued for who they are. The job of these ambassadors is to help promote the centers mission of caring for and about wildlife but I argue they do so much more than that.
When children or adults witness these animals and their differences they are able to see that being different isn’t necessarily a bad thing, or if they themselves have a difference they may as I have come to realize that isn’t what defines you. You are unique and have something to offer to society as a whole if those around you take the time to look beyond what they see. For each ambassador is strong and is capable of inspiring and teaching others in spite of the challenges they face. Moreover if you spend enough time around each of these ambassadors you will start to notice their differences less and less until they are completely overshadowed by all that you have come to love about them.
To put it simply I have become an ambassador in my own life, ever inspired because of the staff and education ambassadors at the Wildlife Center of Virginia. No longer am I defined by the stigma or the labels. I have let my inner qualities shine through and my personality take flight. I never would have seen this side of myself I truly believe without this experience. So when asked why I donate, I can say without hesitation I donate so that others who feel just as lost, just as limited as I did can see they have more to offer than others may have them believe and when they let go of those labels life is truly wild. “
Review from #MyGivingStory
This organization is outstanding in all aspects. Their staff is sincere, forthright, humorous and genuinely believe in and model their mission of teaching the world to care about wildlife and the environment in all they do.
I have learned so much and also have so much fun watching the critter cams at this facility and interacting with a world wide audience through their moderated discussion. I am honored to support them
This organization cares for injured native Virginia wildlife. If an animal can't released into the wild it is given a home and cared for at the center for the remainder of its natural life. The Center also educates people about Virginia wildlife and also all interested parties to attend wildlife releases and view the goings on at the Center through critter cams. When you donate, you are thanked promptly and made to feel like your donation is important, no matter how large or small it is.
This organization tirelessly rehabilitates Virginia wildlife. If an animal is not releasable, it is given lifetime sanctuary and may become an education animal. I like the fact that they educate the public about Virginia wildlife and their habitats. I intend to make at least donation later this year to this organization.
Great organizaton with caring volunteers. They are very responsible with donated money, as they feel that is still the donor's money. The donor has simply entrusted it to the Center. I like that concept. They also have numerous updates on their animals and critter cams, so people can see how the animals are being cared for.
The Wildlife Center of Virginia exemplifies the wonderful work being done with sick and injured wildlife,making it their mission to return these animals back into their home territory.
Teaching Critter Nation, students in the classrooms, and all those watching the Critter Cams is a valuable tool. The Center tells it like it is with openness, honesty, and sincerity, with a little bit of humor thrown in.
Review from Guidestar
This non profit is outstanding and leads others around the world in research and rehabilitation of orphanded or injured animals. They strive to return as many animals as possible back into the wild as they should be. They are a leader of programs adapted around the world and have interns form other countries as well as local to learn and go out and spread their knowledge and wisdom. The employees there are all the best and try to make each individual case patient their top priority and learn from each case.
I do not support any charity without thoughtful review of their work and sincerity. WCV is A+ in my book - their vet staff appear to be some of the best in their field(s), their rehabbers and trainers are very knowledgable and caring, they have as part of their mission statement to offer education of wildlife medicine/care to professionals and the general public. I support this organization and confidently endorse them to you for your consideration.
I found this website in April 2011 when the "rock stars" were moved from their nest in NBG to the Wildlife Center. They were in need of much tender lovin' care when Mom Norfolk was killed and it was determined that the male would not be able to take care of them. Over the last plus year, I have visited and donated to this so very important cause. The head of this Center, Ed Clark and his whole staff are such wonderful and careing people. They have taught us and many, many young people the value of nature . The money that they have been given has been put to such great use and has allowed release back into the wild many wonderful animals and most of all, my favorite, THE AMERICAN BALD EAGLE. Please help them to continue their work.
What I enjoy about this group includes their dedication to all forms of wildlife, their patience in explaining issues to educate people, their ability to advise members of the public about dealing with wildlife problems and that their own state recognizes their accomplishments enough to entrust them with important cases, like the three bald eaglets from the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. Unfortunately, at the present time, I am unable to donate as much as I would like to do.
I found out about WCV a year ago. In the last year, I have found this organization to be one of the most astounding places that cares for our injured and sick wildlife from bears to baby squirrels. I have donated to them several times as the need is there to protect our wildlife. WCV has gone over and above to educate the public regarding wildlife and issues surrounding their capabilities to live full lives. They go out to the public with educational animals so that others may know about that animal and learn. They work with classrooms around the countr educating our children about wildlife, which I find to be immeasurable. This organization is the most wonderful place and deserves recognition for all it has done and will continue to do.
I don’t live in Virginia. I’ve never been east of Illinois, but I love this place. All they do for wildlife is wonderful and inspiring. They also educate, showing compassion for all life and respect for cultures and understanding to those who may not know better about taking care of wildlife and what what’s best for them. I’ve always thought I knew a lot, but I’ve learned so much from watching their cam, reading their blog of very well informed, fun and good natured moderators including a lot of the staff at WCV, mostly Ed Clark who through humor has educated and informed so many of what is important for both the public and wildlife. I did get to know them by watching the eagle nest in Virginia, and the sad news of the mother eagle being killed, but through that tragedy a wonderful facility became famous and now gets lots of well-deserved attention. Now they can show the hard work they do saving many animals that would die, many due to man (lead, hit by cars, etc). They are a wonderful example of man saving nature.
The Wildlife Center of Virginia is the premier wildlife rehabilitation and training hospital in the country! They provide top notch medical and rehabbing services to more than 55,000 wild animals including 200 species of native birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians
They have shared the lessons learned from these cases with some 1.4 million school-children and adults across Virginia and the world.
WVC has trained a corps of wildlife medicine practitioners, including veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and volunteer wildlife rehabilitators. Those who have benefited from the professional training programs offered by the Center may now be found on the cutting-edge of wildlife veterinary medicine around the world.
In 2007, the Wildlife Center received the National Conservation Achievement Award as the Conservation Organization of the Year from the National Wildlife Federation.
Review from Guidestar
I have been following the Wildlife Center of Virginia for the past year, and now I can't let a day go by without checking in to see how the featured creature is doing. Along the way, I have learned so much and felt so welcome. They supply you with status reports of different patients. They have an "adopt a critter" program where you can follow the care of an educational animal of your choice. They have a moderated blog, where they distribute all kinds of information and answer all kinds of questions. The care of wildlife is a subject that I feel passionate about and this is an organization that remains close to my heart.
The WCV is a wonderful non profit organization. These people are trained and very knowledgeable about what they are doing and how they handle things. I have learned a great deal through watching the Critter Cam. They are very educating about wildlife.When they took in the Norfolk Botanical Gardens trio they had a pretty good idea what they were in for with the thousands of followers. They were so good with us and worked us through the whole process of what would be happening with our trio of Eaglets. Since this people still support them in anyway they can. They are very fantastic group of professionals.. We as followers love them dearly.
I feel that WCV does an outstanding job with wildlife
The Wildlife Center of Virginia is amazing. I came across their website over a year ago. This Center is so caring and so informative. I have learned so much more that I ever expected to just by watching a webcam. They have answered all questions that have been asked, in a professional and courteous manner. Because of this center I try to tell to inform my friends and family the importance of our wildlife and what to do should they come across an injured animal. The Wildlife Center of Virginia is the best !
The WCV is an amazing group of talented and dedicated people whose actions have saved thousands of wild animals and educated countless numbers of children and adults. The world is a better place for animals and people thanks to the Wildlife Center of Viriginia.
The Wildlife Center of Virginia provides medical care for all wildlife and provide training for future veterinarians. Their goal is to mend hurt/damaged/sick animals and release them back into the wild. Last year they saved 3 eagle chicks whose mother was killed by an airplane. Their live web cams are watched by thousands all over the country. This is a wonderful organization and deserves all the support that can be provided.
The wildlife center is a fantastic resource, not only do they serve the medical needs of wildlife, they educate the public.
Review from Guidestar
I won’t write about how we came to hear of the Wildlife Center of Virginia (WCV), since you have gotten countless reviews on our beloved Mama Norfolk Eagle’s death in April 2011 and how her 3 eaglets were taken to WCV to grow and fly free. I want to talk about what has happened since then. The main word that keeps coming to mind is a simple one: LOVE. The entire staff of WCV, from top to bottom, extends love, not only to every injured or sick animal that comes their way, but to those thousands of us who have learned to love wildlife as a direct result of being part of their “Critter Cam” and moderated blog. That love has flowed down to each one of us so that now we are an online “family.” A group of us in Texas (TEN—Texas Eagle Nation) were so inspired by the folks at WCV, that when one of our beloved eaglets was hit by a car and returned to WCV for care, we designed t-shirts as a fundraiser so that the funds would go directly to the center to help in her care. We came together from different parts of Texas and had an absolute blast working on this project (we sold over 1200 t-shirts by the way!). We are now lifelong friends and it is a direct result of the Wildlife Center of Virginia’s inspiration in our lives. They do EVERYTHING with great love and joy….it is so obvious the staff loves their jobs, love each other (which is rare in most workplaces), love the animals in their care and most importantly, love releasing those animals back into the wild once they have done their job of healing and rehabbing them. They are inspiring people of all ages through their creative use of social media to learn about and care for all of God’s wonderful creatures, and we are forever grateful.