Meet the Staff

Administration

Edward Clark, Jr.
President & Founder

Since the late 1970s, Ed Clark has been a national leader in the field of conservation. His involvement has ranged from wilderness designation and public land management to pesticide regulation and endangered species protection. Raised in Flint Hill, Virginia, Ed received a B.A. in history and political science from Bridgewater College. He did graduate work in education at James Madison University and University of Virginia. His professional training includes environmental mediation, organization management, and strategic planning.

In 1979, Ed became the first executive director of the Conservation Council of Virginia Foundation, the environmental advocacy and education organization known today as the Virginia Conservation Network. In 1980, he co-founded and became assistant director of the Environmental Task Force in Washington, DC, a national grassroots support network. In 1982, he returned to the Shenandoah Valley and began his work as a leadership trainer and organizational consultant for national conservation and non-profit groups, including Trout Unlimited, the Sierra Club, Habitat for Humanity, the Humane Society of the United States, the Humane Society International, the Appalachian Trail Conference, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and many others. In November of 1982, Ed co-founded The Wildlife Center of Virginia.

From 2006 to 2008, under Ed's leadership, the Wildlife Center successfully undertook a project, funded in part by the U.S. Department of Defense, to create a working model of a North American Wildlife Disease Surveillance Network, originally known as Project Tripwire. This network was fully deployed in 2012 and is now able to link wildlife hospitals and rehabilitation centers across North America and beyond, through a shared online database. The system, today known as WILD-ONe, is currently deployed across the U.S. and Canada and tracks the health information on tens of thousands of wild animals being treated in nearly 100 participating wildlife care facilities.

In 2010, Ed was part of an interdisciplinary team of experts asked to visit the states impacted by the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico and conduct an assessment of the potential damage, the adequacy of the government's response, and the implications for future public policy. Following visits to Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, Ed published extensive reports on his findings, along with recommendations for strengthening a generally ineffective response effort. Ed remains active in discussions and policy debates on the subject.

Throughout his career, Ed has been active in public service. He has been appointed by three Virginia Governors to various boards and commissions, including the Virginia Council on the Environment (the state environmental policy board), the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (one of the nation's largest government land trusts), the Virginia Environmental Education Commission, and the Governor's Commission on Natural Resource Funding. Ed has also served on boards and advisory councils of more than twenty regional, national, and international conservation organizations, recently including the National Wildlife Federation (Eastern Vice Chair), International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (President), Philippe Cousteau Foundation (Founding Secretary), and Southern Environmental Law Center (President's Council). He is currently a member of the Steering Committees of the National Endangered Species Coalition (based in Washington, DC) and the Human/Wildlife Conflict Collaboration (based in Bethesda, MD) and serves on the Advisory Committee of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

The Wildlife Center has received many honors under Ed's leadership. In 1993, the Center received the National Environmental Achievement Award for Wildlife Conservation. In 2004 the Computerworld Honors Program and the Smithsonian Institution presented the Center with its 21st-Century Achievement Award, for the "best information technology application in the world, in the category of Environment, Energy, and Agriculture." In November 2007, the Wildlife Center received the National Wildlife Federation's highly prestigious Conservation Achievement Award and was named the Wildlife Conservation Organization of the Year for the entire United States.

Ed has received many individual honors as well. In 1987, the Virginia Wildlife Federation named him Conservation Educator of the Year. In 1992 the U.S. Committee for the UN Environment Programme named him one of the "500 Environmental Achievers". He received the 1993 Conservation Medal from the Daughters of the American Revolution. In 1997, he received the prestigious "Chuck Yeager Award" from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for his conservation work "on the ground". In 2000 he received commendation from the Venezuelan Ministry of Education for his work promoting environmental education in rural communities. In 2001, he received recognition from the Venezuelan Guardia Nacional and the Ministry of Defense for his work combating the illegal trafficking of neotropical wildlife. In 2006 Bridgewater College named Ed its Distinguished Alumnus of the Year, and the Virginia Conservation Network recognized Ed for his lifetime achievements and outstanding contributions to conservation and environmental protection. In 2012, Ed received national recognition with the prestigious "Rare Life" award from Eagle Rare, given to an individual who leads a rare life of courage, leadership, survival, devotion, character, and heroism. In winning this competitive award, Ed received a record-shattering 180,000 votes, nine times the previous total for winning nominations.

Ed is a well-known and widely recognized television personality. He was the host and narrator of "Wildlife Emergency," the award-winning series about The Wildlife Center of Virginia which aired worldwide on Animal Planet. He also hosted the weekly series "Virginia Outdoors" and "Wednesdays Untamed" on Virginia Public Television. Ed has appeared in several films and documentaries and has been seen frequently on network television programs such as CNN's Larry King Live, NBC's TODAY, FOX News, CBS Saturday Morning, and C-SPAN's Washington Journal.

Ed is in great demand as a motivational speaker, organizational consultant, and trainer. His conservation work takes him across the United States and to many foreign countries each year. When he is not on the road (and often when he is) Ed enjoys his passion for wildlife photography, shooting, and horseback riding.

Ed and his wife, Dr. Kim West Clark, live in the woods near Waynesboro, Virginia with their dogs, cats, horses, and birds.

Administration

Randy Huwa
Executive Vice President

Randy has spent three decades in leadership and program management positions with national and regional nonprofit organizations. He spent nearly 20 years at Common Cause, the 250,000-member national citizens’ lobbying group, including more than a decade as vice president, leading its fundraising and communications programs. Randy was deputy director of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial, directed communications and development for Montpelier [the home of James and Dolley Madison in Orange County, Virginia], and served as director of major and planned giving for WMRA, the National Public Radio station for Charlottesville and the Shenandoah Valley. Randy holds a B.A. from Colorado College and an M.A. from Rutgers University. Randy joined the staff of the Wildlife Center of Virginia in October 2005. As vice president at the Wildlife Center of Virginia, Randy helps with administration, fundraising, budgeting, and public relations for the Center – and other things to keep the trains on the track. He and his wife Jackie Howell, a massage therapist and yoga instructor, live in an old farm house with a bushel of cats.

Administration

Elizabeth Brooks
Office Manager

After many years of working in the restaurant industry, Elizabeth started working at the Wildlife Center as a front-desk coordinator in May 2006. In March of the following year, she was promoted to office manager, doing what some would consider the “boring” stuff: payroll, accounts payable, retail inventory, and human resources. But because of where she works and the people with whom she works, it is far from boring! Elizabeth lives in the Shenandoah Valley with her husband and two young sons, and has little spare time … but when she has it, she loves to bake and do art projects with her kids.

Administration

Kate Guenther
Front-Desk Coordinator

Kate joined the Wildlife Center staff in April 2010, but volunteered with the Wildlife Center as far back as 1999. She staffs the front desk every weekend and works with the public to resolve their wildlife encounters. This can include directing the caller to the correct resources, instructing callers how to safely and effectively capture and transport an animal to the Center, admitting patients into the Center, and – most often – educating a person about a “normal” situation that needs little or no intervention. Prior to coming to the Wildlife Center, Kate worked in mental health emergency services and also spent ten years as a set designer at the Kennedy Center. Her favorite admissions include Virginia Opossums and owls.

Administration

Heather Chandler
Front-Desk Coordinator

Heather is a native of Waynesboro, Virginia. After graduating from the local high school, she explored the country but found that the Virginia mountains called her home. In 2001, she graduated from Blue Ridge Community College and became a licensed veterinary technician. After a decade in small-animal practice, Heather left to enjoy time with her son. When her son began school, she joined the staff at the much beloved local Stone Soup Bookstore & Café. In 2015, Heather joined the staff of the Wildlife Center as a front-desk coordinator. At work, she enjoys looking at radiographs, talking about turtles, and identifying snakes. Heather also likes to spend time in her garden, in her kitchen, or camping on the Little River with her family and three dogs.

 

Administration

Lacy Kegley
Development Associate

Lacy grew up in the culture-rich Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia and developed a passion for the environment at an early age. In 2005, she made the move out of the mountains and into the Shenandoah Valley to attend James Madison University. In 2008, Lacy graduated with a B.S. degree in biology and looked frantically for an opportunity to both stay in the Valley and expand her knowledge of local wildlife and conservation. She found that opportunity at the Wildlife Center of Virginia as an animal care preceptorship student, and, soon after, as the weekend front-desk coordinator. Since then Lacy has worked with multiple departments and values the experience and knowledge she has gained. In the fall of 2011, Lacy began working full-time with the development team as the development associate. She is responsible for the fulfillment of Caring for Critters sponsorships, processing donations, writing acknowledgement letters, and any other projects with which she can help, including merchandise order processing and fulfillment, support with the annual Gala, and other fundraisers. In this development position, Lacy has had the pleasure to work with the Center’s wonderful supporters and gain valuable professional and personal experience.

Administration

Kelly Matherly
Fundraising Coordinator

Kelly volunteered at the Wildlife Center when the new facility first opened in Waynesboro in 1995 and became a permanent staff member with the development team in December 2001. During her time at the Center, Kelly has had the opportunity to support and enrich the essential relationships with the Center's supporters through open house tours, environmental education programs, Gala organization, animal releases, and the personal acknowledgement of contributions. Kelly received a B.S. in forestry and wildlife from Virginia Tech in 1998 with a focus on environmental education and human dimensions related to wildlife and natural resource management. Kelly enjoys spending time with her family and pets as well as traveling, reading, kayaking, and cooking.

Administration

Kristen Sluiter
Special Projects Coordinator

Kristen began at the Wildlife Center in 2008 as front-desk coordinator, responding to wildlife inquiries and admitting patients. In 2009, she became the special projects coordinator as a part of the development team. Kristen is largely responsible for planning the Center’s annual Gala & Benefit, assists with grant applications and fundraising, plus any other “special projects” that arise. Kristen holds a degree in biology from James Madison University and enjoys camping, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

Outreach

Amanda Nicholson
Director of Outreach

Amanda first became involved with the Wildlife Center of Virginia when she attended Bridgewater College – first as a volunteer, then as an animal care preceptorship student in 2000. After graduating with a degree in biology in 2001, Amanda joined the staff as the weekend receptionist and part-time rehabilitator. Over the years, Amanda has held several different positions at the Wildlife Center; currently she serves as the director of the outreach department. In this position, Amanda oversees the department responsible for public education and community involvement. Amanda oversees the Center’s website, manages the “Critter Cam” and moderated discussion, organizes the annual Call of the Wild conference, plans and teaches online wildlife rehabilitation classes, and finds placement for non-releasable animals at educational facilities. She also serves as the program coordinator for the National Wildlife Rehabilitation Association's annual symposium. Amanda loves the dynamic nature of the ever-changing activities going on at a wildlife hospital and sharing the Wildlife Center’s mission and stories with others.

Outreach

Raina Krasner
Outreach Coordinator

Raina grew up in the city of Pittsburgh until her family relocated to the seaside-suburbs of Ocean County, New Jersey. At an early age, Raina developed a love for exploring the natural world, as well as a deep appreciation of and respect for wildlife. While pursuing a degree in art and liberal studies at Rutgers University, and eventually Stockton College, Raina took courses in wildlife studies to better develop her understanding of the natural world. During and after college, Raina spent several years working for large and small legal and education non-profit organizations, developing her business sense and client relations skills. After accepting a position as a naturalist at Cattus Island County Park in Toms River, New Jersey, Raina realized her true passion of caring for wildlife and teaching people about human-wildlife interactions. Following that passion, Raina relocated to Virginia in August 2012 to begin her career as an outreach coordinator at the Wildlife Center. As outreach coordinator, some of Raina’s responsibilities include scheduling and conducting public education programs, posting patient updates on the Wildlife Center website, and participating in the moderated discussions aligned with the “Critter Cam”.

Outreach

Alex Wehrung
Outreach Coordinator

Since 2009, Alex has been helping people connect to nature and find adventure in the outdoors. Growing up in a small town just north of Charlotte, NC provided ample opportunities to explore, get dirty, and make discoveries outside -- a way of thinking that would eventually lead Alex to West Virginia University. After earning a B.S. in parks, recreation & tourism resources, he set out to find his place in the professional world. Wilderness educator, rock-climbing instructor, zoo keeper, sea kayaking guide, and park ranger are just a handful of the titles Alex held before finding his true passion: wildlife education and conservation! This realization pushed him to pursue a M.Ed. in environmental education at Slippery Rock University with courses focused on nature-based programing and sustainable living. Alex became a part of the Wildlife Center team in 2016 as an outreach coordinator, where he works to build lasting connections to the Center through educational programs, online communication and social media, and community outreach events.

Veterinary

Dr. Dave McRuer
Director of Veterinary Services

Dr. Dave is from the small rural community of East Gore, Nova Scotia Canada. He obtained a B.Sc. in biology at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick (1999), and then a M.Sc. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario (2001). From 2001-2005, Dr. Dave attended the Atlantic Veterinary College and acquired his veterinary degree. After graduating, he went west to conduct an internship in zoological medicine, exotics, and wildlife at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (2005-2006). Dr. Dave then traveled east (August 2006) to become the veterinary resident in preventative medicine at the Wildlife Center of Virginia. Dr. Dave became a Diplomat in the American College of Veterinary Preventative Medicine in August 2009. Since 2008, Dr. Dave has served as the Center’s director of veterinary services, where he trains veterinarians and veterinary students in wildlife and conservation medicine. He is responsible for overseeing the teaching hospital, supervising the creation of an innovative software program designed to monitor trends in wildlife health (WILD-ONe), and treats and supervises treatment on native wildlife. 

Veterinary

Dr. Kelli Knight
Assistant Director of the Veterinary Services

Dr. Kelli graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. She first came to the Wildlife Center of Virginia in 1995 as a veterinary extern. After a successful career in small-animal practice, she returned to WCV in 2011 to complete a wildlife rehabilitation externship and fell in love with the field of wildlife rehabilitation! In 2012, Dr. Kelli joined the staff at the Wildlife Center of Virginia and has held several positions including wildlife rehabilitation intern, wildlife rehabilitator, and, currently, the assistant director of veterinary services. Her duties include overseeing the veterinary department and staff in the director’s absence; training and supervising the rehabilitators, apprentices, rehabilitation interns, rehabilitation externs, and animal care volunteers; overseeing the rehabilitation of all animals at the Center; serving as a liaison between WCV and Virginia permitted rehabilitators; and teaching rehabilitation classes and speaking at conferences. In 2013, Dr. Kelli became a certified wildlife rehabilitator after passing the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council’s certification program. Currently, there are fewer than 100 certified wildlife rehabilitators in the world. She is also an IWRC instructor and a member of NWRA’s national team. Dr. Kelli lives in Waynesboro and spends her free time at her home away from home in Blacksburg cheering on her Hokies at football and basketball games.

 

Veterinary

Dr. Ernesto Domínguez
Veterinary Intern

Dr. Ernesto grew up in Mexico City. He always loved animals, and after a safari in South Africa in 2002, he knew he wanted to be a veterinarian. After two years of studies in medical school (2003-2005), he quit med school to follow his dream of becoming a veterinarian. Dr. Ernesto graduated from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) School of Veterinary Medicine in 2013. Since the second year of veterinary school, he volunteered at the Wildlife & Exotic Pet Hospital at UNAM. During his last year of veterinary school, Dr. Ernesto spent some time doing his graduation project in avian orthopedics at the Wildlife Center of Virginia. After getting his degree, he completed different postgraduate training in wildlife centers and zoos around the world, including the Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic, Arcas Wildlife Center in Guatemala, The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, Africam Safari Zoo in Mexico, the Johannesburg Zoo in South Africa, and a second externship at the Wildlife Center of Virginia as a veterinarian. From September 2015 to June 2016 he completed an internship in Raptor Medicine and Surgery at the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota. He is interested in Conservation Medicine. Dr. Ernesto is excited to be back at WCV to work with black bears and reptiles, and be part of the staff.

Veterinary

Dr. Peach Van Wick
Veterinary Intern

Dr. Peach grew up in the small town of Pearl, Mississippi, and, following in the footsteps of her parents and older brother, attended Mississippi State University after high school. Dr. Peach had always known she wanted to be a veterinarian, so while she was an undergraduate student, she spent three years working three different positions at MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Peach attended MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine from 2011-2015, and while she enjoyed working with cats and dogs, she also became extremely passionate about directing her career path in a way that would benefit the “un-owned” animals of the world, particularly free-ranging wildlife. This interest in wildlife was solidified when Dr. Peach studied abroad in South Africa and had the chance to work with free-ranging African species in a conservation medicine course. During her third year of vet school, Dr. Peach enrolled in her school’s DVM/MS dual degree program in order to pursue a Master’s degree in population medicine. She received her DVM in May of 2015 and spent the next twelve months completing her Master’s by gaining experience and exposure to different aspects of wildlife medicine and conservation. Dr. Peach spent time at the Audubon Institute in New Orleans, the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, and of course, the Wildlife Center of Virginia. Additionally, Dr. Peach provided relief work at various small-animal practices in north Alabama between her externships. She is extremely excited to be back in Waynesboro joining the WCV team and is most looking forward to working with bears, raptors, and contributing to public outreach efforts.

Veterinary

Leigh-Ann Horne
Licensed Veterinary Technician

Leigh-Ann was born and raised in Texas. She was a competitive figure skater from elementary school through high school. She graduated from Southwestern University in 2001 with a degree in animal behavior and moved to Virginia that same year. Leigh-Ann completed an animal-care preceptorship at the Wildlife Center in 2001 and then was hired to be the weekday front-desk coordinator. After a year-and-a-half she enrolled in the veterinary technology program at Blue Ridge Community College. During school she continued to work as the receptionist, as well as assisting the rehabilitation staff and the education department. Leigh-Ann earned her veterinary technology degree and became a licensed technician in 2005. She immediately transferred into the role of LVT at the Center. Her current job responsibilities include performing in-house diagnostics; teaching veterinary and vet tech students; working with the vet staff to complete daily patient treatments; supervising the diagnostic intern, vet tech students, and hospital volunteers; maintaining hospital inventory and seeking medical donations; and working with the veterinary director to develop WILD-ONe (the Center’s medical record database). Leigh-Ann was elected to the executive board of the Virginia Association of Licensed Veterinary Technicians for 2011-2012.

Veterinary

Linda McDaniel
Wildlife Rehabilitator/Wildlife Rehabilitation Training Coordinator

Linda originates from the Boston area but spent most of her life in southwest Florida. Loving science, and wildlife in particular, Linda went into teaching secondary science education after completing her undergraduate degree at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Her teaching career spanned 21 years during which she taught biology; ecology; and environmental, marine, and earth sciences, as well as whatever else was sent her way! In her “free” time, she served as regional Chairman for the Institutional and Scientific Review Boards, as well as a commissioner for the Collier Mosquito Control District. Linda also sponsored various student clubs, owned a small business, and raised a family. Although busy, she knew that wildlife was her true calling and she attended Florida Gulf Coast University to conduct her master’s research at Audubon’s famed Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; she also volunteered at The Conservancy of Southwest Florida in wildlife rehabilitation at Rookery Bay National Marine Estuarine Research Reserve with sea turtle nestings. After moving to the Shenandoah Valley in 2013, Linda started volunteering at the Wildlife Center of Virginia in animal care, then as a substitute front-desk coordinator. She joined the staff in June of 2016 and is very happy to be working with wildlife full-time while teaching others to care for wildlife.

Veterinary

Elise Gundlach
Wildlife Rehabilitation Intern

Elise was born and raised in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Since she was young, she has loved exploring the world by traveling and hiking. In 2013, Elise received a BS in zoology and biological aspects of conservation from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She initially became interested in the animal field by volunteering and assisting in animal research on terrapins, sea turtles, and treefrogs. She completed a wildlife rehab externship at the Wildlife Center of Virginia in 2014. Since then, Elise continued in the animal care field completing an apprenticeship at Wildlife Rescue and Rehab in Texas and an internship at an exotic animal sanctuary. She plans to become a Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator and return to school for a veterinary technician license. Ultimately, Elise wants to continue rehabilitating and researching animals in South America. She is really excited to be back at the Wildlife Center of Virginia again to learn and teach others about wildlife and rehabilitation during her six-month wildlife rehabilitation internship. 

Veterinary

Tori Locke
Wildlife Rehabilitation Intern

Tori hails from the small town of Goshen, Ohio. Her career choices have run the gamut since childhood but have always had something to do with animals. Since receiving her BS in wildlife management from The Ohio State University in 2015, Tori has decided she is more interested in conservation science rather than management practices. She worked for the Ohio Division of Wildlife from 2014-2016 and completed a rehabilitation externship at the Wildlife Center of Virginia in late 2015. Tori’s goal is to conduct conservation research abroad and work primarily with small felids. She is glad to be back at WCV for a summer wildlife rehabilitation internship and can’t wait to see what else she can learn!