Meet the Staff


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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”.


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. 


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.



Dr. Helen Ingraham
Veterinary Fellow

Dr. Helen was born in Tokyo but raised in central Indiana. She has fond childhood memories of visiting the Indianapolis Zoo every week and going on camel and elephant rides, and Dr. Helen has been involved at zoos ever since! Dr. Helen spent her high school years volunteering in the Plains Biome at the Indianapolis Zoo and picked up giraffe, rhino, and lion poop. She then obtained her biology degree at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. After veterinary applications threw her a curve ball, she decided to switch gears and become a zookeeper. She spent two wonderful years at the Palm Beach Zoo in Florida picking up tiger, giant anteater, and American Black Bear poop. Dr. Helen then got accepted to veterinary school at Purdue University and returned to her old stomping grounds. Needless to say, she is a huge Purdue Boilermaker fan! During her time at veterinary school, Dr. Helen was fortunate to travel to Tanzania with the Envirovet program, help develop a canid vaccination protocol for the Woodland Park Zoo, research California Condor analgesia at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and ultrasound bottlenose dolphins at the Indianapolis Zoo. After graduating in May 2012, she was chosen to be the wildlife veterinary intern at the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife in beautiful Sanibel, Florida. Dr. Helen really enjoyed her time working with amazing Florida wildlife, including sea turtles, brown pelicans, alligators, herons, and bobcats. This past year, Dr. Helen completed a small animal rotating internship at a busy clinic outside of the Washington, D.C. area. As the Wildlife Center of Virginia’s two-year veterinary fellow, Dr. Helen is very excited to be able to teach and train students again and to work with Black Bears! Her interests in veterinary medicine include anesthesia and analgesia.  


Dr. Dana Franzen
Veterinary Intern

Dr. Dana grew up in a small farming community in Northeast Iowa. She always loved animals, and in high school decided she wanted to become a veterinarian when a local small animal veterinarian took Dana under her wing. Dr. Dana graduated from Luther College in 2009 with a BA in biology. She then studied at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine from 2009-2013. During the summer of 2010, she participated in the Envirovet Summer Institute – a course focused on the role veterinarians can play in wildlife conservation. After participating in this program, she decided zoo/wildlife medicine was the area in which she wanted to dedicate her career. During her fourth year of veterinary school, she spent time at the International Crane Foundation, the Indianapolis Zoo, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Immediately after graduating from veterinary school, Dr. Dana completed a small-animal rotating internship at VCA Veterinary Care Animal Hospital and Referral Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She also spent some time at the Rio Grande Zoo, and working with the USFWS Mexican grey wolf recovery program. From the summer of 2014-2015, she worked as a small-animal veterinarian in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Minnesota area, and also volunteered at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota. Dr. Dana began her one-year veterinary internship at the Wildlife Center of Virginia in July 2015. She is looking forward to sharing her knowledge and experiences with veterinary students, and is even more excited to advance her veterinary skills during the next year. She is most excited to work with black bears and raptors. 


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.


Amy Kowalski
Veterinary Technician Intern

Amy grew up near Baltimore, Maryland and attended the University of Maryland where she graduated with a biology degree. Soon after, she moved to Boca Raton and earned a Masters in biology from Florida Atlantic University. She studied loggerhead and green sea turtle hatchlings for her thesis. Amy worked for several years as a research technician at Carnegie Institution of Science in the Department of Embryology. Although this work was fulfilling, she decided she wanted to spend more time with animals, so she moved back to Florida. Amy worked for a year at the Marathon Wild Bird Center in the Florida Keys and realized she loved helping to rehabilitate wild animals. Some of her happiest moments were spent releasing raptors and pelicans that had been rehabilitated at the hospital. In spring 2015, she graduated from St. Petersburg College in Florida and became a licensed veterinary technician. She loves the diversity of animals at the Wildlife Center of Virginia, and she is learning so much from all of the knowledgeable people there. Her goal is to become a wildlife rehabilitator in Central America someday.


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. 


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!