Call of the Wild Conference

November 13-15, 2015

The Wildlife Center of Virginia invites you to the 20th annual Call of the Wild conference on wildlife rehabilitation. Wildlife rehabilitators, veterinary professionals, wildlife biologists, environmental educators, and wildlife enthusiasts from Virginia and beyond will share ideas and knowledge that can benefit wildlife, the environment, and the continually evolving field of wildlife rehabilitation.

The conference is sponsored by The Wildlife Center of Virginia, one of the nation’s leading teaching and research hospital for native wildlife, and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

From first-time conference attendees to seasoned veterans, Call of the Wild 2015 has something for you. We hope you will be able to join us for this exciting event!

Stay tuned for a complete schedule -- registration opens the week of September 7!

Friday Sessions and Events

We're pleased to offer two sessions on Friday, November 13 this year -- a beginner seminar and a rabies education seminar!

Introduction to Wildlife Rehabilitation: Beginner’s Seminar -- 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon 
This seminar is ideal for those getting started in the field of wildlife rehabilitation. Discussion will include the Virginia permitting process, with a focus on helping the new wildlife rehabilitator decide which species he/she would like to and can rehabilitate. Wildlife laws, the wildlife rehabilitator’s code of ethics, and considerations on becoming a rehabilitator will be examined. Instructors will examine the who, what, when, where, and why of setting up a home rehabilitation room/facility, and will include information on stocking the appropriate equipment and supplies. The importance of natural history will be emphasized, and attendees will learn how to develop an animal nutrition plan. Finally, the seminar will examine the rehabilitation processes of an infant mammal and nestling songbird, from birth to release. Our case-study approach makes learning about wildlife rehabilitation fun and practical for the beginner!  Participants receive a certificate of attendance worth four (4) CE credits. $35 fee. Lunch is on your own. 
Note: This seminar is a combination of two of the Center’s introductory classes, Introduction to Wildlife Rehabilitation and Wildlife Rehabilitation 101.

Rabies Education for the Wildlife Rehabilitator -- 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. 
This year, the Wildlife Center is offering a free half-day rabies education seminar for wildlife professionals. Rabies is a preventable viral disease that affects the central nervous system of infected mammals. According to RabiesWatch, rabies is the leading viral zoonosis in terms of global public health significance. Virginia and many other East Coast states (including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and North Carolina) have some of the highest reported cases of rabid wildlife in the country. Wildlife professionals caring for high-risk rabies species need to stay current on rabies information for both human and wildlife safety. This seminar will include discussion on epidemiology, transmission, exposure definitions, viral pathogenesis, diagnosis, Virginia statistics and reporting, and disease prevention. Expert speakers will also dispel common rabies myths and will review sample cases. Participants will receive a certificate of attendance worth three (3) CE credits. Free.

Dr. Charles Rupprecht, The Wistar Institute and LYSSA LLC
Steve Simpson, Virginia Department of Health
Dr. Megan Kirchgessner, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Fun and Social Events

Wildlife Center Tour – Friday 4:30 pm
Tour the Wildlife Center of Virginia, a hospital for native wildlife. Located in Waynesboro, the Center is just a few minutes away from the Best Western. Participants will need to provide their own transportation to the WCV; plan to arrive 5-10 minutes before tour time. Reservations required.

Welcome Reception – Friday 7 pm
Join us in the pre-function area of the Best Western for drinks, desserts, and the opportunity to mingle with conference participants. Early check-in at registration table.

Saturday Schedule

Saturday classes will include:  
Introduction to Small Mammal Rehabilitation
Tool Time! Easy-to-Build Raptor Housing
Make No Bones About It: It's Not All Metabolic Bone Disease
It's All About the Feather
Fawn-napped! Rehabilitating Orphaned White-tailed Deer
Avian Bandaging [3 hour lecture and lab]
Bringing up Baby Bats
Monitoring Virginia's Amphibians and Reptiles

Sunday Schedule

Sunday classes will include:
Wildlife First Responders
Lead in Wildlife
Zoonotic Diseases of Concern
Common Wound Successes Case Study
Wildlife Crimes
Education Program Basics: How to Get Started
Perfecting Your Physical Exam
The One and the Many: Ethical Implications of Wildlife in Captivity


Early-bird two-day (Saturday/Sunday) conference rate is $130; one-day rate is $80. Student rates will be available for full-time students with a valid ID.  Friday beginner's seminar is $35. 


The conference will be held at Best Western Inn & Suites Conference Center in Waynesboro, VA, conveniently located off of Interstate 64 at Exit 94.

The Best Western offers spacious non-smoking rooms with wireless internet access, cable satellite television, an in-room coffee maker, microwave, and refrigerator. This pet-friendly hotel features an array of amenities, including a complimentary hot breakfast buffet, an indoor heated saltwater pool, and a fitness center. Many local restaurants are within walking distance of the hotel.

Room reservations and payment must be made through the Best Western. To reserve a room, please call the hotel directly at: 540-942-1100.

Price and availability is guaranteed through October 19 at midnight, so be sure to make your reservations early! When making reservations, mention that you are attending the Wildlife Center of Virginia conference to receive the $89/night special conference rate.

Air Travel

For those traveling by air, the two closest airports to Waynesboro are Charlottesville Airport [CHO] and Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport [SHD]. Both are within 30-45 minutes of Waynesboro. Both airports have rental car agencies within the airline terminals.


The conference registration fee includes lunch catered by a local company featuring both vegetarian and non-vegetarian entrees as well as side dishes and desserts. Accompanying guests who are not registered for the conference must pay a meal fee if they will be eating lunch with you. If you’d like to sign-up your guest for lunch, please email

A number of restaurants are within walking distance or a short drive from the hotel. A “restaurant round-robin” will be organized on Saturday night for those wishing to dine and network with fellow conference participants at a local restaurant.


In between classes, join your fellow attendees in the exhibit hall, where there will be numerous vendors on Saturday and Sunday. See what’s new, learn more about rehabilitation groups throughout the state, and pick up a gift or two!

If you are interested in reserving an exhibit table, please read this information and email  Exhibitors must be registered by October 15.

Free Supplies & Door Prizes

Be sure to visit the Wildlife Center’s “giveaway” extravaganza in the conference center! Free products and supplies will be available. Additionally, each participant will have the chance to win top-of-the-line products and more through our door prize give-away! Drawing will be held on Sunday at lunch.

For the well-being of wild animals and as a professional courtesy to all attendees … please arrange for the care of your wild patients back home while you attend the conference. We want you to fully enjoy yourselves throughout the weekend, and it’s much less stressful for the animals as well!

From first-time conference attendees to seasoned veterans, Call of the Wild 2015 has something for you. We hope you will be able to join us for this exciting event!