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

Lacy Kegley
Vice President of Administration

Lacy was born and grew up in southwest Virginia and developed a passion for nature and wildlife at an early age. In 2008, she graduated with a biology degree from James Madison University and looked for an opportunity to stay in the Shenandoah Valley and expand interest in wildlife 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. Eventually, she began working full-time as the Development Associate and advanced her experience interacting with the Center’s generous donors. Lacy is now the Vice President of Administration and her responsibilities include creating the Center’s annual budget, working closely with all the Center’s departments on spending and fundraising, and supporting the staff, students, and volunteers.  Lacy enjoys reading, camping, hiking, traveling, and spending time with her furred, scaled, and human family and friends.

Administration

Kayla Cline
Office Administrator

Kayla was born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley and graduated from college in Memphis, Tennessee with a degree in Illustration and Art History in 2011. From a young age, she has always been passionate about helping animals, and hopes to continue facilitating that passion here at the Wildlife Center as Office Administrator! She spends her free time being creative and spending time with her pigeon, cockatiel, and corgi-border collie mix.

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.

Administration

Marley Crawford
Development Associate

Marley was born and raised in Covington, Virginia, where she developed a passion for wild animals and the habitats they live in. Growing up, Marley planned to pursue a career creating nature documentaries, but soon felt that she wanted a more hands-on approach with helping animals. She became a wildlife rehabilitation extern at the Wildlife Center in September 2018, and she quickly realized this was where she was meant to be. At the end of her externship, she transitioned into the role of front-desk coordinator. Since officially joining the team in December 2018, Marley has enjoyed helping solve human-wildlife conflicts and admitting animals to the clinic. As the development associate, Marley communicates with donors, maintains the Caring for Critters sponsorship program, answers questions, and provides support to other departments. Beyond work, she enjoys spending time with loved ones and identifying the many species of wildlife present in our area!

Administration

Génesis Aponte-Santiago
Front-Desk Coordinator

Génesis grew up in the Tidewater region of Virginia and planned to have a career working with animals since she was little. She graduated in May of 2019 from Bridgewater College with a degree in biology and an emphasis in wildlife. During her time in college, she completed a semester-long internship with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. In September of 2019, she joined the Wildlife Center of Virginia as the front-desk coordinator; she enjoys ensuring the injured and sick wildlife get the help they need. While not working, she enjoys swimming, hiking, and listening to music. 

Administration

Lauren Swinson
Front-desk Coordinator

Lauren Swinson is a Virginia native with a life-long interest in wildlife and what we can do to minimize human impact on our wild neighbors. After more than a decade as a stay-at-home mom, Lauren joined the front-desk team in 2020 to put her enthusiasm and people skills to work by helping the community navigate how to peacefully coexist with wildlife, and to discern the proper time for human intervention. In her free time, Lauren enjoys exploring nature with her family, reading, and gardening. 

Administration

Connor Gillespie
Front-desk Coordinator

Connor grew up in Southwest Florida, where he spent most of his childhood outdoors, exploring nature parks and preserves. From a young age, he knew he wanted to have a career working with wildlife. In college, he started volunteering at the Naples Zoo and quickly moved into a zookeeper position in the carnivore department. Connor dedicated his time at the zoo to teaching the public about the animals he worked with and ways to support conservation efforts in the wild. He was also passionate about learning animal behavior and using training as a tool to improve animal husbandry. After five years in the zoo field, Connor decided he wanted a change in scenery and a more direct role in helping local, native wildlife. In September 2020, he joined the Wildlife Center as part of the front-desk team, where he enjoys coordinating the intake and release of patients and ensuring injured or orphaned wildlife receive the care they need. When not at work, Connor likes to spend his free time reading, swimming, and exploring all the hiking trails in the area with his dog.

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 ever-changing website; manages the “Critter Cam” and moderated discussion; organizes the annual Call of the Wild conference; co-produces Untamed, the Center's television program; helps plan various events; 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

Alex Wehrung
Outreach Coordinator

A North Carolina native, Alex was inspired to pursue a career in the outdoors from a young age. After graduating from West Virginia University with a B.S. in parks, recreation, and tourism resources in 2012, he traveled the country exploring a number of different professions – from park ranger to zoo keeper -- and quickly understood the value of connecting others to nature through education. Alex discovered the Wildlife Center when he moved to Virginia in 2015, and began training as a volunteer outreach docent shortly afterwards. He joined the full-time staff as an outreach coordinator in 2016, graduating from Slippery Rock University with a M.Ed. in environmental education later that year. As a member of the outreach department Alex works to create meaningful and lasting relationships with the public in a variety of ways, such as presenting educational programs, creating website and social media content, training volunteer docents, and providing care for the Center’s non-releasable education ambassadors.

Outreach

Lauren Edzenga
Outreach Educator

Lauren’s appreciation for the natural world and animals started at a very young age growing up in South Jersey.  After receiving a degree in environmental studies and anthropology with a concentration in Chesapeake regional studies, she decided to follow her passion for sharing conservation messages in the environmental education field.  Lauren has held many positions within the realm of the conservation world, including outdoor education, before joining the Wildlife Center of Virginia as a student - first as an outreach extern, and then as a wildlife rehabilitation extern, in 2017.  In July 2019, she joined the outreach department as an outreach educator.  In her free time, she loves to pet dogs, watch Netflix, and be outside.

Outreach

Aaron Provencio
Outreach Communications Coordinator

Aaron grew up in Fort Collins, Colorado, tucked in the shadows of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. He has always been interested in science, spending much of his youth with his head in a book or his hands in the dirt. During his time attending Colorado State University in his hometown of Fort Collins, his love for wildlife and passion for conservation grew. By working as an environmental educator through his university and spending time as an interpreter and ecoguide in Costa Rica, Aaron learned to appreciate the value of connecting people to the wonders of our natural world. He graduated in the fall of 2019 with a degree in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology and a minor in Spanish, and hoped to continue to pursue his passion for environmental education and conservation communication in any way that he could. He started at the Wildlife Center in January of 2020, and helps to continue to further the Center’s mission of “teaching the world.” In his free time Aaron enjoys spending as much time outdoors as possible, seeing new places and learning new things!

Training

Maggie McCartney
Wildlife Care Academy Coordinator

Maggie was born and raised outside of Charlottesville, Virginia, where she developed an early interest in wildlife, especially reptiles and amphibians.  She graduated with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in environmental science from Christopher Newport University.  During graduate school, Maggie served as a graduate STEM fellow in K-12 education through the National Science Foundation.  Following graduation, Maggie returned to CNU as adjunct faculty while working as a zoo herpetologist (reptile and amphibian specialist) and veterinary assistant.  From 2015 through 2017, Maggie served as a sea turtle biologist on a remote South Carolina island where she managed more than 600 loggerhead nests.  After returning to Virginia, she joined the Wildlife Center in March 2018 as a front-desk coordinator.  In September 2018, Maggie became the coordinator of the Center’s Wildlife Care Academy, where she is responsible for management, development, and execution of online classes in wildlife biology and rehabilitation as well as the general management of the Academy.  The Wildlife Care Academy provides training and continuing education for wildlife care professionals around the world in order to expand and advance care for injured and orphaned wildlife, and to promote conservation education.

Veterinary

Dr. Karra Pierce
Interim Veterinary Director

Dr. Karra is from Canada, and grew up on the west coast, just outside of Vancouver. She did an undergraduate degree in biology at the University of Victoria on Vancouver Island, and during this time started working as a staff wildlife rehabilitator at a large wildlife rehabilitation center. Here, she fell in love with wildlife rehabilitation. Following her undergraduate degree, Dr. Karra moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (in the middle of Canada), to attend the Western College of Veterinary Medicine. During this time she continued to dedicate herself to working with wildlife, doing multiple external rotations with a wildlife focus, including a six-week veterinary externship at the Wildlife Center of Virginia in August 2016. After receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, she did a one-year small-animal rotating internship at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Karra is thrilled to be working with wildlife at the Wildlife Center of Virginia. 

Veterinary

Dr. Sarah Sirica
Veterinary Intern

Dr. Sarah knew she wanted to work with animals from an early age. She grew up in a semi-rural setting in King George, Virginia, and spent most of her time reading, playing with her dogs and cats, and hanging out by the river. She graduated from Bridgewater College in 2009 with a BS in biology. She went on to receive her DVM and MPH from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in 2013, where she gained experience in a variety of zoos and spent time in South Africa working on canine rabies research from a One Health perspective. From there, Dr. Sarah has had a variety of experience with small-animal and exotic medicine in Richmond, Virginia, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, as well as a variety of volunteer roles in wildlife medicine. Most recently, she was a regular volunteer with the New Mexico Wildlife Center, and she spent time with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish taking samples and learning about how a state agency is run. She enjoys working with all types of wildlife in the clinic and in the field, and she would be happy to talk about One Health all day long. Her hobbies include hiking, spending time with family, and beekeeping.

Veterinary

Dr. Cameron Berg
Veterinary Intern

Dr. Cameron grew up in suburban Wisconsin and developed a fascination with science and animals. He received a degree in biology and chemistry from UW-Platteville and attended the University of Wisconsin for vet school until 2019, alongside his twin brother. He is particularly interested in clinical wildlife medicine and pathology and has done a rehabilitation internship at the Wildlife Center of Minnesota, several externships at zoos and wildlife centers, and worked at a diagnostic lab during vet school. After vet school, he did a one-year internship in emergency medicine and is very excited to be in Virginia working with wildlife, especially bats. In his free time, he enjoys drawing, hiking, and playing Dungeons and Dragons.

Veterinary

Kelsey Pleasants
Wildlife Rehabilitator

Kelsey was born and raised in Waynesboro, Virginia and has always had a passion for animals.  She earned a Bachelor of Science in biology from Longwood University in the spring of 2013.  During her time at college, Kelsey completed a wildlife rehabilitation externship at the Wildlife Center of Virginia and upon graduation, she completed a year-long wildlife rehabilitation internship.  It was during her time at WCV that she realized her biggest passion was working with wildlife.  From 2014-2017, Kelsey worked at a wildlife center in south Florida doing wildlife rescue and rehabilitation.  She returned to Virginia in the fall of 2017 to re-join the team at the Wildlife Center as a wildlife rehabilitator. In this role, Kelsey oversees the care and rehabilitation of the thousands of native patients the Center receives each year and also trains wildlife rehabilitation interns and extern students. Kelsey is very excited to be back at the Wildlife Center and to once again work with black bears and American robins. While she is not working, Kelsey enjoys attending concerts and traveling.

 

Veterinary

Shannon Mazurowski
Wildlife Rehabilitator

Shannon is a Virginia native who has always been fascinated by animals. In 2016, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in animal and poultry sciences from Virginia Tech. During her time at Virginia Tech, she took an ornithology course which ultimately sparked her passion for wildlife. After graduating, Shannon completed a rehabilitation externship at the Center, followed by a one-year rehabilitation internship ...  soon after, she returned yet again as a full-time staff wildlife rehabilitator in May 2019. As a rehabilitator, Shannon helps oversee the daily care and rehabilitation of the many patients admitted to WCV every year. Shannon is happy to permanently be a part of the team and enjoys with the Black Bear cubs and baby Chimney Swifts. When she is not working, Shannon can be found attending kickboxing classes and exploring trails with her dogs.

Veterinary

Katie Attas
Wildlife Rehabilitator

Katie is originally from St. James, New York, and has always been passionate about animals of all types, both wild and domestic. In 2015, she graduated from Alvernia University with honors with a B.S. degree in biology. In 2016, Katie completed a wildlife rehabilitation internship at Sweetbriar Nature Center in Smithtown, New York. During her internship, she traveled to Costa Rica to gain additional experience with wildlife rehabilitation and learn more about the importance of conserving both wildlife and the environment. After her internship, Katie worked for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, where she performed recreational fishing surveys and collected catch data to aid in fisheries management. She also obtained her personal wildlife rehabilitation license in New York. Katie joined the Wildlife Center team in November 2019 as a wildlife rehabilitator and is excited to work with native Virginia species. In her free time, you can find Katie traveling in her converted school bus, hiking, and spending time with all of her furbabies.

Veterinary

Jess Dyer
Licensed Veterinary Technician

Jess is originally from Baldwinsville, New York, a small suburb of Syracuse. She is a 2015 graduate of Unity College, with a B.S. in Captive Wildlife Care and Education. During her undergraduate studies, she had the opportunity to complete a wildlife rehabilitation internship at Wildcat Creek Wildlife Center and studied veterinary topics abroad in Belize. After graduating from Unity, she completed a six- month fellowship at the Clinic for the Rehabilitation for Wildlife (C.R.O.W.) in Sanibel, Florida, which solidified her love of wildlife and veterinary medicine. After completing her fellowship at C.R.O.W., Jess went back to school to pursue a degree in Veterinary Technology at Genesee Community College in Batavia, New York. During her time in tech school, she focused all of her clinical externship hours toward wildlife, zoological, and emergency medicine, participating in preceptorships at Cornell University’s Wildlife Health Center, the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, and the Veterinary Medical Center of East Syracuse. Jess joined the Wildlife Center of Virginia in August 2018 as the veterinary technician intern and was hired on as a permanent staff member in July 2019. 

Veterinary

Lydia Sancetta
Wildlife Rehabilitation Intern

Lydia is originally from the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts where she first recognized her passion for wildlife. Lydia graduated from Beloit College in 2018 with a B.A. in Animal Behavior. While completing her degree, she worked at a variety of rehabilitation facilities including Care for Wild Africa Rhino Orphanage in South Africa, Fox Valley Wildlife Center in northern Illinois, Medicine River Wildlife Center in Alberta, Canada, and Treehouse Wildlife Center in southern Illinois. In her free time, she enjoys cuddling with her cat and spending time with friends. Lydia came to the Wildlife Center of Virginia in January 2020 for a one-year rehabilitation internship. She is excited to be a part of this dedicated team and learn from everyone she meets here.