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 senior vice president for outreach and education. In this position, Amanda oversees the department responsible for public education, training, and community involvement. Amanda manages the Center’s ever-changing website; manages the “Critter Cam” and moderated discussion; organizes the annual Call of the Wild conference; co-produces Untamed: Life is Wild, the Center's television program; helps plan various events; and oversees the care and training of the Center's team of education ambassadors. 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.
Meet the Staff
Outreach and Education
Amanda NicholsonSenior Vice President for Outreach and Education
Alex WehrungPublic Affairs Manager
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 communicating with news media representatives, creating website and social media content, and presenting educational programs.
Connor GillespieOutreach 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 pursue a career working with wildlife. During college, he started volunteering at a local 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. After five years in the zoo field, Connor decided he wanted 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 helped the public resolve wildlife issues and coordinated the intake and release of the patients. After a year at the front desk, Connor transitioned to his current role as the Center’s outreach coordinator. He enjoys working with the Center’s team of animal ambassadors and presenting programs to share their stories and the stories of thousands of other animals that come through the Center’s doors. When not at work, Connor likes to spend his free time reading, swimming, and exploring hiking trails with his dog.
Lauren GlazeOutreach Communications Coordinator
Lauren began her journey in environmentally focused work by conducting environmental science research at UNC Chapel Hill. She quickly realized the significance of the gap between the consensus among the scientific community and the general public regarding the importance of addressing the climate crisis and environmental destruction on multiple levels. She turned to video production and communications work as a way to bridge this gap and as a creative outlet to share stories that touch people’s hearts, encouraging them to make meaningful and lasting change. In her free time, she is an avid herbalist and gardener.
Kate SchmittWildlife Care Academy Coordinator
Kate Schmitt grew up in the woods of New Hampshire and in Hong Kong. After attending Colgate University, she traveled and taught in China before earning her M.F.A. and Ph.D. in creative writing and literature from the University of Houston. She has worked as a writer and in development for environmentally-focused organizations and at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She’s been a university professor for the last thirteen years in Florida and is thrilled to have relocated to Charlottesville with her husband Charlie and their black Lab. She enjoys biking and exploring the Rivanna Trail and spends her free indoor time as a painter, printer, and bookbinder.
Michael AdkinsFront-Desk Supervisor
Michael is a native of Norfolk, Virginia, and has lived in Charlottesville since 2015. After spending most of the last decade travelling the country as a touring musician, Michael discovered his passion for animal welfare while working at a local domestic shelter. He is excited to continue learning about the natural history and behavior of wild animals through his experiences at the Wildlife Center and while exploring the beauty of central Virginia. He and his wife Madie enjoy hiking around the area with their two adopted dogs and frequenting Shenandoah National Park several times a year. Michael is a snake enthusiast and loves observing and identifying them for his friends and neighbors. He hopes to use his knowledge and appreciation of snakes to help educate his community about the important benefits they provide to our ecosystem.
Maliah CarrollFront-Desk Coordinator
After spending a year getting certified in canine and feline nutrition, and eight months traveling the country working with livestock and dabbling in beekeeping on various farms, Maliah realized her true passion was working with wildlife. Maliah found her love for wildlife rehabilitation at the Stanislaus Wildlife Care Center located in the central valley of California, near her hometown. Uprooting to Virginia for a wildlife rehabilitation externship in 2021, Maliah fell in love with the state and its diversity and became a permanent employee at the Center as a front-desk coordinator. Currently working on her B.S. in wildlife biology and ecology she hopes to one day partake in conservation efforts all around the world. In her free time, Maliah enjoys reading about anything to the natural world, such as entomology, anthropology, herpetology, and volcanology. Maliah also has a great love for horror films and the arts, performing music and poetry locally. Maliah looks forward to getting her rehabilitation permit and certifications during her time here at WCV.
Grace LeythamFront Desk Coordinator
Kendall ForemanSeasonal Front Desk Coordinator