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
Assistant 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 an 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. In the fall of 2011, she began working full-time as the Development Associate and advanced her experience interacting with the Center’s generous donors. In 2017, Lacy was promoted to Assistant Vice President of Administration and looks forward to working more closely with other departments, learning more about the internal workings of the Wildlife Center, and exploring leadership opportunities. Lacy enjoys reading, camping, hiking, traveling, and spending time with her furred, scaled, and human family and friends.

 

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

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

Shelley Henry
Front-Desk Coordinator

Shelley Henry felt an affinity with nature and wildlife from her earliest days exploring the mountains with her grandfather, who grew up in Warren County with the Blue Ridge in his backyard.  Later, living next door to Mason Neck Wildlife Refuge allowed Shelley many opportunities to experience wildlife which fueled her passions for nature and animals. Shelley began working in the small-animal veterinary field, assisting with treatment, surgery, and client relations early in her career and she continued working in the field before and after managing her own full-time business for more than a decade. Shelley's also worked as a volunteer in crisis intervention, community outreach, the parks, and has also completed the Virginia Master Naturalist training, although naturalist training never truly ends. A true believer in the healing power of nature, Shelley spends as much time as possible outside hiking, kayaking, and running.  A few other pursuits include writing, art, photography, and the search for the perfect ice cream.

Administration

Amanda Reap
Front-Desk Coordinator

Amanda Reap is originally from Northern Virginia, but has come to love the Central Virginia area. After completing her degree in biology and art history from Christopher Newport University, she spent some time working at a vet clinic and retired racehorse rescue. She then moved to Jacksonville, North Carolina where she worked with the Threatened and Endangered Species Program on Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune. Her main duties there included protection, monitoring, and management of threatened and endangered species, including the red-cockaded woodpeckers, loggerhead and green sea turtles, piping plovers, and various species of endangered plants. After three years in North Carolina and a short stint in Ocean Springs, Mississippi working for the National Park Service monitoring various species of shorebirds, she has finally come to live in the Valley and work as the Front Desk Coordinator here at The Wildlife Center of Virginia. Amanda loves spending her free time with her two black cats, Ninja and Winny, along with riding horses, spending time outdoors, and being around her family.

 

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 DeFonza
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  conducting public education programs, posting content 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.

Training

Dr. Kelli Knight
Director of Wildlife Care Academy

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 assistant director of veterinary services, where she was in charge of post-clinical care and rehabilitation for the Center’s thousands of wild patients admitted each year. At WCV, she has trained students, externs, and interns from around the world. Dr. Kelli is a Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator and an instructor with the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council. She has taught wildlife rehabilitation courses across the U.S., as well as in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. Dr. Kelli is also the chairperson for the Wildlife Rehabilitator Advisory Committee for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. She is very excited about the opportunity to advance the mission of the Wildlife Center of Virginia through the Wildlife Care Academy, and to expand and improve the effectiveness and competency of the wildlife care community. Dr. Kelli lives in Waynesboro and spends her free time with her bunnies, traveling, or cheering on her Hokies at football games.

Veterinary

Dr. Ernesto Domínguez
Hospital Director

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. Ernesto is currently pursuing board certification by the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine.

Veterinary

Leigh-Ann Horne, LVT
Hospital Manager / WILD-One Coordinator

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

Dr. Peach Van Wick
Wildlife Research Fellow

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

Dr. Monica Madera
Veterinary Intern

Dr. Monica is from Arlington, Virginia and had dreamed of becoming a veterinarian since she was a little girl. Dr. Monica solidified her passion for veterinary medicine when she began working as an assistant in her hometown veterinary clinic. Dr. Madera received her Bachelor’s degree in biology at Virginia Tech in 2012. She continued on to earn her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in 2016. She began her wildlife career during veterinary school by becoming a rehabilitation extern with the Wildlife Center of Virginia in the summer of 2013, then continued work with the Wildlife Center during her clinical year of veterinary school as a veterinary student extern in 2015. Dr. Monica has also had the opportunity to work with the Smithsonian National Zoo and Memphis Zoo. After having lived in Blacksburg, VA for eight years, she moved back to the DC Metro area, relocating in Gaithersburg, Maryland, to complete a rotating small-animal internship at VCA Veterinary Referral Associates to advance her clinical knowledge. She is excited to be back in beautiful Waynesboro to work with the Wildlife Center of Virginia for a one-year veterinary internship. She hopes to broaden her knowledge in wildlife medicine and conservation. When not working, Dr. Monica enjoys being outdoors and relaxes by biking, swimming, and playing volleyball.

Veterinary

Dr. Alexa Ortiz
Veterinary Intern

Dr. Alexa was born and raised in Vancouver, Washington which is just north of Portland, Oregon. She became a third-generation attendee of Oregon State University in 2009. Dr. Alexa was always involved with and interested in life sciences and biology but did not decide to become a veterinarian until after freshman year of college. She began volunteering at a local wildlife rehabilitation center and suddenly became aware that wildlife veterinary medicine was the scientific field she wanted to pursue as a career. Dr. Alexa attended the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University from 2013-2017. She continued to expand her interest in wildlife medicine throughout school by working for the Tufts Wildlife Clinic during the school year and completing wildlife research during the summers. Dr. Alexa completed research in northern New Mexico for a summer looking at the contraceptive effects of an immunocontraceptive vaccine in wild horses. The following summer, she worked for the Biodiversity Research Institute and their Common Loon general health assessment project. Concurrently, Dr. Alexa also worked for the Maine Audubon Society, educating the public about the biology of Common Loons and the hazards of lead fishing tackle in the northeast. During her clinical rotations, Dr. Alexa completed various wildlife-related externships at the Center for Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) clinic in Sanibel, Florida, San Diego Zoo, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Dr. Alexa is interested in population management and conservation medicine. She is excited to learn and grow as a clinician at our clinic for the next six months!

Veterinary

Brie Hashem
Wildlife Rehabilitator, Black Bear Focus

Brie is a Pennsylvania native who earned her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Resource Management from Penn State University. After graduation, she spent almost five years as a Clinic Supervisor at Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, Inc. in Newark, Delaware. She recently earned a Graduate Certificate in Wildlife Management from Oregon State University and is currently pursuing a Master of Natural Resources. Brie is a Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator by the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council. She is also a permitted bird bander through the United States Geological Survey’s Bird Banding Laboratory and bands the Center’s raptor patients before release. As the head of the rehabilitation department, Brie is responsible for overseeing the post-clinical care and rehabilitation of the thousands of native wildlife patients the Center receives each year, hiring and training wildlife rehabilitation interns and externs, and maintaining rehabilitation inventory and caging. Brie is also responsible for the Center’s behavior-based black bear cub rehabilitation and release program. When she is not working or studying, Brie can be found exploring the mountains or practicing yoga.

Veterinary

Jenna Larios, LVT
Veterinary Technician Intern

Jenna grew up in the small town of Warrenville, Illinois and has had a passion and interest in animals and science for many years. She is a recent graduate from Joliet Junior College's Veterinary Medical Technology program located in Joliet, Illinois. She worked at a small-animal general practice veterinary hospital for four years and, while in school, also completed a study abroad program at Arcas Wildlife Center in Guatemala and two externships in the U.S. One externship was at an emergency clinic, at which Jenna ended up staying and working at for a year and a half; the second was at the Wildlife Center of Virginia. After spending six weeks at WCV, Jenna fell in love with wildlife and conservation medicine and knew the veterinary technician internship was something she wanted to try and pursue. Jenna was offered the position and moved to Virginia in the beginning of September 2017. She is very excited to continue expanding her knowledge in wildlife medicine and continuing to learning more about Virginia native wildlife.

Veterinary

Shannon Mazurowski
Wildlife Rehabilitation Intern

Shannon is a Virginia native who earned a Bachelor of Science in animal and poultry science from Virginia Tech in spring of 2016. After receiving her degree, she knew that she wanted to work with wildlife, so in spring of 2017 Shannon completed a 12-week wildlife rehabilitation externship at the Wildlife Center of Virginia. Shannon is excited to continue on at the Wildlife Center as a rehabilitation intern, working with and learning more about native wildlife.