Home Ed Clark to retire from Wildlife Center of Virginia after four decades at the helm

Ed Clark to retire from Wildlife Center of Virginia after four decades at the helm

Crystal Graham
ed clark wildlife center of virginia president
Ed Clark, submitted

The Wildlife Center of Virginia will have new leadership in 2024 after President and Co-Founder Ed Clark announced his retirement on Friday.

Clark, 72, will retire from his role as president at the end of March. A nationwide search will be conducted to find the new president.

Clark, in a video message, made the announcement.

“It has been the privilege of a lifetime to have led the center’s incredible team for the last 41 years, but it is now time for me to cheer from the sidelines,” said Clark.

Clark said he will remain engaged with the center’s work in his new role as President Emeritus.

“Since we founded the center in 1982, it has become a strong and secure organization. We’ve done so much to teach the world with extremely talented and committed leadership in every department and every aspect of our work,” said Clark. “That team will continue to provide world-class care of wildlife, outstanding educational outreach and dedicated professional training. The center will not miss a step.”

Clark, in a social media post to friends and followers, said his retirement is bittersweet but he believes it is time for a change.

“It is ironic that having spent most of my adult life advocating for wild things and wild places, I have often had very little time to actually enjoy them,” Clark wrote. “I am looking forward to spending more time with family and pursuing my long-neglected hobbies, including fishing, nature photography, horseback riding and just hanging out with my dogs at my little cabin in the mountains.”

The center has grown from a small, local wildlife rehabilitation facility to a professionally staffed, internationally recognized training and research center.

“Ed’s vision and passion have transformed the Wildlife Center from a small operation in a horse barn to the state-of-the-art teaching hospital it is today,” said the board in a joint statement after the announcement. “His tireless advocacy and memorable media presence have shaped the conversation around caring for native wildlife in Virginia and beyond.”

Center successes

  • Provided professional training for more than 1,000 veterinary students and professionals, including undergraduate students, fourth-year veterinary students, and postdoctoral interns, fellows and residents from every veterinary school in the United States and Canada and nearly 40 other countries.
  • Reached millions through in-person programming, on-line training and an online and social media presence.
  • Engaged in clinical research and issue advocacy.
  • Developed the first comprehensive national wildlife health database for the real-time monitoring of emerging disease in wildlife.
  • Published articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and publications, based on its clinical studies and research.
  • Gained worldwide visibility through three television series hosted by Clark on PBS and Animal Planet.
  • Appeared on national programs including the TODAY show, Larry King Live, Fox News, and C-SPAN’s Capitol Journal, and in a number of documentary films and television specials.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.