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Open house, open doors at Wildlife Center

The Wildlife Center of Virginia, the nation’s leading teaching and research hospital for native wildlife, has scheduled several open houses for Autumn 2009. These are rare opportunities to see the inner workings of the nation’s premier wildlife hospital, as well as meet some of the wildlife that serve as the Center’s education ambassadors.

The open houses will be held on:
· Sunday, Sept. 13
· Sunday, Sept. 27
· Sunday, Oct. 18
· Sunday, Oct. 25

The Center will have three separate sessions each day – at 12:30 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. Each session lasts about an hour.

As a wildlife emergency room and hospital, the Wildlife Center is not usually open to the public. The seasonal open houses are the times during the year when visitors may tour the Waynesboro facility.

There is no charge to participate in an open house; however, reservations are required [540.942.9453 or wildlife@wildlifecenter.org]. A limited number of spaces are available for each session.

During the open house, visitors will tour the Center’s building, including the medical clinic [examination room, operating room, etc.] In addition, visitors will get to “meet” the Center’s education animals – some of the 20 non-releasable animals that the Center’s education staff uses in school assemblies and classroom presentations.  Included in the Center’s education “faculty” are a Golden Eagle, owls [Great Horned, Screech, and Barred], Red-Tailed Hawks, several different species of snakes, and Virginia Opossums. As most of these animals live in outdoor homes, these tours are offered weather permitting.

Every year, about 2,500 animals – ranging from Bald Eagles to opossums to chipmunks – are brought to the Wildlife Center for care. “The goal of the Center is to restore our patients to health and return as many as possible to the wild,” Wildlife Center President Ed Clark said. “At the Wildlife Center, we treat to release.”

The Wildlife Center of Virginia is an internationally acclaimed teaching and research hospital for wildlife and conservation medicine. During its history, the nonprofit Center has cared for more than 52,000 wild animals, representing 200 species of native birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. The Center’s public education programs share insights gained through the care of injured and orphaned wildlife, in hopes of reducing human damage to wildlife. The Center trains veterinary and conservation professionals from all over the world and is actively involved in comprehensive wildlife health studies and the surveillance of emerging diseases. Additional information about the Wildlife Center is available at www.wildlifecenter.org.


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