Wildlife Center president honored

Ed Clark. Photo by Will Kerner

Eagle Rare Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is today announcing that Ed Clark¸ President and Co-Founder of The Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro, has received the national 2012 Grand Prize Rare Life Award.

The Rare Life Award is given to an individual who “leads a rare life” of courage, leadership, survival, devotion, character, and heroism.  Nominations were solicited through the Eagle Rare web-site; individuals could review the biographies of scores of nominees and vote for the most worthy recipients.   According to Eagle Rare, Clark’s nomination received a recording-setting 180,000 supporting votes.

Seven finalists were selected from the top 20 vote-recipients.  Clark is the Grand Prize award winner for 2012; as part of the Grand Prize award, Eagle Rare will donate $20,000 to the Wildlife Center.

“Receiving the Eagle Rare Life Award is very gratifying,” Clark said.  “I appreciate each and every one of the votes I received.  It is humbling to know that so many people care about me and my life’s work.  But, more importantly, the support I received motivates me to continue to try to make a difference in this world.”

Clark credits his win to the tens of thousands of online supporters of the Wildlife Center who nominated him for the award and organized the effort to “get out the vote”.  While he is the individual recipient of this honor and recognition, Clark is quick to share the credit for his success with his coworkers and colleagues.  “While I have always tried to make a positive difference through my work and live a life that matters, most truly worthwhile accomplishments require a team of people working together.  I am blessed to be surrounded by an incredible group of people with whom to advance the mission of the Wildlife Center and pursue goals in which we all believe.”

“Throughout his life, Ed Clark has inspired and enabled millions of people to become involved in protecting wildlife around the world,” said Kris Comstock¸ Bourbon Brand Manager of Buffalo Trace Distillery.  “It is because of his courage, leadership, survival, devotion, character and heroism that Ed Clark is the grand prize winner of the 2012 Rare Life Award.”

The Grand Prize Winner of the 2011 Rare Life Award was Master Gunnery Sergeant Charles Padilla of San Marcos, California.  After more than 20 years of service in the United States Marine Corps, Padilla ran 3,530 miles across the United States to raise money to benefit wounded soldiers.

Since its founding in 1982, the nonprofit Wildlife Center has cared for nearly 60,000 wild animals, representing 200 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.  The Center’s public education programs share insights gained through the care of injured and orphaned wild animals, in hopes of reducing human damage to wildlife.  In 2011, the Center launched a web-based Critter Cam which has attracted thousands of viewers from across the United States and around the world.  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.  Under Clark’s leadership, the Wildlife Center received the 1993 National Environmental Achievement Award for Wildlife Conservation; in 2007, the Center received the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Achievement Award and was named the Wildlife Conservation Organization of the Year for the United States.  Additional information about the Wildlife Center is available at www.wildlifecenter.org.

Clark’s career in wildlife conservation has spanned 35 years, during which he has held leadership positions with state, national and international organizations and institutions.  Clark is a Virginia native; he received a B.A. in history and political science from Bridgewater College and did graduate work in education at James Madison University and the University of Virginia.  Before co-founding the Wildlife Center, Clark was president of the Virginia Wilderness Committee, served as the first Executive Director of the Conservation Council of Virginia Foundation [now known as the Virginia Conservation Network], and co-founded and became Assistant Director of the Environmental Task Force in Washington, D.C.  In 1997 he received the Chuck Yeager Award from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for his conservation work.  In 2006 he was named Distinguished Alumnus of the Year by Bridgewater College and also received the “Scarlette Award” from the Virginia Conservation Network for outstanding contributions to conservation and environmental protection.

Eagle Rare Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is part of the award-winning Buffalo Trace Distillery, a family-owned company based in Frankfort, Kentucky with a distilling tradition dating back to 1787.  Eagle Rare Bourbon is an award-winning ten-year-old single barrel bourbon.  Additional information about Eagle Rare and the Rare Life Award is available at www.eaglerarelife.com.


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