our story

Welcome to Center for Wildlife in Cape Neddick, Maine! Nestled at the base of Mount Agamenticus, for 33 years our facility has treated over 50,000 injured and orphaned wild animals and presented programming to thousands of community members annually.  Our vision is to instill a sense of understanding, responsibility, and compassion for our natural world leading to a society connected to nature and empowered to take action, and we do this through conservation medicine, environmental education, community empowerment, and advocacy.

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MISSION 

Center for Wildlife is a private, non-profit organization whose mission is to cultivate and strengthen relationships between humans, wildlife and the environment resulting in a healthier, more sustainable community. To this end, we focus on three goals: 

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Strengthen our community's overall health through the interdisciplinary approach of conservation medicine.

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Expand community outreach and provide learning opportunities to educate and inspire people of all ages to value the connection between wildlife, human, and environmental health.

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Achieve and advance a diverse and viable fundraising strategy, ensuring long-term financial sustainability to support the successful growth and continued demand for our work in the community.

HISTORY

A veterinarian in York, Maine founded Center for Wildlife in 1986. The first year of operation, the phone typically rang once per week, and 100 wildlife patients were admitted. The Center was operated out of a trailer with no running water. In 1994, the Center moved to its current site in Cape Neddick, Maine, and within 5 years was treating over 1,000 animals annually. 

Today, Center for Wildlife proudly serves the New England region typically managing 2,000 patients each year (native wildlife injured because of vehicle collisions, domestic pets, pollution, fishing lines, oil spills, and other human-related causes), representing more than 190 species of birds, reptiles, and mammals. The goal of our wildlife clinic is to not only medically treat and provide rehabilitation to injured wild animals so that they can be released back to the wild but also use data collected to better support broad systemic change.

For over 20 years, Center for Wildlife has also provided environmental education outreach programs bringing live animal ambassadors to schools, libraries, state parks, senior centers, professional conferences, and many other venues. Our Project Wild educators now provide a unique learning experience to over 13,000 individuals each year and enjoys partnerships with local groups committed to environmental education.  Through our social media and outreach program we have a national as well as international following.  The Center also offers robust internship and apprenticeship programs, and has an active volunteer base. 

 

We collaborate with regional universities and the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife to prepare for and address natural disasters and zoonotic diseases. Center for Wildlife’s Wildlife Assistance Hotline also fields over 15,000 calls each year, providing guidance to callers from all over New England.

Values

Commitment to Best Practice: We value a growth mindset, and encourage and expect all staff to attend ongoing education and acquire and maintain relevant certifications throughout their tenure.  Leadership Staff is encouraged to participate on relevant boards and advisory committees, helping to contribute to regional community, wildlife, and environmental health, in addition to elevating our fields of conservation medicine and environmental education.  We also strive to promote and work in conjunction with the state and federal wildlife action plans and conservation/restoration initiatives. 

 

Financial Sustainability: We believe that financial sustainability ultimately allows us to fulfill our mission work and to serve the community for generations to come.  We strive to achieve this sustainability by utilizing strategic planning, a donor centric lens, and pro-forma budget to guide our sustainable growth.  Each year we plan for a surplus of net income in order to fund emergency reserves and contribute to our endowment. 

 

Transparency:  We value transparency both within our organization and in our messaging to the community.  Strategic initiatives and decisions are relayed to all levels of our team at orientation and on an ongoing basis through Leadership Staff and regular “All Team” meetings.  We strive to keep our org chart, staffing plan, budgets, financial performances, and permits held up to date and available to our donors at all times.  Additionally, we are open about our euthanasia policies and prepare rescuers, volunteers, and interns that this option may sometimes be the most humane choice for an animal that is suffering.

Positive Work Culture:  We value a supportive and positive work culture as a means to retain high quality staff, and also as a way to focus on our mission.  Additionally, our patients and ambassadors rely on us to provide a low-stress and healing environment.  We achieve this culture through promoting work/life balance, offering workshops on acknowledging and preventing compassion fatigue, encouraging employee personal and professional development and growth, and recruiting self-aware and emotional intelligent candidates throughout our hiring process. 


Community:  Without an engaged community, we cannot achieve our mission.  We are proud to provide services for wildlife and the environment, along with public service, training, and contributions to baseline wildlife and environmental data through our Wildlife Assistance Hotline and collaboration with municipal, state, and federal agencies.  We believe in leveraging community expertise and resources through key partnerships with regional environmental non-profits. 

Ecology Driven and Conservation Minded:  We are committed to ecologically sound practice. This means that species are returned to their original territories whenever possible, and that information shared through our educational programming is vetted for sound scientific methodology and current statistics.  We also share as much data and phenological/conservation trends as possible and in the moment with government agencies and non-profit partners to promote best management policy and community action and awareness.  Additionally, through all programming we promote action or human intervention only when mitigating human-caused impacts on wildlife and the environment.    

Core Activities

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conservation medicine

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advocacy

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environmental education

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community empowerment