"This we know. All things are connected like blood, which unifies one family.
All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth.
Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it.
Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself."
~ Chief Seattle
The Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute is located in the May Rehabilitation Center on the Lees-McRae College Campus, near the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area and Pisgah National Forest. Licensed by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Institute annually cares for more than 900 injured or orphaned wild animals from Western North Carolina. These include animals attacked by cats, hit by cars, gunshot, caught in fences, and a myriad of other human-induced causes. This vital wildlife rehabilitation work includes medical assistance (in conjunction with trained veterinarians), feeding, housing, and supportive care. Fully recovered animals are released in appropriate wild habitats.
Some animals that cannot be released back into the wild serve as wildlife ambassadors for their species in our educational presentations.
Lees-McRae College Wildlife Rehabilitation majors take non-releasable wild animals to schools, churches, parks, and civic events throughout the state. These programs motivate North Carolinians to create positive, effective solutions to complicated environmental challenges.
The Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute's staff and students work collaboratively with wildlife biologists from Appalachian State University to gather information on endangered and threatened species. For example, ASU scientists have used the Institute's captive saw-whet owls to study owl DNA and to practice radio telemetry techniques.
The Institute's staff also helped scientists track these tiny owls through dense spruce-fir forests to study nesting behaviors and movement of fledglings. Data collected and maintained by Institute on wildlife injuries and treatment are available to students and researchers.