February 28, 2012
New May Wildlife Center under construction, Scheduled to open this spring
May Wildlife Center Rendering

The new Daniel and Dianne May Wildlife Center is under roof and nearing completion on the Lees-McRae College campus. The new home of the Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute and the first new construction on campus since The Village student apartments in 2005 will open on Mill Pond Road in May.

Thanks to the $400,000 gift from Daniel and Dianne May through the Edwin and Jeanette May Foundation, the new 2500 square foot facility is entering into the final stages of construction adjacent to the current facility near the banks of the scenic Elk River.

The new facility will provide an improved atmosphere for students, faculty, wildlife and visitors. One significant improvement will be the addition of an education area that will keep visitors out of treatment areas, providing a more enjoyable educational experience.

"The best aspect of our new facility will be the ability to keep the rehab center behind the scenes while still providing an exceptional educational experience for our visitors," said Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute Director Nina Fischesser. "Also, our students will now have a multipurpose work room that will also provide a quiet area away from treatment for the training of animal ambassadors."

Other improvements to the new facility include a quarantine and intensive care unit for animals that need to be kept in a quiet place. There will also be a room dedicated to the study of herpetology, the branch of zoology concerned with the study of amphibians and reptiles.

May Wildlife Center rendering

According to student intern Amanda Goble, the Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute at Lees-McRae College is one of the only centers of its kind in western North Carolina that is licensed to care for amphibians and reptiles.

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.

The community is invited to attend the grand opening celebration of the Daniel and Dianne May Wildlife Center on July 12. Check back at for details.

Media Contact:

Blaine Hansen  |  Vice President of Strategic Planning and Effectiveness
Tel: 828.898.8838  |  Email: