About the Blue Ridge Wildlife InstituteAbout the Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute

About the Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute


Recognizing that the planet and its life forms have an inherent worth, and that we have a responsibility to treat the earth and its processes with respect, The Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute is dedicated to the stewardship of the earth through environmental education, research, and the rehabilitation of sick, injured, and orphaned native North American wildlife.

About the Institute

The Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute is part of Lees-McRae College, a non-profit Organization, that holds both state and federal rehabilitation and education permits. The Institute is dedicated to wildlife rehabilitation, environmental education, and research.

The Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute is located on the Lees-McRae campus in the Dan and Dianne May Rehabilitation Center. We opened our doors on May 15, 1995 and we care for more than 1,000 injured wild animals from the Western North Carolina Region annually, including songbirds, raptors, waterfowl, and small mammals.

The Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute conducts educational programs using non-releasable wild animals. In addition, it organizes and facilitates workshops and seminars for the education of rehabilitators, veterinarians, and environmental educators. The Institute publishes a newsletter and rehabilitators listing as networking tools for wildlife care-givers and educators. The Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute strictly follows the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association standards and guidelines.

The Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute offers comprehensive internships for pre-veterinary and environmental education college students, providing them with a unique hands-on experiences as well as professional training on wildlife rehabilitation, medical procedures, species identification and anatomy, and much more. The Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute also provides Service opportunities for volunteers!


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.

Scientific Research

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.