Wildlife Biology, BS, Minor

The understanding of our natural environment and its inhabitants has never been more important than at the present.

The Wildlife Biology degree at Lees-McRae College is an environmentally-focused program that integrates zoology, botany, earth science, and chemistry. Utilizing the college's unique location, students are engaged in regular field experience at the 70 acre Elk River Preserve. Field experiences are focused on understanding ecosystems including exposure to a wide variety of habitats, including aquatic and terrestrial communities, field observations, and collection and analysis of data. Students are expected to be able to identify flora and fauna of an area and learn collection, observation, and census techniques. Wildlife Biology students also have the opportunity to participate in field work abroad in locations such as Belize and Costa Rica.

Students interested in becoming intimately familiar with the care, needs and behavior of wild and domesticated vertebrates can choose to pursue a concentration in Wildlife Rehabilitation. This program focuses on the treatment and temporary care of injured, diseased and displaced indigenous wildlife and the subsequent return of healthy animals to appropriate habitats in the wild. All students participate in an eleven week (12 hour) internship at the Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute (BRWI) on the campus of Lees-McRae College. The BRWI is the only program of its kind in the southeast, successfully rehabilitating over 1,000 animals a year.

Students may also choose to minor in Wildlife Biology or Wildlife Rehabilitation.

Explore additional opportunities in Biology, Nursing, Allied Health and Athletic Training programs.

Click here to learn more about the Elk River Preserve


Sample Wildlife Biology Courses

Appalachian Ecology
Conservation Biology
Desert Biology
Field Biology
Field Botany
Natural History
Principles of Ecology
Research Topics in Biology
Tropical Biology

Sample Wildlife Rehabilitation Concentration Courses

The Wildlife Rehabilitation Concentration is designed for those students with a career interest in providing health care to wildlife or domesticated animals. The concentration provides a strong academic and clinical background as a preparation for graduate work and veterinary school.

Clinical Wildlife Rehabilitation I, II
Environmental Biology
Internship in Biology
Introduction to Wildlife Rehabilitation I, II

See full degree, concentration and minor requirements in the College Catalog

Career Oportunities

Programs to study and monitor our environment's health are widespread, occurring through federal and state government agencies, universities and numerous private organizations. These programs require enthusiastic, dedicated individuals with the necessary training to carry out intensive field studies on individual species, communities and ecosystems.

Upon graduation, Wildlife Biology majors will have both the necessary knowledge and skills to find employment as biologists for a wide variety of employers including:

  • Animal Research Laboratories
  • Army Corps of Engineers
  • Conservation Organizations
  • Environmental Assessment and Restoration Businesses
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Fish Hatcheries
  • National Park Service
  • National Forest Service
  • Private Forestry Companies
  • State Agricultural Extension Programs
  • State and County Parks
  • Utility Companies
  • Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers
  • Zoos

Students will also have the necessary curriculum and experience to be accepted to and succeed in graduate school.

Students hoping to practice veterinary medicine should follow the Pre-Health Science curriculum in order to fulfill the requirements for most veterinary schools, will need to attend veterinary school and complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.


Dr. Edwin E. (Gene) Spears
Professor of Biological Sciences
B.A., University of North Carolina at Asheville
M.S., Ph.D., University of Florida at Gainesville
Dr. Stewart Skeate
Professor of Biological Sciences
B.S., Rutgers University
M.A., California State University
Ph.D., University of Florida at Gainesville
Dr. Claude Pyatte
Associate Professor of Biological Sciences
B.S., North Carolina State University
D.V.M., University of Georgia
Dr. Kenneth Davis
Associate Professor of Chemistry
B.S., Presbyterian College
Ph.D., Texas A & M University
Dr. Fiona Chrystall
Assistant Professor of Environmental Science
B.Sc., Ph.D., University of Stirling
Ms. Nina Fischesser
Director, Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute
B.S., Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Dr. Steve Saunders
Adjunct Professor of Biological Science
B.S., University of Florida (Gainesville)
Ph.D., University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill)
Diplomate, American Board of Toxicology
Dr. Dalenia "Dee" Medford-Baker
Assistant Professor of Biology
B.A., UNC-Asheville
M.S., East Tennessee State University
D.C., Sherman College
George E. Dunaif, Ph.D., DABT
Adjunct Professor of Biological Sciences/Nutrition
BS State University of NY (Buffalo)
MS Iowa State University
PhD Cornell University
Diplomate, American Board of Toxicology

Kari Hecker Ryan, PhD, RD
Adjunct Professor of Biological Sciences/Nutrition
BS Indiana University (Bloomington)
MS University of Missouri (Columbia)
PhD Penn State University
Registered Dietician

Robert C. Brown, PhD, MPH, RD
Adjunct Professor of Biological Sciences

Contact Us

Dr. Stewart Skeate
Professor of Biological Sciences
B.S., Rutgers University
M.A., California State University
Ph.D., University of Florida at Gainesville