From the Bay, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

The Wildlife of the Chesapeake Need Your Help

Chloe Carr, student intern from St. Mary’s college, holding a juvenile Bald Eagle that was rescued from the Chesapeake Bay on December 12.
Chloe Carr, student intern from St. Mary’s college, holding a juvenile Bald Eagle that was rescued from the Chesapeake Bay on December 12.

The Orphaned Wildlife Rescue Center (O.W.R.C.) opened its doors in Lusby, Maryland in 1990 and has been serving the community statewide. When they began, they did so to meet the demand for wildlife rescue in Southern Maryland and the Tri-county Area and now serve all of Maryland. O.W.R.C. rescues about 3,000 animals each year, and to date have returned more than 35,000 animals back to the wild. They are licensed in all species and do not turn any wild animal away.

Since 1991, O.W.R.C. has progressively built a wildlife center on three acres of heavily-wooded property that includes the state-of-the-art Wildlife Clinic of Maryland, the Chesapeake Wildlife Education Center, a rescue vessel serving the Chesapeake Bay, and a housing facility for our veterinary interns. In 2014, with the help of their volunteers, they were been able to achieve a 94% success rate for returning animals back to the wild, making the O.W.R.C. one of the most successful wildlife facilities in the country.

Licensed in all wildlife species, they rescue and treat a large array of animals.  Common patients are Bald Eagles, Red Tailed hawks, owls, fawns, raccoons, opossums and songbirds. In winter months they rescue and treat mostly reptiles, migratory water birds, and animals hit by cars.

Some of their accomplishments include: Bald Eagle rescue, construction of a full emergency medical facility for injured wildlife, construction of numerous exercise and flight pens, as well as being the first wildlife rescue in the state of Maryland and the only on-water rescue serving the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

In 2014 alone, they completed their “Eagle One” project which allows them to rescue and rehabilitate Bald Eagles, hawks, owls and other large birds of prey. Construction of a new incubator room for infant mammals and birds and the raptor rescue facilities were completed as well. Beginning April 2015, they will be offering Maryland state and veterinary-board certified educational programs about wildlife and our shared environment. All of these programs will be held in the new Chesapeake Wildlife Education Center located in Lusby, MD. They continue to support “Scouting with our Eagle Scouts” projects as well as other community groups.

At present, they are fortunate enough to have seven veterinarians who volunteer their services at the facility. Fortunately, they have a volunteer staff of 25 dedicated people that they couldn’t survive without.

They have experienced a profound growth rate of 1500% in the last five years, partially due to the closing of so many other wildlife organizations, but also as well as because of the notoriety they have received. In fact, they are now the largest wildlife rescue center in the state of Maryland. The subsequent expansion of their service area, however, requires more volunteers and significantly more funding.

The board of directors have been diligently working to prepare for even further expansion, which has resulted in the group having to take out several loans in the last three years just to keep up with the demand.

O.W.R.C. has an annual working budget of $47,000.00 but we are scraping pennies together to stay afloat. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization, we may accept tax deductible donations from the public – our main supporters – as there has been no funding available from the county, state, or federal government to date. They were recently added to the Combined Federal Campaign and their number is #75009.

If any of you have an interest in learning more about the O.W.R.C. and want to donate to their cause, log on to or call Ron Wexler at 410-326-0937. Any and all support is greatly appreciated by the O.W.R.C. and the animals that they save.

Written by: Ron Wexler

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