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Make a difference! Donate today!
Formerly known as the West Virginia Raptor Rehabilitation Center (WVRRC), the WV Raptor Center is in the process of restructuring. While renovating and making a slight name change, its basic goals of rehabilitating birds of prey, training educational ambassadors, providing public environmental education programs, and supplying scientific data to share with other facilities and academia, will never change. The center’s headquarters will move to Tucker and Randolph Counties, WV, while the Fairmont, WV location will still be utilized during the summer months after renovation has been completed on that facility. The non-profit (501-c-3) WVRRC was established in 1983 by founder Michael Book. After 38 years of caring for injured, orphaned and sick birds of prey, and providing environmental educational programs to the public, Book made the difficult decision to close the doors of the WVRRC in July, 2021. All the birds housed at the center at the time were transferred to another facility. Just when it looked like this was the end of a much needed service, Master Class Falconer Collin Waybright, unaware of the closure, contacted the center after receiving a call to pick up an injured raptor. Devastated upon learning the center was not in operation, Waybright decided to take on the challenge of keeping the doors open. Encouraged by Book, he took over the huge task of reorganizing, renovating and continuing the strong legacy of the center in providing a much needed service. Before assuming the role of Executive Director, Waybright had volunteered since 2014 at the WVRRC in many different capacities, thus aware of its mission and goals. His interest in falconry came at an early age and he earned his falconry permit in 2014 at the age of 14. Since then he has trained many birds to become educational ambassadors, such as Shera, an American Kestrel currently at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh PA, and Mr. Spectacular, a Bald Eagle used for educational programs who has since been transferred from the WVRRC to another facility. At 22, Waybright is one of the youngest Master Class Falconers in the state of West Virginia. After lots of planning and establishing a committed Board of Directors consisting of individuals from the professional/scientific community and the general public, Waybright has started renovations at the former WVRRC in Fairmont, WV. “We have a good solid Board of Directors that are all invested in seeing the WV Raptor Center succeed in its goals,” said Chairman of the Board Marsha Waybright. The existing Board members are: Simeon Sheppard (Treasurer), Luke Bucher, Asa Mullennex, and Dr. Bob Ebert. Volunteers include Tiffany Waybright (Educational Director and Historian) Whitney Mullennex (Recorder). The WVRC is supported by the Hickman Veterinary Animal Hospital,
West Virginia DNR, US Fish and Wildlife Dept., The Laurel Fork Falconer, Laurel Fork Farm, and Laurel River Club Bed & Breakfast.
As a non-profit, donations are always welcome to keep the doors open.
Collin is a Master-Class, licensed Falconer in the state of West Virginia. He started this adventure by trapping his first Red-Tailed Hawk, Ace, from the wild when he was only 14 years old. Collin has also trained an American Kestrel for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, PA, and is one of the youngest people in the US to work with and train a Bald Eagle. Collin has volunteered at the WV Raptor Rehab Center in many different capacities such as helping with physical therapy of birds at his home in Tucker County, helping with educational programs, picking up injured birds, and much more. Collin was home-schooled and graduated in 2018. Right after graduation, he spent 10 months working at the Ararat Ridge Zoo located at the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, KY. Over 7 years of experience working with the WVRRC and the Ararat Ridge Zoo has allowed Collin to work with a number of different birds including some that a raptor would consider "lunch". People are often amazed at Collin's God-given talent of working seemingly effortlessly with birds. Of course, if you ask him, he will assure you that there is more to training birds than meets the eye. Collin intends to step into the mission of the WVRC as the new director and continue the work that they have done the past 38 years.
Marsha is a certified dog trainer with 25 years of training service and therapy animals, which included a breeding program for AKC registered Norwegian Elkhounds. She is a homeschool mom to her three children and a Sunday School and Bible teacher. As an entrepreneur, she has owned and operated a petting zoo, horse stable, and now an educational farm, Laurel Fork Farm LLC. She continues to educate the public on all aspects of farming from planting to preserving using Regenerative Agriculture. She is a West Virginia Master Gardener, a West Virginia Master Artisan in soap making and has sold her all natural products all over the US and many other countries. She is currently the property manager at Laurel River Club Bed & Breakfast.
Simeon has a background in lending, specializing in Residential Real Estate mortgages. He is also the Praise & Worship Leader at his church and has been involved in Worship Ministry for the past 10 years of his life. "I consider Worship Ministry to be not only a passion, but what The Lord has called me to do here on Earth. I have a deep respect for WV wildlife and enjoy fishing with my son and wife. I love experiencing West Virginia’s beautiful scenery on my motorcycle.”
Asa Mullennex enjoys renovating houses and building cabins near his home in east-central West Virginia. He currently resides on his family farm with his lovely wife Whitney Mullennex; where he spends his leisure time playing old-time music, exploring nature with friends, and pursuing a deeper relationship with the Lord.
Luke was born and raised in Harman WV where he still resides. He has been married 8 years to his wife Trish. They are blessed with 3 sons and 1 daughter. He is a Registered Nurse and has worked at Davis Medical center for 17 years. He enjoys hunting, camping, and many things outdoors. He attends church at Bowden Family Worship center. He has been on several mission trips to Haiti and has made good friends in the process.
Bio coming soon!
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