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Executive Committee

Rachel Avilla

Rachel Avilla, President

The Wild Neighbors Database Project | WMRD
Region 3

Bio: Rachel Avilla is the co-founder of the non-profit organization The Wild Neighbors Database Project. There are currently 3 projects under way. First is “WRMD” which is the free online medical database for Wildlife rehabilitators. The Second is “O-WRMD” which is a collaboration of The Oiled Wildlife Care Network and WRMD to have a Oil Spill ready Medical Database for oil spill victims. Third is a the California Wildlife Disease Surveillance Project, which gleans basic data from participating Wildlife Rehabilitation Organizations to help identify diseases in California Wildlife. In the 7 years of it’s existence, it also offers service to more then 300 accounts in 43 states and 10 counties. It has been a booming success and has given her the opportunity to visit dozens of centers all of the US and abroad. With this experience, she has developed a unique view into Wildlife Rehabilitation globally and has made it her goal to discover the leverage points of this field. How can wildlife rehabilitators best continue to improve their skills and knowledge as well as bring it’s hard work and knowledge to the forefront and use that to better help wildlife as a whole?

Rachel has always been an animal person, raising puppies and cockatiels in here bedroom as child. In college she continued and expanded her love of animals and nature and studied Environmental Science at Saint Mary’s College of California. She fell in love with environmental science and all the aspects it included.

Before graduating she interned at The Bird Rescue Center in Santa Rosa, where she immediately fell in love with corvids, particularly ravens. The following year she started interning at Lindsay Wildlife Museum and did some work with Corvid Connection. After volunteering at the Lindsay Wildlife Hospital for a few years she was hired to work in the hospital. In 2006, she became the Volunteer Manager of Lindsay Wildlife Museum, managing roughly 350 volunteers and all of their recruitment, training and maintenance and helped with all the other tasks required to run a large rehabilitation facility. During her time at Lindsay she became particularly fond of passerines, swifts and volunteers.

In 2013 it was time for her to leave Lindsay and she temporarily took a job at Belize Bird Rescue for 1 1/2 years. There, she discovered a whole new outlook on wildlife rehabilitation, one where you had to catch your rats and fish and breed your own mealworms and mice, or the animals did not get fed. Viewing the illegal pet trade first hand with intelligent beings such as parrots and monkeys was more heartbreaking than anything California could throw at her.

By 2015 it was time to settle back into California, I joined the CCWR advocacy committee and spent the summer volunteering for the Native Songbird Care and Conservation which was very educational as well. Songbird care to perfection! In 2016 she moved to Lake County where there is only one permitted Wildlife Rehabilitator. There is lots of work to be done there…

As much as she loves working directly with the animals and wishes she could contribute more to direct animal care, she has come to the acknowledgement that at this point her skills are best used in organizing the community as a whole. With her experience of collaborating with hundreds of organizations and thousands of users she has gained a view of the big picture. CCWR is one of the largest and best organized state organizations and has the opportunity to make a difference at a state level. Where California goes, so does the rest of the states, eventually.

Ruth McDunn

Ruth McDunn, Vice President

Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley
Region 3

Bio: Ruth McDunn has been a member of CCWR since 2013 and involved in ENews!!!, biannual newsletter layout/formatting, website development and maintenance, scholarship committee, and the symposia.

Ruth has a BS in Biology and Chemistry and a MS in Molecular Biology and worked at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford for almost 22 years before she took early retirement, so she could spend more time working for and with animals. At SLAC, she managed content on one of the largest websites in the world, which was also the first website in the US. Ruth also spent six years in Environment, Safety and Health training, 10 years in Technical Publications, several years in quality assurance, and the remaining time in project management, where she built online systems to help manage large projects.

Ruth started volunteering at WCSV in August of 2011 and was quickly promoted to shift captain. She continues to volunteer 4-8 hours each week at the center doing animal care and database assistance. In addition, Ruth has provided complete layout and formatting for the biannual newsletter, Tracks, since 2012.

Ruth has worked with just about all types of animals that come in to the center, from baby birds, opossums, squirrels, raptors, and rabies vector species, and predatory mammals – of all ages – and even a few amphibians and reptiles. Ruth also releases animals to their habitat after rehabilitation, often photographing process for online and print publications. Since February 2015, Ruth started volunteering at the Youth Science Institute at Alum Rock Park, doing animal care and working with the educational animals.

Lucinda Adamson
Lucinda Adamson

Lucinda Adamson, Secretary

Bird Ally X
Region 1

Bio: Lucinda Adamson began her wildlife rehabilitation career as a volunteer at the Humboldt Wildlife Care Center (HWCC) in 2009. In 2011 she started volunteering with Bird Ally X (BAX) and completed a BAX aquatic bird rehabilitation internship in 2012. She currently works as the Assistant Rehabilitation Manager at the BAX/HWCC facility.  Lucinda served on the HWCC board of directors from 2012 – 2015 and on the Bird Ally X board of directors from 2014 – 2015. She is trained as an oil spill responder for the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) and has been a member of CCWR and NWRA since 2010. Lucinda graduated from Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA in 2012 with a BS in Wildlife Biology and Conservation. Lucinda enjoys working with all wildlife especially aquatic birds and raccoons.

Veronica BowersVeronica Bowers

Veronica Bowers, Treasurer

Native Songbird Care and Conservation
Region 3

Bio: Veronica Bowers is the director and founder of Native Songbird Care and Conservation. Located in Sebastopol, California, NSCC is a state and federally permitted wildlife rehabilitation facility devoted exclusively to the care of native passerines. With support of a small team of 12 amazing volunteers, Native Songbird Care & Conservation cares for approximately 1,000 songbirds each year.

Veronica has a passion for songbirds and has been working exclusively with this diverse and challenging group of wildlife since 1999. In addition to the hands-on care of the birds, Veronica is responsible for managing the day-to-day center operations, including recruitment, training and management of volunteers; raising funds to cover hospital operating costs; and responding to approximately 3,500 calls annually from the public.

Veronica teaches songbird rehabilitation workshops and species-specific classes to rehabilitators throughout North America; presents educational outreach programs to community groups in California; and serves on the California Council of Wildlife Rehabilitators board of directors and CCWR Advocacy Committee.

Members at Large

Elissa Blair Bird Ally X
Region 1

Jo Joseph

International Bird Rescue
Region 5

Ashton Kluttz

The Bird Rescue Center
Region 3

Tomo Wiggans, DVM

Region 3

Founding Director

Crystal NorrisCrystal Norris

Crystal Norris

CCWR Founding Director
Region 3

Bio: Crystal Norris, originally from the state of Florida, has been involved with wildlife rehabilitation since 1980. She was an active member at Santa Rosa Bird Rescue Center for over 15 years and since 1994, has served on the Sonoma County Fish and Wildlife Commission. As a long time member of both NWRA and IWRC, Crystal served for 5 years as a board member of IWRC. Among other projects completed while on the IWRC Board of Directors, she worked on the accreditation for rehabilitation centers. As one of the founding board members of CCWR, I served as president for many of those years. I, along with your other Board members, believe that wildlife rehabilitators have developed better networking throughout the state thanks to work completed by the by the organization. I feel CCWR has bridged many gaps between the wildlife rehabilitation community and the Department of Fish and Game.