TWRC Wildlife Center
2020-Year in Review
From TWRC Executive Director Mary Warwick

Hello TWRC Members,
What can we say about 2020? It started calmly enough. Five staff members attended the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association (NWRA) 2020 Conference in South Padre Island, TX in February. We attended classes covering everything from wildlife medicine to enrichment ideas for our ambassador animals. After five days, we came back with many fresh and exciting ideas for the year ahead. Then, the world changed. We quickly reformed our protocols to ensure the Center remained a safe place to work while continuing to take in wildlife in need. We admitted 3,200 animals from 157 species during the year, a little less than normal, with no more than two people working in each suite at any given time.

I am deeply grateful for our staff, who worked tirelessly through this difficult situation to help every animal that entered our doors. Both the Vet Room and Animal Care Program, led by Liz Compton and Heather Cragun, experienced a drastic decrease in helping hands. Liz, Heather, Rachel, Lauren, and Victoria worked many hours from Spring to late Fall to ensure each department continued to run as smoothly as possible. Critter Care, led by Amber Leung, also experienced a shift in human resources. Amber adjusted the Critter Care schedule to early mornings to help with accommodating our new safety protocols. Despite the prompt changes, Iris, Pugsley, and the rest of our Ambassador Animal team are still receiving the best care imaginable.

A new year is upon us, and we are excited to plan and present many virtual events that we think you will enjoy. We look forward to safer times when our beloved volunteers can return in full force and our Center will be open to the public once again. 
Thank you for your continued support of TWRC, and we can’t wait to work with you again soon.
Mary Warwick
TOTAL ADMISSIONS: Our Center admitted 3,200 animals from 157 different species for care in 2020. 
ONSITE ANIMAL CARE PROGRAM (ACP): 2020 was the third year of the combined onsite Animal Care Programs. 513 animals were admitted and cared for from 17 different species of mammals and birds. It was an especially difficult year for the ACP staff as a skeleton crew of two people per shift were responsible for caring for all the animals. We deeply appreciate their hard work and dedication.
BUDGET: We started 2020 with a budget similar to the two previous years. As with everything else in 2020, our budget faced some major challenges. Donations decreased by 60% and as the pandemic persisted, grants were not being awarded. Economic uncertainty kept purse strings tight. Contracts were renegotiated where possible and other money saving measures were taken to ensure our budget stretched as far as it could go. December buoyed our sprits as wonderful members and donors gave generously to our Giving Tuesday fundraiser, Winter Appeal, and general donations. We ended the year with news that we had finally been awarded a grant from TC Energy in support of our Education Program and Ambassador Animals. 

In 2020 we were fortunate to have 15 interns from all over the country. Typically, interns assist in all areas including assisting with intakes, caring for our Ambassador Animals, marketing, and caring for babies in the Animal Care Program. With no volunteers, this group really stepped up to the plate and gave 110%, filling in and covering additional jobs and tasks throughout their internships. They acted as “Runners” in our no-contact admission process and filled in wherever they could. One of our interns, Victoria Euresti, became a staff member as our new Volunteer Coordinator. We are grateful to have these young adults every year and look forward to another good group in 2021.
Rose Ayala
Morgan Coker
Kayla Cruz
Victoria Euresti
Laura Gonzalez
Anja Hartge
Elizabeth Langston
Freya Manuel

Kasey Poynter
Emily Pruyn
Emily Richards
Adrian Salazar
Alex Smith
Madison Smith
Aleesia Wilks

Education is a big part of our mission and focuses on fostering a love of the environment and promoting good stewardship of our natural resources and Texas wildlife. Our aim is to help people of all ages understand more about the world around them; their impact on it, and its impact on them. Our hope is that they will then be inspired to act in ways that will help preserve our natural resources.
Our education team had to make major changes to how they reached the public. Teachers and students were scrambling in the Spring, so outreach had almost stopped completely. As summer and fall approached, opportunities opened for virtual presentations. There was a learning curve, but our educators rose to the challenge to reach as many people as possible.  
Victoria Hepburn shares JJ Watt the bull snake with a class during a virtual presentation. As you can see, our educators had to get used to looking at themselves on the screen as they spoke to the kids.
Anke Liebschner shares Iris the screech owl with a class during a virtual educational event. Anke has been a wonderful addition to our education program.
Here on the Gulf Coast, many of us have some type of experience with emergency preparedness. This past summer was no exception, and the TWRC planned ahead to keep the wildlife in our care safe in the event of a hurricane. Whether someone is responsible for the wellbeing of animals or of a family with young children, it’s EXTRA important to keep an eye on storm forecasts and have a plan ready. 

For National Preparedness Month, the Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management launched their new awareness campaign especially for kids with Olivia the Preparedness Opossum. TWRC’s own Pugsley the Opossum, together with Educational Animal Coordinator Amber Leung, greeted the video crew from Harris County to help get the word out about the campaign. You can watch Pugsley’s star-performance here:

Download and print Olivia’s activity book and find more information at
NTD-Houston covered TWRC Wildlife Center's #GivingTuesday campaign and featured some of our Ambassador Animals.
TWRC Wildlife Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. We receive no city, state, or federal funds. The pandemic has considerably decreased our donations. Please consider donating today.