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Wild Patients

Wild Patients

by Rachel Rainbolt, Education Coordinator
Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife

This summer, as the SWFL Community Foundation gears up for the next competitive grant cycle, we have asked our 2015 grantees to send us their stories. Here this week we learn from Rachel Rainbolt of the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW). The Foundation is pleased to partner with these change makers. If you have ideas and hope for the future, we’d love to hear from you at [email protected] or @SWFLCFnd on Twitter.

The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife is a teaching hospital and visitor center dedicated to saving wildlife through state-of-the-art veterinary care, research, education, and conservation medicine. Conservation medicine is a relatively new field that uses an interdisciplinary approach to study the relationship between ecological, human and animal health.

CROW is always continuing to grow with the community, and whether shared through an exhibit, a presentation or through live-feed footage, it is our responsibility to involve the community members in the lives of our patients. Since its inception in 1968 CROW has committed itself to treating wildlife that arrives to the hospital sick, injured or orphaned, and the “One World, One Health” approach to conservation medicine looks to improve the health of the environment, humans and animals through a better knowledge of wildlife medicine.

In addition to providing the highest quality of medical care, CROW offers educational opportunities for different members of the community in its visitor education center, which hosts more than 15,000 guests each year. By far one of the most significant additions for the visitor center has been with the introduction of the “If You Care, Leave It There” exhibit.

Believe it or not, but, prior to 2012, CROW used to admit a great deal of “abducted” babies. I am sure that even now there will be those reading this who believe by touching juvenile animals after they have ventured too far from the nest will result in parental neglect. Feel assured knowing that their instincts to raise healthy offspring will outweigh their fear of humans. Patient statistics supported the necessity for change, so CROW’s staff began producing literature regarding knowing the difference between animals that genuinely need help with those who would be best left where they were.

Support from the Southwest Florida Community Foundation has helped to empower this project by funding the “If You Care Exhibit”, which now serves as one of the main attractions in our education center. Its presence has been shared with 13 different groups from Lee County schools as well as thousands of visitors from all around the world.

If you’d like to learn more about our wild patients, contact us at or call me at 239-472-3644, ext. 228.

About the SWFL Community Foundation
As leaders, conveners, grant makers and concierges of philanthropy, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is a foundation built on community leadership with an inspired history of fostering regional change for the common good in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Community Foundation, founded in 1976, connects donors and their philanthropic aspirations with evolving community needs. With assets of more than $88 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $61.2 million to date in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, it granted more than $2.9 million to nonprofit organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services. It granted $782,000 in nonprofit grants including more than $551,000 in regional community impact grants and additional $450,000 in scholarship grants. For more information, visit

Southwest Florida Community Foundation
Southwest Florida Community Foundation

Our ambition is a more vibrant community that will continually address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties in Southwest Florida. We invite you to join our family and invest in the community with us!