The Land & Our Team
Our Philosophy & Mission
Most wildlife encounter human habitation every day. This coupled with their own habitats decreasing can often mean that they have nowhere to go. Our mission is to educate others to live symbiotically with their local wildlife. CWCC’s constant dedication to wildlife inspires others to help preserve our planet’s animals and to have a voice to save our wildlife and wild places.
The Carolina Wildlife Conservation Center mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and release injured, orphaned and ill wildlife, while educating humans on how to live symbiotically with our backyard wildlife.
The Nature Preserve
CWCC is located on 105 acres of ecologically diverse land. The land is called “Wildplaces” after the quote, “May there always be wild places” by wildlife photographer and conservationist, Thomas Mangelsen. The National Wildlife Federation has awarded the land the status of “a certified wildlife habitat.”
This means that the land provides abundant food, water, cover, and places to raise wildlife. Charlotte is growing exponentially as an urban city and the wildlife is feeling the impact. With an increase negative wildlife encounters in human habitation, we are proud to have 105 acres of safe sanctuary forever for our wildlife. Our future goal is to have hundreds of acres in conservation land for wildlife to be save and free forever.
One of our three ponds.
The ponds are used for turtle release, wildlife habitat, and beaver/otter swim lessons.
Founder & Executive Director
Morgan Rafael is a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Morgan uses her skills from her background in veterinary technology and zoo medicine to give the most innovative care to her patients. She has traveled around the world doing wildlife rehabilitation including to Africa where she worked with orphaned rhinos.
Morgan has a fiery passion for educating others on how to live symbiotically with the wildlife in our backyards. She has big dreams for Carolina Wildlife Conservation Center and the lasting impact it willl make on wildlife and the environment for generations to come.
Wildlife Rehabilitation Director & Wildlife Biologist
Ruby Davis has been a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for 15 years. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology from Lees-McRae College. She is the Wildlife Rehab Director for Carolina Wildlife Conservation Center where she oversees the center’s rehabilitation practices for patients, along with the training and mentoring of staff and volunteers.
Before coming to CWCC, she worked with Wildlands Engineering as a wildlife biologist and was the lead environmental scientist for hydrology, botany, and fauna monitoring of wetland-stream restoration projects, which included conducting threatened and endangered species surveys. She has also helped the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission with bat surveys.
Her skills specialize in trauma and emergency care, including turtle shell repairs, along with husbandry and habitat experience. She was also the first NC rehabber to obtain their RVS license from the NCWRC.
Rachel Cerjan is a biologist that has experience with a variety of different animals and plant life from analyzing phytoplankton to conservation studies in Africa. Rachel has learned a lot about wildlife throughout her education and work and is now applying that knowledge to wildlife rehabilitation.
She obtained her Master’s Degree in biology researching bees and has a passion for all animals big and small. She is currently working with Morgan and Ruby as a mentee to become a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
Dr. Laura Lathan grew up in North Carolina and graduated from NCSU’s vet school in 1995 - go Wolfpack! She settled in Matthews, NC in 2007 and currently lives there with her husband, two sons, pit bull named Smithy, and snakes named Scarab, Sphinx, and Patty.
She’s always had a passion for exotic and wild animal medicine and had a variety of critters growing up. As a small animal veterinarian, she grew her caseload to about 50% exotics, and while working in Charlotte she developed relationships with several of the local wildlife rehabbers overseeing their more challenging cases. She was delighted to hear about the birth of CWCC several years ago, and jumped at the chance to be part of CWCC’s team.
When she’s not being a veterinarian, Dr. Laura can be found backpacking with the Scouts, cooking, playing Munchkin with her family, decorating cakes, and twisting balloon animals.
Logan Ronk is well versed in the nonprofit sector with a degree in Nonprofit Management from Indiana University - go Hoosiers! While not afraid to get her hands dirty with animal rehabilitation, she prefers to focus on donor engagement and fundraising development.
Carolina Wildlife constantly restores Logan’s faith in humanity as animal lovers come together for the greater good. Rescue dogs, rhinos, and raccoons bring an instant smile to her face. She wishes everyone could experience the love of a bully breed!
Home Based Wildlife Rehabilitator
Carolyn Festa is a licensed wildlife rehabilitator with over ten years of experience and a lifelong appreciation for nature. She enjoys learning about the animals she cares for and constantly seeks to improve her skills by attending advanced classes in wildlife rehabilitation.
Carolyn specializes in the care of newborn orphaned wildlife which require around the clock care and extra attention managing hydration, formula concentration and medication. Carolyn likes to share her passion with others and enjoys teaching species specific natural history and mentoring other rehabilitators.
Carolyn is also an avid gardener who has transformed her yard and garden to grow food for animals undergoing treatment, as well as to provide habitat for her favorite birds, insects, and animal species. In the spirit of conservation, her garden features a large milkweed patch to feed the larval stage of the monarch butterfly.
Carolyn is based out of her home in Sherrills Ford, NC. She often visits the center bringing fresh vegetables and flowers.
Wildlife Rehabilitator Apprentice
Sara Fields has been a bit of a Jack of all trades in her twenties from cake decorating to upholstery, but her one true passion has always been wildlife. “I believe that not only am I saving wildlife, but it has truly saved me.” Sara Fields is working under the fantastic mentors of Ruby, Morgan, and Rachel to teach her all about different wildlife and wildlife rehabilitation so she can apply for her own wildlife rehabilitation license in the future. “To do something for my soul and that truly helps the world in some way is all I could ask for, I have been truly humbled by this position and opportunity to be able to help wildlife hands on.”