About RWs

ABOUT RWS

Rockfish Wildlife Sanctuary is dedicated to bettering our environment through wild animal care and raising awareness in our community about the importance of wild animals. Serving Central Virginia at our modern facility in Nelson County, our wildlife rehabilitators and volunteers rescue and care for more than 700 wild animals annually. We also lead educational programming that stresses the value of wild animals and balanced ecosystems in schools and community centers. The combination of care and education constitutes our commitment to a vibrant and compassionate future for wild animals.

OUR MISSION

mission 1

Rescue and rehabilitate injured and orphaned native wildlife in Central Virginia and release them back into the wild;

mission 2

Inform our fellow citizens about what to do when they find an injured or orphaned wild animal, and who to contact for help with the animal; and,

mission 3

Educate the citizens of Central Virginia about the habitats and needs of native wildlife.

HISTORY

Timeline

PRE- 2004

Like many wildlife rehabilitation stories, ours begins with one big-hearted person. Nathou Attinger began caring for native Virginia wildlife in her home in Nelson County in the early 2000s.

2004

Nathou founded Rockfish Wildlife Sanctuary (RWS) after observing how Central Virginia had many dedicated rehabilitators working individually, but there was a growing need for expertise and a dedicated organization to better serve our area’s animals.

2015

With the help of a matching grant and a large effort by individual donors, RWS was able to move out of Nathou’s house and into a newly constructed building with lots of quiet land for animal enclosures.

2016

29 enclosures that have housed more than 1200 animals.

FUTURE

As RWS moves forward, we hope to not only help animals currently in need, but to help inform the public about why these animals are a vital part of our vibrant landscape.

OUR TEAM

NATHOU ATTINGER

NATHOU ATTINGER

FOUNDER & DIRECTOR

Nathou Attinger’s great love has always been non-human animals. With a BA from UVA, Nathou has owned a landscaping company for 29 years, and currently shares her home with four dogs, three cats, one cockatoo, and a bunch of chickens, pigeons, rabbits, and doves…and her partner! Starting RWS 20 years ago allowed Nathou to care for even more animals, and thus far it has succeeded beyond her wildest dreams. Nathou holds a category IIB permit to rehabilitate wildlife and train other rehabbers, as well as a permit from the US Fish and Wildlife Service that allows rws to rehabilitate migratory birds.

MADELINE ZIMMER

MADELINE ZIMMER

HEAD WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR

Madeline Zimmer, category IIA,  has been training to be a wildlife rehabber at Rockfish Wildlife Sanctuary since 2014. Her interest began as a volunteer, although she has had a fondness for animals throughout her life. Madeline’s favorite aspect of wildlife rehabilitation is the release process and among her favorite animals that pass through rws are Pileated Woodpeckers, raccoons, and owls. She particularly enjoys her work here because of the connectedness to nature it provides.

KAT WERNER

KAT WERNER

WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR

Category 1 Wildlife Rehabilitator Kat Werner’s love for animals began as a child while helping her father hatch and raise turtles at their home in PA. She received her BSW at Shippensburg University in 2013, and after college she served with AmeriCorps for two years while working part time at a wildlife center and a wildlife sanctuary that worked with adjudicated youth. She moved down to Virginia in fall of 2016 and was so excited to join the RWS team! She is looking forward to learning more about wildlife and merging the fields of social work and animal care for a larger community impact.

HEATHER CHANDLER

HEATHER CHANDLER

WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR

Heather joined us in November 2016 as a category IV wildlife rehabilitator. Her love of animals reaches back to her childhood in the Shenandoah Valley. Heather attended Blue Ridge Community College, obtaining her degree and license in Veterinary Technology. With over a decade of experience as an LVT, Heather joined us from the Wildlife Center of Virginia where she learned about rehabilitation and wildlife laws. At Rockfish, she is looking forward to taking care of wildlife babies and practicing bird identification.

OUR SUPPORT

BOARD MEMBERS

Nathou Attinger, Founder
Beverley Butler, President
Kaki Dimock, Treasurer
Becky Allen, Secretary
Megan Gadient
Austin Hetrick
Alice Meador
Patty Wallens

Lia Harper Pepper

Mary Haines-Johnson

BOARD ADVISORS

Liz Courain
Candace Goodyear

ANIMAL CARE VOLUNTEERS

Debbie Smith
Carolyn Alimecco
Marcie Gibbons

Anne Marie Saunders

Brenda Lambert
Kent Olson
Sarah Durham
Sarah Green
Dawn Zanfardino

TRANSPORT VOLUNTEERS

Peyton Coyner
Cindy Davis
Ron Fandetti
Susan Hastings
Brenda Lambert
Magda Liska
Nancy Uvanitte
Sheri Francis
Pat Francis
Stephanie Sweat
Dawn Zanfardino
Pat Klima
Susan Merrill
Joyce Baker
Kristin Blakey

ADDITIONAL RWS SUPERHEROES

Judy Heyde
Jessie Duff-McLaurin
Ann Strober
Jean Emery
Claire Zillmer
Cynthia Elkey
Jim Peterson
Jody Lahendro
Paul Minnerly
Pete Syme

Lauren McRaven
Samantha Masone

Adriane Neumeister

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Rockfish Wildlife Sanctuary is a 501(c)3 organization.