SWR-logo-new Sierra Wildlife Rescue (SWR) is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization, licensed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife since 1992, and supported by memberships, donations and occasional grants.
Our mission is to rescue and rehabilitate orphaned and injured wild animals on the Sierra’s Western slope and return them to the wild, as well as to educate the public on preserving and protecting wildlife. Members of the general public are responsible for the majority of our animal rescues, and we could not carry out our mission without their compassion, care and support.

Dedicated to the mission of preserving El Dorado County’s wildlife and the goal of rehabilitating and releasing back into the wild, injured and orphaned native animal species.

SWR maintains a 24/7 hotline to direct rescuers to rehabbers and to provide other information and assistance with wildlife. Classes on Wildlife natural history for the general public and training for prospective volunteers on rehabilitating all species of foothills wildlife are held during spring and fall each year. SWR also educates thousands of children and adults annually through numerous free educational presentations featuring several unreleasable hawks and owls to schools, senior centers, church groups and many other organizations.

Additionally, Sierra Wildlife Rescue is committed to educating the public on living peacefully with wildlife and respecting its habitat.

Members receive a biannual newsletter, the Paw Print, featuring articles on animals in rehab, the natural history of the area’s species, SWR and community events, wildlife issues and other topics, the Squirrel’s Nest, a periodic email newsletter. SWR also contributes articles on its classes, events, rehabilitating wild animals, and current wildlife issues to over 40 print and online publications throughout the year.

Avian Rehabilitation Program

temporary quarters
SWR’s Avian Rehab Program serves approximately 1,100 birds each year, with about 600 of them coming through the seasonal Baby Bird Nursery.
Adult songbirds as well as all other avian patients are treated in the homes of expert rehabilitators. These dedicated volunteers have specialized indoor and outdoor housing, where sick and injured birds are nursed back to health until they are ready to return to the wild.
The final step for flighted orphaned or injured birds including songbirds, raptors, corvids, pigeons, doves and others, is placement in large outdoor flight cages. Here they are monitored and cared for by trained rehabbers to ensure they have necessary survival skills before being released back to the wild.

Baby Bird Nursery

ROBIN fledglingAbout 600 orphaned or injured nestlings and fledglings are cared for annually at the Baby Bird Nursery (SWR’s Wildlife Center, open seasonally) from May through July, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. by volunteers from the community. Volunteers sign up for daily or weekly shifts of 2-4 hours, and scheduling is flexible. Most of the birds are rescued by the general public and brought directly to the nursery.
Broken wings and other injuries are common, yet illnesses can also plague these little ones. The most fragile baby birds often require incubation, and some may require medication. All birds require hand-feeding of specialized diets every 15-30 minutes for 12 hours daily. Once healthy and older, they will be monitored in large outdoor flight cages before being released back to the wild.

Board of Directors 2017

PRESIDENT Debbie Datilio

1. Is an elected member of the Board of Directors.
2. Serves as Chief Volunteer, Chief Executive Officer, and official spokesperson of Sierra Wildlife Rescue.
3. Provides leadership to the Board in development of policy, as well as strategic and financial planning.
4. Provides liaison between the Board and the Director of Animal Care.
5. Appoints chairpersons of committees in consultation with the Board, and serves as ex-officio of those committees.
6. Sets meeting agendas and presides at all meetings.
7. Is signatory for all official documents, leases, agreements, utility contracts, and affidavits.
8. Leads formal annual evaluation of Board members, volunteers, and staff.


1. Is an elected member of the Board of Directors.
2. Serves as assistant to the President in all matters and shall perform such duties as requested by the President.
3. Chairs Board meetings when President is unable to attend.
4. Assumes duties of President in the event President cannot complete his or her term of office, and only to the completion of that term.
5. Is custodian of all SWR records including, but not limited to, master copies of Bylaws, Policy and Operations Manual, federal and state certificates, insurance certificates, committee and team protocols, etc. (Current financial records are kept by the Treasurer.)
6. Is chairperson of the Budget Sub-committee.

SECRETARY Laurin Peterlin

1. Is an elected member of the Board of Directors.
2. Takes minutes of Board meetings and distributes copies of them within 14 days following each meeting. Maintains records of all documents.
3. Distributes monthly Board meeting agendas and supporting documents to Board members at least three days prior to scheduled meeting date.
4. Is responsible for SWR correspondence in matters of inquiry, events, and related subjects. (Matters related to Finance shall be directed to the Treasurer. Matters related to Animal Care shall be directed to the DAC.)
5. Is responsible for publication, distribution, and current content of Bylaws and the Policy and Operations Manual.
6. Has access to security lock box at the approved bank.

TREASURER Amber Rudnavaara

1. Is an elected member of the Board of Directors.
2. Is responsible for the receipt and disbursement of all SWR funds through financial institutions approved by the Board.
3. Serves on the Budget Committee, and submits the annual budget to the Board for action.
4. Manages the bookkeeping function by manual or electronic means, and provides reports to the Board on the financial condition of any and all accounts as requested.
5. Applies for all licenses, permits, and similar required government documentation in support of SWR activities.
6. Prepares and files federal and state tax returns.
7. Assures continuity of insurance coverage for General Liability and Directors Liability & Fiduciary policies.
8. Maintains records of assets owned by SWR.
9. Has access to security lock box at the approved bank.
10. Conducts training for Staff and Rehabbers relating to completion of Reimbursement and Inventory forms.

ADDITIONAL MEMBERS of the BOARD (“Board Members”)

Michael Damer, Ernest Gunter, Pamela Watson

1. Are elected members of the Board of Directors.
2. Accept assignments from President to direct efforts of various committees in areas of Fundraising, Volunteer Recruitment, Membership Development, Education, Public Relations, Administrative Functions, and other activities as requested.
3. Make monthly progress reports to the Board, as well as recommendations for the enhancement of SWR activities.

Education Ambassadors

Marty & Zag SWR’s Education Ambassadors are animals who are non-releasable due to permanent injuries that would make them unable to survive in the wild. SWR must apply for a license to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for all potential education animals, which are chosen for their relatively calm dispositions around people and willingness to be handled by an experienced rehabber. In addition to attending all fundraising events, where their presence is always the main attraction, the Education Team gives presentations to thousands of children and adults annually through schools, scout groups, senior centers, church groups, community organizations, hobby groups, businesses and others.


Originally a division of Sacramento Wildlife Care in 1990, Sierra Wildlife Rescue was formally established in 1992 as the need for wildlife rescue grew in El Dorado County. Led by a group of 85 dedicated wildlife rehabilitators, veterinarians, and supporters, SWR helped 350 wild animals throughout El Dorado, Sacramento, and Yolo Counties during its inaugural year.

Orphaned songbirds accounted for nearly 50% of these wildlife rescues. So, in 1996 SWR opened its first “Baby Bird Nursery” where teams of volunteers worked 12 hour days to feed and care for these orphaned birds. By 2000, SWR had outgrown the Nursery and moved to a larger location. Nine years later, SWR moved to its current venue in Placerville to accommodate increased demand for wildlife care and serve as the center for education and training classes. Today, Nursery volunteers treat approximately 650 infant birds each season (April-August). But that’s not all we do!

Every year, in-home rehabilitators care for over 1,000 more birds and mammals, which include the following species: bobcats, corvids (crows, ravens, jays), coyotes, doves and pigeons, fawns, foxes, gamebirds (quail, turkey, etc.), opossums, rabbits, raccoons, raptors (owls, hawks, falcons, etc.), reptiles, skunks (just the babies!), songbirds, squirrels, waterfowl and waterbirds.

SWR is proud to have a strong membership of 700 individuals and families with the number of volunteers climbing to 200. SWR continues to expand, providing services to both the wildlife and human populations of the region– volunteers solve problems from nearly 5,000 wildlife assistance calls from the public every year. SWR’s Education Team gives custom presentations to schools and community groups, with and without our Education Ambassadors. SWR offers many educational classes throughout the year at its Center in Placerville and offers internship opportunities. You will meet SWR’s Community Outreach team at local events throughout the year where you can learn more about SWR and volunteer opportunities.

As SWR has grown, so too has its reputation. Recognized and highly respected by other wildlife organizations, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the CA Dept of Fish and Wildlife, SWR has become a model of organizational skill and efficiency. As such, SWR is often asked to assist other wildlife organizations throughout Northern California in the creation and development of avian and mammal rehabilitation programs.

Rehabilitation Teams

Squirrel greens SWR rehabilitates nearly all native species, with the exception of bears, mountain lions, and adult deer. Once rehabilitated and of an appropriate age, mammals, birds and others are released back into the wild in such a way, and in an appropriate habitat, as to ensure their best chance of survival.
To maximize the success of these efforts and receive necessary support, volunteer rehabbers belong to a specific species team. As well as participating in training classes, any new rehabber is assigned an experienced mentor for hands-on training and continuing support, and team members also provide each other with assistance whenever needed.

Volunteer Rehabbers

1450908_10152760759104298_1075075733_n A wild animal may spend weeks or months in rehab, depending on its age and condition. Orphans must be held until they are capable of returning to the wild as healthy juveniles. Both babies and adults sometimes have injuries, often from human-wildlife interaction (such as being hit by a vehicle, being shot or abused, or having their nest destroyed), or are injured by domestic pets or other predators. Still others are affected by an illness.

REHABBER = Volunteer wildlife rehabilitator.

Volunteer rehabbers often work around the clock caring for their charges, while also answering daily calls from the public for assistance with other animals in crisis. In addition, rehabbers spend considerable time educating the public about wildlife and helping to prevent and resolve undesirable wildlife interactions with humans or other animals. Rehabbers also explain proper wildlife rescuing techniques and any risks to human health and safety to rescuers.

Please contact us with any questions by emailing:

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