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Robyn Graboski & Isis

Robyn Graboski &  Isis the Peregrine Falcon

Founder and Executive Director of Centre Wildlife Care (CWC)

Robyn Graboski has been rehabilitating wildlife since 1988 and has taught classes on wildlife rehabilitation and wildlife nutrition all over North America and overseas as an IWRC (International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council) instructor.  Robyn was the IWRC chair for the Minimum Standards for Wildlife Rehabilitation document which provides recommended cage sizes and protocols to wildlife rehabilitators in North America.  She is currently the chair of the Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Council which is an advisory committee to the Pennsylvania Game Commission concerning matters of rehabilitation.  Robyn has a BS in Animal BioScience from Penn State University in the College of Agriculture.  She worked many years as a veterinary technician and as a research assistant in physiology and animal nutrition at Penn State.  She left her full time job at Penn State in 1998 to work full time at Centre Wildlife Care.  Over the years, Robyn has received awards for her volunteer work at CWC such as:  Eckerd 100 Salute to Women Award  and Outstanding Citizen award from the State College Jaycees 2003.   Since 1995 and currently, Robyn is the executive director of Centre Wildlife Care where she oversees the care of over 1500 orphaned, injured and compromised wild animals per year.

How Robyn Founded Centre Wildlife Care

Robyn started rehabilitating wildlife in 1988 when she volunteered at Shaver's Creek Raptor Center (Penn State University).  During that time, the PA Game Commission gave her approval to work under Shaver's Creek wildlife rehabilitation permit. While volunteering at Shaver's Creek, she sought out and obtained professional training for wildlife rehabilitation.  While she was helping with the raptors, she began rehabilitating compromised mammals, songbirds, waterfowl and reptiles in her home and gradually started to build a facility that one day would become Centre Wildlife Care.   Shaver's Creek rehabilitated wildlife until 1994, when they gave up the rehabilitation permit.  Robyn applied, tested and received her rehab license in 1994 to rehabilitate wildlife.  Shortly thereafter, she obtained her permit from the US Fish and Wildlife Service to rehabilitate native species of birds.  

Robyn founded Centre Wildlife Care early in 1995.  In 1998, she retired from her job as a research assistant at Penn State to rehabilitate wildlife full time.

When Robyn first started caring for wildlife, she was rehabbing in a one-bedroom apartment. She had opossums in the kitchen and injured seagulls in the living room in a very large refrigerator box. She realized very quickly that she needed to have the animals in a separate area from the living space. After moving to a small house in Lemont, she converted the basement into a wildlife care facility, which included not only a variety of cages but also incubators for babies and a small laboratory for basic diagnostics. Robyn obtained her wildlife rehabilitation license in 1994 after taking a test administered by the PA Game Commission. 

In 2005, Robyn purchased a piece of property in Port Matilda that provided the much need space for growth for CWC.  The wildlife rehab operation is still home based as are most wildlife rehabilitation centers.  And, the clinic is  much more modern and advanced than the Lemont location.  The new location has 15 acres of wooded land surrounding the house that is currently home to many outside enclosures for wild animals waiting for release.  Currently, Robyn lives at that location with her husband Randy Romesberg whom she married in 2007. 

 Robyn rehabilitates all native species of wildlife.  Robyn has obtained additional training and certification to rehabilitate endangered species, raptors and rabies vector species (RVS) such as raccoons.  Robyn holds permits from not only the PA Game Commission but also the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service, the Fish and Boat Commission and the USDA.  Even though rehabbers are regulated by these agencies, they do not provide funding. 

Robyn Graboski in Greece 2002Swans and Flamingo

Robyn Graboski in Greece 2002 **  Injured swans and flamingo

Interview with Robyn on her trip to Greece, By Marcy Yurick

Reprinted from Winter issue 2002 of "The Wild Times"

A publication of Centre Wildlife Care

Earlier this year in January, you went to Greece to help with a wildlife crisis. Can you tell us a little about your experience?

Q: How did you end up going to Greece?

Philip Dragoumis at the Hellenic Wildlife Hospital told us (Marge Gibson and I) in an e-mail about a swan crisis.  Marge Gibson is a wildlife rehabilitator from Wisconsin. The Hellenic Wildlife Hospital (a wildlife rehabilitation center) just moved into a new facility on the island of Egina, Greece.  Just after they moved they got bombarded with about 200 mute swans in  a month's time in addition to bitterns and the usual caseload of buteos or common buzzard (similar to our Red Tail Hawks).   They rarely get swans or bitterns, so this was very unexpected for them.  Greece got unusually cold whether and snow, which is forcing migratory birds further south.  Greece is a tropic country. By the time Philip's center saw the birds, they were exhausted, some admitted with serious diseases and complications.   Many of these animals (even though they were protected) were shot during hunting season.

Q: What did you do to help?

Their typical day starts at 9 am where everyone pitches in to clean the cages and feed the animals.  Treatments, surgeries and necropsies are done in the afternoon.  Between 4 and 6 pm a new shipment of birds came on the ferry from Athens.  Each day we would get between 15 to 40 new animals.   They are unpacked, treated and set up in new cages for the night.  We were done between 8 and 9 pm, at which time we went to dinner.

Q: Did they have adequate facilities? What were the rehabilitators like?

A: They just moved into a very large, brand new facility that was just built by their Ministry. And, their staff  is amazing.  They are highly skilled, very dedicated and work quite well together.  While, we were there, we actually felt like we were part of a family.

Q:Did you meet people of different nationalities and backgrounds?

A: While we were there we met people from all over the world working at the center; Bulgaria, Austria, Australia, England, USA, and of course Greece. We felt quite humbled, because many of these people spoke 2 -3 languages.    It truly was an international effort.   Because of the international presence in Greece to help with this crisis, the Ministry stopped hunting in Greece for several days.

Q:How did you feel after your return?

A: Marge and I really did not want to come home, but we have responsibilities here and had to come back.   However, Greece will always have a very special place in our hearts. Just 2 days after we got back, I received my very first mute swan.  It was the same species that they have in Greece.  (We don't get many swans in the middle of Pennsylvania).  After my experience in Greece, I am well prepared ;-)))

squirrel prints