Wildlife foundation celebrates 25th anniversary, opens new research lab in Yemassee

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YEMASEE, S.C. (WCBD) – On Saturday, the Nemours Wildlife Foundation celebrated its 25th anniversary and cut the ribbon of the new Ernie P. Wiggers research lab in Yemassee, S.C.

The state-of-the-art $2 million facility aims to expand its wildlife research that has been conducted for over a quarter-century. The facility is named after Dr. Wiggers who served as President and CEO of the organization for 22 years.

“When Eugene duPont, III, created the Nemours Wildlife Foundation, he did so out of a love for this place,” says Chairman Mike McShane. “It’s that same passion that directs our work twenty-five years later. Thanks to gifts from many supporters, we have the confidence to invest in an onsite facility to support the expansive wildlife research that takes place in the field. More importantly, we’re better positioned to grow the next generation of land managers.

The 3,200-square-foot facility includes indoor and outdoor spaces with areas to wash, dry, and store test samples, a laboratory hood, freezer, and office space. The organization intends to use the facility to conduct onsite research.

“Students from across the country come here to put into practice what they have learned in their campus classrooms,” says Dr. Ernie Wiggers. “We have studied a multitude of upland and wetland habitats, and our discoveries have greatly increased our knowledge about their ecology and how to manage for them.

One of the first interns of Nemours Wildlife Foundation was Heather Venter, who now works as a Conservation Lands Manager for the St. John’s River Water Management District in Northeast Florida.

“My time at Nemours not only taught me how to be a better biologist, but it gave me the foundation to be successful working in the field,” says Venter.

Nemours Wildlife Foundation also gives educational outreach and partners with other university wildlife biology programs in addition to developing educational programs for area schools and communities.

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