Wendy Perrone has been a wild bird rehabilitator since 1988 and a professional environmental educator since 1993. She graduated with a B.A. in English from Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1985, where she met her husband Ron. While working as a veterinary assistant in Morgantown, WV, she began working closely with raptors (birds of prey) at the nearby WV Raptor Rehabilitation Center. She and her husband moved back to Brooks, West Virginia, in the southern part of the New River Gorge National River in 1990, and together with Ron and a dedicated Board of Directors, co-founded what was then called New River Raptor Rehabilitation Center. In 2000, the organization became Three Rivers Avian Center (“TRAC”), caring for all non-game wild bird species and putting an emphasis on educating and involving the public in caring for the ecosystems that sustain the state’s native wild bird populations.
In 1995, Wendy received the Distinguished Mountaineer Award from then-governor Joe Manchin III, for her many years of dedication to wild bird care and environmental education programs. TRAC’s Wings of Wonder: WV Birds of Prey summer programs are featured in West Virginia State Parks and Forests, as well as in many other venues throughout the state and surrounding regions, reaching between 15,000 to 22,000 audience members of all ages annually.
In 2006, New River Gorge National River and the WV Department of Natural Resources began a Peregrine Falcon Restoration Project in the New River Gorge. Three Rivers Avian Center was asked to help, and in 2008 Wendy was appointed as the New River Gorge National River’s Peregrine Falcon Restoration Project Coordinator. In the course of the six-year project, 120 young peregrines were released, resulting in a slow but steady growth in the number of nesting peregrines in the Gorge and surrounding regions.
In 2010, the first nesting pair of bald eagles in Southern West Virginia was documented by Three Rivers Avian Center, and Wendy was asked by both the WV Department of Natural Resources and New River Gorge National River to lead an ongoing volunteer effort documenting the nesting pair’s success and other relevant actions.
Besides serving on Friends of New River Gorge National River, she is in a second term as a member of the Board of Directors for Visit Southern WV, a nine-county Convention and Visitor’s Bureau that promotes tourism within those counties & the state.