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  • Dan Powers

National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) Lab Tour Recap

One of our recent tours was hosted by the National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC), located in Fort Collins. This facility operates under the USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services program responsible for researching wildlife management. At its core, NWRC's mission is to confront the multifaceted challenges posed by human-wildlife conflicts, invasive species, wildlife diseases, and the overall health of our ecosystems. Through research and innovation, NWRC scientists strive to develop effective solutions that safeguard agriculture, natural resources, property, and human health and safety.

During our tour of the NWRC, their team illuminated the depth of their commitment and the breadth of their accomplishments. Guided by experts in their respective fields, we embarked on a journey through the heart of wildlife research excellence.

The Wildlife Genetics Lab, led by Dr. Toni Piaggio, showcased cutting-edge techniques for genetic analysis, vital for understanding population dynamics and developing targeted management strategies. Dr. Piaggio's expertise shed light on the intricate interplay between genetics and wildlife conservation.

Two scientists are at work in their lab. The scientist on the right is wearing a navy tunic.
US Dept. of Agriculture National Wildlife Research Center laboratories.

Next, we explored the Outdoor Animal Research Facility, where Dr. Matthew Hopken enlightened us on the latest advancements in rabies research. With rabies being a significant concern for both wildlife and human populations, Dr. Hopken's insights into vaccination strategies and disease management tactics were insightful.

Our tour continued to the Wildlife Disease Diagnostic Lab, where Dr. Jeff Chandler provided a glimpse into the frontline battle against wildlife diseases. 

Finally, Dr. Sarah K. Hibbs-Shipp captivated us with her presentation on Technology Transfer, highlighting NWRC's efforts to bridge the gap between scientific innovation and real-world application. By facilitating the adoption of novel technologies and methodologies, NWRC ensures that their research translates into tangible benefits for society.

A scientist tour guide is standing next to a Wildlife Genetics poster that says, "Applying Molecular Tools to Wildlife Managment".

As we reflect on our tour, we are inspired by NWRC's unwavering dedication to advancing the frontiers of wildlife research. Their pioneering work not only enriches our understanding of the natural world but also equips us with the tools to coexist harmoniously with wildlife.

Seven tour attendees  are standing outside the facility posing for a photo.

If you're passionate about science and eager to witness groundbreaking research in action, we cordially invite you to join us on future lab tours. Our sign up link is here. Please reach out to our Executive Director, Dan Powers at if your organization is interested in acquiring memberships. Individual memberships (which includes tours) can be purchased at our Colorado Gives portal.

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