Ohio Wildlife Center announced Wednesday that after nine years as executive director, Dusty Lombardi has retired from her role in leading the state’s largest wildlife rehabilitation nonprofit organization, which is located at 6131 Cook Road in Powell.
Valerie Swiatek, chair of the Ohio Wildlife Center Board of Trustees, stated, “We extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Dusty for her leadership. She accepted the position at a very pivotal time in the history of Ohio Wildlife Center,” she said. “Her service and dedication to wildlife rehabilitation moved the organization forward and positioned us for a very successful future.
“On behalf of the board, we applaud her work to engage the public in new levels of awareness about the value of native wildlife and conservation education. Her passion also built the capacity of SCRAM! Wildlife Control services to be available to a wide scope of the community. We look forward to the continued growth in our mission of fostering awareness and appreciation of Ohio’s native wildlife through rehabilitation, education and wildlife health studies.”
As an Ohio Wildlife Center board member for many years in the early 2000s, Lombardi became manager of operations for the center in late 2012 following her retirement after 30-plus years from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
“It has been a privilege and pleasure to lead the center’s great staff and volunteer teams and to serve the community of Central Ohio,” Lombardi said. “It has been an honor to carry forward the legacy of the center’s founder Dr. Donald Burton and to meet and work with so many dynamic volunteers and supporters.”
During Lombardi’s tenure and leadership, the organization completed a range of capital improvement projects at the Wildlife Hospital and the Education Center in Powell that enabled key programs to have more impact across the community. Partnerships with colleges, universities, schools and municipalities grew and programming now reaches more than 31,000 Ohioans annually. The Wildlife Hospital now provides patient care for more than 8,000 animals a year brought to the hospital from 57 counties in the state.
During a national search for a new executive director, the board has appointed Stormy Gibson as interim executive director.
Submitted by the Ohio Wildlife Center.