Scott Lange with AWARE Wildlife Center

Scott Lange, executive director of AWARE Wildlife Center joins Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio co-hosts Carol Morgan and Todd Schnick in Studio. Born and raised in Atlanta, Lange started his career as a civil engineer. After losing interest in the field, he returned to school to seek an education in law. Lange practiced law for seven years, during which time he joined the board of directors at AWARE. When the previous executive director returned to private practice, Lange stepped in to cover the position temporarily while the board searched for a new director. After some time in the position, Lange secured the spot permanently.

AWARE Wildlife Center is a wildlife rehabilitation center for injured or orphaned native Georgia wildlife. The main goal of AWARE is preparing native animals to return to nature at full strength with a good quality of life. If any animal is unable to return to their home due to permanent injury or illness, AWARE keeps them to use as educational ambassadors with its education program.

AWARE currently has 25 animal ambassadors at the facility. Every Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m., AWARE opens its doors to the public to visit the ambassadors and see the facility for free! In addition to onsite education, AWARE Wildlife also goes to schools, churches, festivals and more to educate the public on Georgia native wildlife.

“We try to educate folks about peaceful coexistence with wildlife,” said Lange. “We figure we took about 1,300 patients in 2019, but we could probably save thousands more if we can communicate to people that there are ways to coexist with wildlife and not have to kill them because we freak out.”

Although Lange handles the office side of the organization, there is a willing and capable team always ready to help with the animals. AWARE currently has six animal care staff members and over 100 regular animal care volunteers. While the expert staff oversees and guides everything at AWARE, the volunteers get to do most of the hands-on work including feeding, cleaning and medicating. At any given time, the facility holds 200-300 animals seeking care. Volunteers sign up for five-hour weekly shifts to help care for the abundance of native Georgia wildlife seeking help.

The most common animals AWARE takes in are baby possum. Being America’s only marsupial, possum babies often remain in their mother’s pouch until they are old enough to leave. When a female adult possum dies, there is a chance babies are still alive and in the pouch. When babies are found in these pouches, they are brought into AWARE. In 2019, AWARE saw over 300 possums come through the center.

Set apart from other facilities in the state of Georgia, AWARE takes almost every single species of native Georgie wildlife. The only exceptions are bears and adult deer. State regulations mandate that the facility cannot accept bears into the facility. Adult deer are not accepted due to a stress condition called capture myopathy. This condition causes deer to have extreme stress and can even lead to death due to confinement. Although these two animals are not accepted into AWARE, everything else is fair game – even alligators!

For anyone looking to volunteer and get involved with AWARE Wildlife Center, go to The organization relies heavily on volunteers and asks for a weekly five-hour commitment from any dedicated helpers ready to help Georgia native wildlife!

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