Patrick Nowak

Nonprofit Excellence Awards

Patrick Nowak
Patrick Nowak
Patrick Nowak


Patrick Nowak
Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc., Milwaukee

For the past eight years, Patrick Nowak, vice president of compliance and public communications for Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. in Milwaukee, has been spending his Tuesday nights with the animals at the Wisconsin Humane Society’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.

As an animal lover, Nowak wanted to spend his volunteer time walking dogs or playing with puppies, but the Humane Society asked for his assistance elsewhere.

The Milwaukee Wildlife Rehabilitation Center cares for 5,000 injured, sick and orphaned wild animals of more than 145 different species each year.

It is the largest wildlife hospital in the state and one of the largest in the U.S. The success of the organization is dependent on a small team of licensed professionals, a group of seasonal interns and the compassion of its crew of experienced volunteers, like Nowak.

Many of the animals the center treats are common backyard animals like gray squirrels, raccoons, northern cardinals and American robins, but it has also cared for creatures like northern saw-whet owls, night hawks, gray foxes and even endangered species like brown bats.

Nowak and the other volunteers are instrumental in that care, and play an integral role in returning those animals to the wild.

It’s not always glamorous. Nowak and his Tuesday night team are responsible for cleaning out and sometimes bleaching the cages, feeding the wild animals natural meals like gutted mice, and even administering medicine.

The Humane Society’s evening feeding and care is entirely volunteer-run, and the success rate of returning these animals to their natural habitats would not be possible without their help.

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