Alumni Profile: Matthew Buice
Wild Florida Rescue
Matthew Buice ’15 harnessed his passion for wildlife by forming a service organization committed to wildlife rescue response.
“I knew from a young age that I wanted to work with wildlife and growing up in Pennsylvania, I have always been drawn to the outdoors. Most days I could be found in the woods behind my home catching frogs, snakes, salamanders and anything else I could get my hands on. As my passion and admiration grew, I began gaining hands-on experience anywhere I could. Through college, I spent time volunteering at Brevard Zoo and working for a local exotic pet store.
After college, I volunteered at a local wildlife hospital where I met my business partner Heather Pepe-Dillon. I co-founded Wild Florida Rescue Corp. (WFR) one year ago when we realized the need for a wildlife first response service. WFR is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit wildlife ambulance service dedicated to the rapid capture, stabilization and transport of sick, injured and abandoned wildlife.
Our organization operates 24/7 to help those with wildlife emergencies throughout Brevard County. We work closely with wildlife rehabilitators, Fish and Wildlife, and Sheriff’s Animal Services to ensure that wildlife calls are handled as quickly as possible. Since the start, we have received over 2,500 calls and driven over 30,000 miles in our mission to save wildlife. From a raccoon with a jar on his head to a snake trapped in a garage door, WFR has helped not only rescue animals, but educated the public on ways to reduce unfortunate run-ins between people and wildlife and ways to live safely with the animals we share our planet with.
Days can be long and nights can be longer, but the reward of a safe and successful capture makes it all worth it. As we establish a presence in Brevard County, we hope to continue growth, extending to surrounding counties as we expand to someday serve all of Florida. Wild Florida Rescue operates on the professional care of committed well-trained volunteers. As we continue to grow and our call volume continues to rise, we invite anyone with a love for wildlife to join our team and help save the animals that call Florida home.”
DEGREE: ’15 B.S. Marine Biology
CURRENT CITY: Palm Bay
FAMILY: Wife Danielle Huffner (another FIT alum) and dogs, Louis and Cooper
HOBBIES: Wildlife photography, scuba diving, DIY projects
FAVORITE FLORIDA TECH MEMORY: The summer field program to Peru. We met our best friends on this trip and had the time of our lives.
LITTLE KNOWN FACT: Today I absolutely hate public speaking, yet when I was young I was always in plays at school and our local theater.
PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT: Marrying my high school sweetheart and buying a place of our own.
BEST PART ABOUT BEING AN ALUMNUS: The connectivity of the school to your life after graduation. Work and friends and the community events all have a link to FIT. It’s nice being a part of a family-oriented school with such an incredible reputation.