The NHES administrative offices are located on the NHES campus approximately 60 miles west of Washington, D.C., in the historic countryside of Jefferson County, West Virginia.
The NHES Campus consists of 24 beautiful gently rolling acres and is home to:
Each year, NHES welcomes nearly 10,000 visitors and strives to educate all about epidemic overpopulation of cats and dogs, the responsibilities of adopting a companion dog or cat, the absolute need to spay and neuter one’s companion animals, as well as the role that each of us can play in the creation of a more humane world.
The NHES Campus in eastern West Virginia is perhaps best known for The Briggs Animal Adoption Center and Spay Today, as well as the headquarters for our national outreach program. Less known is that our property is also a haven for wildlife species including birds, insects, reptiles, rabbits, groundhogs, skunks, foxes, and deer. Recently, we decided to generate greater biodiversity of the NHES Campus by modifying our landscape to better support species such as the increasingly rare monarch butterfly and the northern bobwhite.
The monarch butterfly is well-known for the distinction of being the only North American butterfly to migrate. Though the monarch weighs less than one gram, fourth generation butterflies, who emerge in late summer and early fall, undergo a miraculous journey of up to 2,800 miles from Canada and the U.S. to hibernate in the mountainous forests of Mexico. Just how these delicate creatures achieve such a momentous feat remains one of the most mysterious phenomena in nature. Unfortunately, the monarch butterfly is quietly vanishing due to devastating losses of habitat, particularly habitat containing milkweed, the sole host plant of the monarch. In 2013, the monarch population to reach Mexico was the smallest since 1993.
For similar reasons, the U.S. is also losing many species of native grassland birds. Just as the monarch relies upon milkweed to lay eggs, species such as the northernbobwhite rely on uninterrupted fields to survive and reproduce. While we normally think of birds nesting in trees, birds like the northern bobwhite nest on the ground in high grasses. As strip malls, housing developments, and large scale agriculture have expanded, wild grasslands have disappeared. Tragically, birds like the northern bobwhite are disappearing with them. Once common, this petite bird’s population has plummeted by 82% since 1966.
In August, NHES began stage one of a project with the assistance of the Potomac Valley Audubon Society (PVAS) that will yield 12 acres of bird and butterfly habitat on the NHES Campus by mid-2016. While any one project cannot save a species, experts agree that a continent-wide restoration of habitat is these species’ best chance for long-term survival. We hope that you will visit this page frequently to check our progress and to learn ways that you can make your home landscape a haven for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife!