Close up view of wildlife rehabilitation: Northwoods Wildlife Center provides education, enjoyment
By Laurie Lenten
It happens. Wild animals in the Northwoods get injured and abandoned every year for a variety of reasons, which include vehicle strikes, habitat interruption and storms, and if they’re one of the lucky ones they’ll end up as a patient at the Northwoods Wildlife Center (NWC) in Minocqua.
The work NWC does to rescue, rehabilitate, and release wild animals goes on around the clock throughout the year and as part of the center’s mission to educate people about its wildlife inhabitants, daily guided tours are available for visitors during open hours.
During the months of June, July and August, the NWC is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with tours beginning every half-hour.
There’s no telling what animals may be at the center when you drop in, but the daily guided tours showcase a variety of native Wisconsin raptors and scavenger species. A walk through the property will introduce you to the amazing world of eagles, hawks, falcons, and owls while giving you the chance to meet some of the center’s ambassador raptors along the way.
You will also have the opportunity to explore the center’s indoor nature center to learn about the turtles that make their home in Wisconsin, try your hand at a craft project, and check to see if it’s feeding time for any of the center’s baby wildlife patients.
Reservations are not needed for tours. There is no cost, but a recommended $5 donation per person is suggested.
The Northwoods Wildlife Center was started in 1979 by veterinarian Dr. Rory Foster and his wife, Linda, as an offshoot of his Foster-Smith Animal Hospital. When the NWC opened the doors of its own dedicated facility in June 1982, it became one of the first wildlife hospitals in the Midwest. Today the center admits between 600 to 700 injured and abandoned animals annually.
The NWC staff includes wildlife educators and advanced wildlife rehabilitators, who are licensed through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to provide professional care to over 100 different species of Wisconsin wildlife.
The center’s team of volunteers, however, is the backbone that supports the ongoing efforts of NWC through feeding resident animals, answering wildlife related phone calls, assisting at fundraisers, and rescuing and transporting wildlife in need. Volunteers are always needed.
The center is currently looking for volunteers to fill the following roles: volunteer coordinator, animal transport driver, tour guide, animal care, front desk/greeter, ground keeping, construction/building maintenance/woodworking, photography/artwork, and fundraising/events.
The Northwoods Wildlife Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. All funding is provided through members, generous donations from the public and annual fundraisers.
Upcoming events include “A Night for Wildlife” to be held on Thursday, Sept. 19, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Minocqua Country Club. Join the NWC to celebrate 40 years of wildlife rescue and rehabilitation work in the Northwoods with a look back at the center’s rich history and a look ahead at what the future holds.
The evening will include fabulous hors d’oeuvres, a chance to mingle with staff, volunteers, and supporters, silent auctions and raffles, as well as an up-close encounter with some of the center’s wildlife education animals. Cost is $50 per person.
For more information on the Northwoods Wildlife Center, or to make reservations for “A Night for Wildlife,” call the center at 715-356-7400, or log onto www.northwoodswildlifecenter.org.
You can follow the Northwoods Wildlife Center on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NorthwoodsWildlifeCenter.
Laurie Lenten is a freelance writer who lives in Rhinelander. Her articles also appear in Northwoods Commerce, Northwoods ‘boomers and Beyond and Living on the Lake magazines.