Who We Are / History
The Northwoods Wildlife Center is a not-for-profit 501c3 organization working toward a better future for wildlife through education, research and rehabilitation.
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A Brief History of the Northwoods Wildlife Center
In a culmination of the dream of local veterinarian Dr. Rory Foster and his wife, Linda, the Northwoods Wildlife Center was incorporated in 1979, and became a separate entity from his veterinarian clinic, Foster-Smith Animal Hospital. The catalyst for making this dream a reality? An injured fawn that had been hit by a motorist was brought to his veterinary clinic. The Fosters were determined to help this 2 day old, 4.5 pound fawn, and help it they did! Soon after that, the Foster's began treating more and more wild animals It was then decided that they would form a non-profit organization dedicated to helping injured wildlife. Once enough money was raised a wildlife hospital was built next to the Foster-Smith Animal Hospital. On June 19th, 1982 the Northwoods Wildlife Center was officially opened, becoming the first wildlife hospital in the Midwest!
Rory Foster's first book Dr. Wildlife is the story of how the hospital came into being. Today the original building is still there, but has been added on to many times in order to improve our ability to care for and treat wildlife. Education programs and the space to house permanent residents were soon added. In his second and final book, I Never Met an Animal I Didn't Like, Dr. Foster continues his story and the activities of the Center. Unfortunately Rory Foster past away in 1987 at the age of 37 from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). His dream and passion continues to be carried on by past, present and future staff, volunteers, and interns. You can learn more about the Center by reading, Wildlife Hospital, by Sybil Ferguson. In this book among the many characters you meet is Orson the Great Horned owl. Orson was our original resident and continued to educate the public until he passed away in Spring of 2009.
All of these books are out of print today, but most can be found at your local library. In limited availability,Wildlife Hospital can be found on some book store websites, such as Amazon.com. The best way to learn about the Wildlife Center, though, is to come visit. Public tours of our residents are given on every half hour, programs are offered throughout the summer, and you never know what you might see in the wildlife nursery!