Home Who We Are


Tuesday June 19th 2012 at the Northwoods Wildlife Center went by just like every other day that summer had gone. Three animals came through our doors; a young Cottontail, a Red-Winged Blackbird, and a Hairy Woodpecker. Tours were moving through and we were preparing for the Wolves ecology program. We ended the day as we do most with multiple dinners on the stove, a movie playing on the TV, and someone trying to avoid going to the store. We had no reason to suspect it was an important day.

About a month later I would realize that on that same day in 1982 the Northwoods Wildlife Center opened its doors for the first time.

I had begun reading Dr. Foster's book Dr. Wildlife and was startled to realize that even though Dr. Foster began his "hobby" of helping wildlife three years earlier with a young deer named Faline, the Northwoods Wildlife Center itself did not exist for some time.

As I read further my surprise deepened into shock when Dr. Foster wrote of serious opposition to the idea of caring for injured and orphaned wildlife from many sides; the Department of Natural Resources, hunters, and biologists. Those opinions were partially responsible for delaying the creation of a "center" for three years.

When we-interns, staff, volunteers-begin working here we are taught that 1979 is the year that the Northwoods first had a place for injured wildlife to find help. I get the impression that for Dr. Foster, his friends and family, this is the year that matters, that the opening of the physical building three years later was the continuation of a story rather than the start.

But to me, looking at everything in hindsight, I feel that 1982 deserves to be honored too. Everyone that had a hand in creating the center had to struggle for three years. Everyone had to dig deep to keep fighting against outside forces and possibly internal doubts to give injured wildlife a sanctuary and 1982 is when it all began to pay off.

So it is my humble opinion that this year we celebrate two anniversaries. 1979 when Dr. Foster started caring for wildlife and 1982 when he proved that he would continue to do so no matter the obstacles.

From all of us at the Northwoods Wildlife Center, the permanent staff, the transient interns, the longtime supporters, the new visitors, the permanent residents and temporary patients, we would like to thank Dr. and Mrs. Foster and everyone who worked so hard all those years ago for giving us a place to heal, to learn, to help, and to be inspired.

To 33 years of caring for wildlife and 30 years of having open doors to welcome them through.

Happy Anniversary.

Help our organization - use the button below to make a donation to the Northwoods Wildlife Center


All pictures owned and taken by NWC unless otherwise stated.  Copying prohibited without prior permission.


Support the center while you Search or Shop