Raptor Education Group Inc., which has brought international recognition to Antigo and Langlade County, is expanding.
Executive Director Marge Gibson announced Monday that the complex, commonly known by its acronym REGI, will construct a new clinic to serve its 800 to 900 injured and orphaned bird patients each year, including approximately 100 bald eagles and endangered species.
“It will make us more efficient and professional,” Gibson said of the clinic, which will be located adjacent to the current facility on West Rollwood Road southeast of Antigo. “This is good news for Antigo. This really cements us to this area.”
The new clinic will include separate rooms for patient examinations and housing for different bird species, a quarantine room, a separate space for food preparation, and an X-ray room. In addition, the larger space will more easily accommodate summer interns during their training, and medical experts during their visits.
“Work will be done by all-local contractors,” Gibson stressed. “That was important to us.”
REGI has already purchased the walk-in cooler and food preparation equipment from the Elcho school district, which has constructed a new kitchen and cafeteria and will install it in the new building.
In addition to caring for injured wildlife, the larger facility will also allow REGI to make teaching and writing a stronger focus.
“Students and wildlife professionals come from around the world to study with us,” Gibson said, explaining that veterinarians and wildlife rehabilitation professionals travel to REGI from throughout the United States as well as internationally for hand-on experience.
“This will be a better reflection of Antigo,” Gibson said. “We give them information here they can’t get anywhere else. They can learn from books by hands-on experience with actual patients provides them the nuances that are so important.
REGI also hosts between five and seven interns in summer and fall, each spending three to four months at the facility, which has on-site housing. It has regular summer tours, which draw people from across Wisconsin and other states, and a children’s adventure camp.
The project is anticipated to cost $175,000. Fund-raising has already begun with $30,000 in seed money. REGI staff will organize fund-raisers, write grants, and appeal to their Facebook community through a GoFundMe campaign (click here).
The existing clinic will be converted into a reception area.
“I am proud of REGI but the new clinic will be a huge improvement and allow us to be more latitude in our work and be a whole lot nicer to work in and around,” Gibson said. “It’s a good decision for us, our patients and the community.”
Source: Antigo Daily Journal