Work is underway for the new clinic at the raptor center south of Antigo.
Progress is literally flying ahead on the new clinic at Raptor Education Group Inc., the internationally-known bird rehabilitation center located just southeast of Antigo.
Bad pun aside, ground was broken for the enlarged facility this week, just after demolition of the old building that housed passerines—commonly known as songbirds—was completed under the direction of Kevin and Linda Grenzer.
“Many little ones got their start with us at REGI in those aviaries,” Marge Gibson, the center’s director, said. “We will not forget them or the building, initially funded by the fantastic Antigo Rotary Club, but it was time to make way for a new clinic that will allow us even more capabilities to work with patients and teach students.”
During the demolition, fencing, netting and usable materials were all salvaged for reuse.
The new clinic was designed by Reif Construction. County Materials is donating the sand and concrete.
It will include separate patient examination rooms and housing for different species, a quarantine area, a separate space for food preparation, and an X-ray facility. 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, the larger space will more easily accommodate summer interns during their training and medical experts during their visits.
“Life at REGI for our patients, staff and students is only going to get better. And we will have a bathroom in the new clinic that we can use,” Gibson said. For the past several years, the bathroom in the current clinic has been taken over by patients.”
Gibson stressed that work will be done by local contractors. The project has an estimated price tag of $175,000 and fund-raising is already underway.
There are a variety of REGI-based events coming up in the next several weeks offering an opportunity to see the education birds and support the project. They include:
—the third annual Fly into Fall on Saturday, Sept. 29, beginning at 10 a.m. at Antigo Veterinary Clinic. There will be a brat fry, clinic tours, silent auction, youth activities and a chance to interact with the education birds. All proceeds will be donated to REGI.
—Owl-Ween Tours, featuring REGI’s owls and scavengers, on Oct. 4, 9, 18, and 23, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Cost is $8 for teens and adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Online registration required at raptoreducationgroup.org/tour-schedule/.
—Carve a Pumpkin with a Turkey Vulture, featuring REGI’s own Morrie, on Thursday, Oct. 23, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. It will be an evening of carving, sipping on cider and discovering the world of vultures. Cost is $8 for teens and adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Online registration required at raptoreducationgroup.org/tour-schedule/.
—and the second annual Hawk Tales and Cocktails, REGI’s largest fund-raising event, on Saturday, Nov. 3, 5:30 to 10 p.m., in the State Ballroom of the Central Wisconsin Convention & Expo Center in Rothschild. The event will include dinner, silent auction, raffle and entertainment by Art Stevenson and High Water. For details on volunteering, underwriting and more, contact Terri Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
REGI cares for 800 to 900 injured and orphan bird patients each year including approximately 100 Bald Eagles and endangered species. It also provide public appearances and tours for more than 200 groups annually.