The main reason we drag ourselves out of our winter bed on weekends is to ski at

Whiteface. We also know there are plenty of other reasons to visit Wilmington, a quiet town known for Olympic caliber alpine trails. Besides the restaurants nestled along the roadside, one favorite stop for my family is the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge and Rehabilitation Center.

Wildlife Refuge owl
Learn about various raptors at the Wildlife Refuge and Rehabilitation Center

The Wildlife Refuge is a 50-acre rehabilitation center on the western branch of the Ausable River. There is a one-mile educational nature trail; animal enclosures and a pet timber wolf. Run by Wendy and Steve Hall, the Halls are passionate about the environment and always willing to explain how plants and animals play a vital role in nature. Wendy holds Federal and State licenses in wildlife rehabilitation and education. The Wildlife Refuge continues to educate the public through presentations at schools and other organizations. There is usually an animal on site that has been brought to them to (at best) return to its natural environment. At the worse, they heal and use the injured animal during public educational demonstrations.

Refuge Center wolf
Some of animals kept at the Refuge Center can not be returned to the wild.

According to Steve Hall the main hope is that people will gain a better understanding of wildlife and how it fits into the ecosystem. He hopes that people will see that wildlife is an integral part of the natural world. The role wildlife plays is more beneficial to humans than we know. My children always enjoy seeing the timber wolf mascot, Cree while getting a chance to see the rehabilitating raptors that are waiting to be reintroduced back to nature. I am always full of questions about when it is best to call in the experts at the Rehabilitation Center and when it is best to leave nature alone.

The Wildlife Refuge and Rehabilitation Center is located on 977 Springfield Rd. in Wilmington and open to the public 10 am – 4 pm Thursdays – Mondays (closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays). Enjoy! Diane Chase is the author of Adirondack Family Time™ Tri-Lakes and High Peaks: Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities. This blog post is an excerpt from her book.

Refuge falcons
Our enclosures for education birds include Red-Tailed Hawks, Broad-Winged Hawks, Rough-Legged Hawks, Swainsons Hawks, Peregrine Falcons, Great Horned Owls, Barred Owls, Screech Owls, Turkey Vultures and Ravens.