Nature’s Nursery Center Announces Plans For Future Rescue Facility

Nature’s Nursery will be getting a new home next year, thanks to a donation of land from Courageous Community Services, a nonprofit organization that provides adventure camps for individuals with special needs. RENDERING COURTESY OF NATURE’S NURSERY

Nature’s Nursery Center for Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation in Whitehouse will soon be building a bigger nest. 

With yearly growth in animal admissions, which now exceed over 3,500 per year, the 1,500-square-foot building that Nature’s Nursery currently calls home was outgrown years ago. As Nature’s Nursery gets ready to spread its wings, it also embraces a very unique collaboration that will serve more than just the animal population going forward. 

Nature’s Nursery was first established in 1989 in a private residence in Whitehouse. The need for wildlife rescue in the area was quickly proven clear as animal admissions went from just 159 in year one to 1,200 by year four. With steady growth continuing, in 1997, Nature’s Nursery expanded into a larger building on Reed Road and then found its current home at Blue Creek Metropark in 2006. 

For the past 14 years, the Metroparks have generously provided the use of an old farmhouse, storage garage and open field to Nature’s Nursery at no cost. However, as Nature’s Nursery continued to grow over the years, it was clear that a facility built for the specific purpose of animal rehabilitation and education would need to be the next move. 

Nature’s Nursery executive director Allison Schroeder was hired in January of this year with the goal of helping Nature’s Nursery to find a new home. 

“As a team, we came up with a list of wants for the new location and discussed in-depth what our goals were,” said Schroeder. “Numerous opportunities presented themselves, but none provided that perfect fit until our discussions began with Courageous Community Services.” 

Courageous Community Services (CCS), formerly known as Camp Courageous, is a Whitehouse-based nonprofit that provides opportunities for individuals with disabilities and their families with educational and social programming in a camp setting called Courageous Acres. Children and adults with disabilities are served by CCS by providing vocational skills, social skills, respite care and support groups. Courageous Acres includes cabins, a food hall, administration buildings, a swimming pool, a playground and significant green space for natural learning and exploring.  

After a recent sale of a portion of Courageous Acres to the Metroparks, CCS still had several unused acres and were looking for a complementary nonprofit to join their campus. 

CCS has gifted 3.6 acres of land to Nature’s Nursery on a 100-year lease. Nature’s Nursery plans to construct a 6,000-square-foot building plus utilize over 2 acres for outdoor animal enclosures and caging. The new facility will include animal surgery and clinic rooms, indoor and outdoor rehabilitation animal housing, indoor and outdoor education areas open to the public as well as conference space. 

Nature’s Nursery hopes to break ground in the first quarter of 2021 with a completion date in the spring of 2022. The new facility will be privately funded through donations, grants, sponsorships and community events.  

“It’s incredible to be able to start planning not only the new building, but also brainstorming all of the ways that Nature’s Nursery and CCS will be able to work together. We will be able to bring wildlife programming to the CCS campers to further their nature experience as well as provide vocational opportunities working in animal care, conservation, and nature,” said Schroeder. 

“With the Metroparks now owning the surrounding land, we can continue to build on that relationship to bring all three organizations’ missions together to serve the animals and people in the community,” she added.

“We are so excited to have Nature’s Nursery on our campus to further the programming that we offer to our campers and create a well-rounded nature experience for all individuals,” said Laura Kuhlenbeck, Courageous Community Services executive director. 

“We have some really exciting things in the works, including our own remodeling and renovations, and Courageous Acres will be an experience like no other in the area in the coming years,” Kuhlenbeck said.

For more information, contact Allison Schroeder, Nature’s Nursery executive director at aschroeder@natures-nursery.org or (419) 344-2988.

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