BY AMY MARCHIANO
The Red Creek Wildlife Center began in 1991 with Peggy Hentz sitting at her kitchen table caring for baby robins.
Since then, the wildlife rehabilitator, center owner and founder, together with staff members, volunteers and interns, has cared for thousands of animals. Looking ahead, she shows no signs of stopping and aims to keep the center going for years to come.
To do this, Hentz is donating her home at 300 Moon Hill Drive in Wayne Twp., where she has lived since 1988, to become a bigger center. She plans to move out by August, keeping only an office in the home, before demolishing the structure to make way for a two-story building to be used to care for wildlife. Another building across the street is also used.
“My ultimate goal in this whole thing is to make sure Red Creek outlasts me for generations,” Hentz said. “I’m going to keep running Red Creek for many years.
“It makes sense giving this to Red Creek because this was where Red Creek started.”
A capital campaign is underway to raise $250,000 to make the plan a reality. With the public phase underway since earlier this month, it has raised $135,000, with $100,000 from Hentz and the remainder from individuals and businesses.
Plans in place
A new 96-feet-long and 22-feet-wide center built on the foundation of Hentz’s home could cost about $150,000.
While details are not yet finalized, Hentz said the first level could include a reception area, an after-hours drop off, food preparation area for the animals, washing area for dishes, nursery and rabies vector area.
Hentz envisions eight “mews,” or rooms for raptor rehabilitation, and a long hallway for them to practice flying on the second floor.
“We’re not going to take it (the house down) until we are ready to begin building,” Hentz said.
The second phase of the campaign includes demolishing the building where wildlife is now housed to make way for a 65-foot long 20-foot wide nature center devoted to education and add a classroom for the public.
The center currently has four full-time employees, two paid summer interns and 10 volunteer interns.
The contingent has kept busy in caring for wildlife this year, with more than 2,000 animals receiving care at the center.
“We will easily hit 4,000 this year,” Hentz said, adding cottontail rabbits were the animal most often taken to the center because they are abundant and easy to find.
Hentz is optimistic the goal can be achieved.
She said she feels “humbled” at the attention the public has said about her decision on Facebook.
“I gave my life to Red Creek and to wildlife. This is a kind of lifetime gift,” Hentz said
To donate to the campaign, visit the Red Creek Wildlife Center website at redcreekwildlifecenter.org or call 570-739-4393.
Contact the writer: 570-628-6028