Protection of Endangered Species,
Mission: TreeHouse Wildlife Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 1979 dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of native wildlife while promoting environmental awareness through education.
In 2010 TreeHouse moved from its original location in Brighton to the current 8 1/2 acre property located in Dow, IL. Our Dow facility offers an ideal atmosphere for the care of sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife as well as a haven for those who cannot be released back into the wild.
The wildlife come first at TreeHouse. From the moment a patient is admitted, we strive to provide the best care possible for that animal. Wildlife rehabilitators give urgent assessment and professional care to all animals who come to our center, and volunteers assist in the comfort of patients and the operation of the facilities. Our hospital comes complete with a full clinic, indoor caging and exercise rooms for wildlife receiving treatment, and a nursery for young animals needing care. We understand rehabilitation is a step-by-step process, and our outdoor housing and release-training facilities for patients provides room for reacclimation back to the wild. Our 92 foot flight enclosure behind our main building give birds the chance to regain the strength in their wings by flying long distance horizontally and vertically. For those certain animals needing sanctuary, we offer permanent resident enclosures and a place to call home.
In addition, TreeHouse believes that for any wildlife rehabilitation program to be truly successful, it must be partnered with an interactive public education program. We have been given the very unique opportunity to interact with the public and educate our human communities about the value of wildlife, the basic needs of these animals, and man's overall impact. By following these educative objectives we can further our cause by teaching people to have compassion, tolerance, and understanding for the creatures that we dedicate our time to save.
TreeHouse also boasts a wildlife education center and a gift shop for visitors to enjoy. We provide on-site intern quarters that host college students from around the world. These interns receive hands-on experience in animal rescue, rehabilitation, husbandry, and release. TreeHouse works with colleges to offer school credit to interns. Interns can also learn about other aspects of a wildlife facility by participating in education programs and outreach.
Results: From TreeHouse's humble, grassroots beginnings to the new 8 1/2 acre location, TreeHouse has continued to grow:
1972-1974: Not having a clue as to what to do – as wildlife rehabilitation centers were few and far between – Adele and Richard took the rabbit to a local veterinarian. Despite their lack of knowledge or experience in wildlife rehab, the rabbit recovered and he was ready for release. Realizing that there were no places available to take and care for these creatures, Adele and Richard decided then and there that this is what they wanted to do.
1975-1980: At that time, wildlife courses were not offered at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, and wildlife patients were not "officially" admitted at the school's clinic. Richard convinced the university to convert an unused dog ward into a wildlife ward, and creating the first wildlife ward at U of I. The passion for rehab began in earnest in 1977 when orphaned critters were brought home for Adele to raise.
Following his graduation, Richard and Adele moved back to Brighton with their current patients. Two cages for birds and one for mammals were erected in the back yard using old wooden boxcar sides, trees for posts, and chain link fencing. The name TreeHouse was chosen because the first nest box used for orphaned raccoons was Adele's nephew's former tree house. Paperwork began to incorporate TreeHouse as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 1980. 71 patients were admitted that first year, the first edition of the newsletter "TreeHouse Droppings" was distributed, the first permanent resident arrived – a Great Horned Owl dubbed "Moose", and appeals were sent out to raise money for a building.
1981-2009: A 2,400 square foot hospital building was completed along with approximately 36 outdoor cage complexes for patients and permanent residents. An eagle flight facility was built measuring 135' in length. In 1983 TreeHouse took in the first student interns, and in 1986 TreeHouse began to accept volunteers. Realizing this once tiny grassroots organization had outgrown its location, plans were made to find a new site in 2003.
2010 to present: Property was located in February of 2010 in Dow, Illinois that fit TreeHouse's unusual needs. A grant was received from a local private foundation and the property was closed on in June 2010. Work immediately began to provide housing for the permanent resident animals and those in the process of rehabilitation. TreeHouse continues to grow with the support of generous members, donors, and volunteers. As human population expands, there is an increase in human and wildlife-based interactions. Because of this, TreeHouse is constantly evolving to meet the needs of the wildlife and community. Interns from around the world have come to learn professional wildlife rehabilitation. It is our hope to continue growing and improving our center for the animals and wildlife lovers alike for years to come.
Target demographics: the rehabilitation and release of native wildlife and environmental education
Direct beneficiaries per year: Through our rehabilitation program, as of 2016, we have helped 15834 animals. Over the years, TreeHouse has provided tours and educational opportunities to thousands of children on field trips, to scout groups working on badges, clubs, organizations, senior citizen groups, and even the occasional family wanting a more personal experience at the center.
Geographic areas served: TreeHouse services the Central Southern Illinois area.
Programs: In-house and outreach educational programs as well as summer camps