Nature’s Nursery is seeing wild increases


WHITEHOUSE — Spring is always the busy season at Nature’s Nursery, with May typically being the peak of activity. However, this year the wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center is seeing record breaking animal admission numbers and coronavirus and the “stay at home” order is likely the cause.

Nature’s Nursery is a non-profit organization that has been serving the area for over 30 years. Currently operating out of a small farmhouse donated by the Metroparks, Nature’s Nursery cares for thousands of animals each year with just over 1,400 square feet of indoor space.

In addition to taking in injured or ill wild animals, Nature’s Nursery provides foster care for orphaned baby animals including, squirrels, bunnies, birds, owls and opossums.

With spring being the busiest season for baby animals, Nature’s Nursery always prepares for the rush to begin around the end of April, but this year animal admissions have increased to wild numbers, according to a news release.

“There are so many more people working at home and kids off of school out playing in the yards,” said Laura Zitzelberger with Nature’s Nursery. “Dogs are being let out all day long and nests that would likely otherwise go undisturbed are being found by pets and humans.”

Last year was the busiest year on record for animal admissions at Nature’s Nursery with a total of 3,193 animals taken in. This year to date, animal admissions are up 42%.

If the trend continues, Nature’s Nursery could admit 4,534 animals in 2020.

“We are taking in more than 30 animals per day right now as well as fielding 150 phone calls and messages a day,” said Allison Schroeder, executive director.

In addition to this huge increase in admissions, due to COVID-19, Nature’s Nursery has also had to limit the number of volunteers working on site and cancel many of the programs and fundraisers that provide additional donations.

“Our animal care staff is amazing and working so hard to care for all of these animals with the limited space and resources. We are motivated more than ever to pursue our goal to find land that we can build a bigger facility on,” Schroeder said.

The year started out for Nature’s Nursery with a focus on finding new land and beginning the plans to build a customized facility. Like so many other organizations, due to COVID-19, operations had to shift and adapt. Nature’s Nursery sees the increase in animal admissions as motivation to make their move.

“We really have to grow now more than ever. We can’t continue to sufficiently care for all of these animals in need in the limited space we have,” Schroeder said.

Nature’s Nursery is working to locate no less than 5 acres of partially wooded land. As a non-profit, the hope is to be gifted unused land to call home. Anyone with leads on available land should contact Schroeder at aschroeder@natures-nursery.org.