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JANUARY 15, 2010


Thanks so much for your interest in Back To The Wild's Educational Programming. Each year, we present programs to over 70,000 children and adults including schools, youth groups, scouts, and adult and civic organizations. Our program content is always appropriate for whatever age group is attending and is enjoyed by all ages, including high school and college students. The presentation is very educational, providing an opportunity for children to learn to respect, appreciate, preserve, and protect our natural world and to become responsible caretakers of the earth.


There is a great deal to see and learn here. Students learn about the life histories of the hawks, owls, Bald Eagles and other wildlife and how critical it is to protect their habitats. We discuss habitat loss, the food chain, adaptations, behavior, camouflage, defense mechanisms, human impact on the environment and our own inter-connection with all living things. Much of the information taught is required in the students' proficiency tests. The program begins with a live bird-of-prey exhibit where classes are seated in an outdoor amphitheater. I speak briefly about wildlife rehabilitation, explaining that we are a hospital for injured wildlife. Our mission is to heal these wild animals and return them to the wild. Children learn that wild animals should never be made into pets or denied their freedom in the wild.

Students then tour the facility and see the fox, bobcats, flying squirrels, herons, songbirds, Turkey Vultures, hawks, owls, eagles, a large turtle and tortoise compound, snakes, amphibians, etc., up close and personal. We are usually overflowing with wildlife babies in the spring, but fall has much to offer, too. The program lasts approximately two hours. Following the program, groups are able to have lunch on the grounds or can have a bonfire in our woods, if they would like. We provide the firewood and roasting forks, but you would bring the food and drinks. There are both indoor and outdoor accommodations, in case of inclement weather.

I can accommodate groups as large as 120 if necessary. We do ask for a minimum donation of $60 for groups under 12 people. If the group is larger than 12, we ask for $5 per person, including adult chaperones. We are entirely non-funded and depend 100% on public support through gifts and donations to help us continue our work, as there is no funding available at all, from Federal or State agencies or tax monies. We are receiving over 2,500 injured wild animals each year and are desperately in need of financial support. The money is used directly towards the food and medical care of the animals and to help build and maintain their cages and enclosures. Program times available are 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., noon, and 1:00 p.m. throughout the dates of April 25th thru June 5th and again September 1st thru Nov. 1st, for school groups. There are times available for Scout and youth groups after school and evenings as well as weekends.

A field trip guide is available. Please review this prior to your field trip.


To do a presentation off-site, such as school assemblies or banquets, requires a lot of work and set-up. We do bring several species of live owls, hawks, a Bald Eagle, flying squirrel, turtles, snakes and many wildlife-related items. For an hour to two hour long program at a school, it takes over 3 hours in capturing, loading, transporting and setting up the animals, then all is reversed after the program. That usually involves at least an 8 hour day. I have to pay staff to do this, so the programs literally cost us money to get there, not counting gas and mileage. We receive hundreds of requests each year for "gratis" programs, but it is our one and only way of raising money to operate our center. Our program animals are very costly to feed and maintain throughout the year ~ our annual cost to run our center is over $250,000.00

I am speaking at numerous schools, libraries, youth camps, banquets, etc. this year. We ask $500 to come, plus $100 for gas and mileage for programs over 40 miles away. (It would be the same fee whether it is an entire assembly, just a classroom, a large youth camp or small club). Most schools have a budget for "education" to do this, but if your school does not, you might want to look for local civic organizations such as a Lion's Club, Kiwanis, Church Group, PTO's. etc. that might be willing to sponsor us to come to your school or event. Many seek sponsors in the community who would be willing to provide us the funding to come, in support of your organization, as well as ours. The donor should be aware that their donation is tax-deductible, as we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

I would be more than happy to give a presentation to your students. You may, however, want to consider a field trip to our center, as it is much less costly than having me travel to you.


If you need further information, please feel free to call me. It is easier to go over available dates by telephone and I will be happy to set up a time for your class to come to BACK TO THE WILD. I would recommend calling very soon, as we are filling up fast! If you would like, I can send you a packet of literature. Be sure to visit our website listed below.

A few photos of some programs are here.

Thanks again so much for your interest.

Sincerely ~ Mona Rutger


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