TOLEDO, Ohio — With spring in full bloom, one wildlife rehabilitation center in northwest Ohio is in the thick of its busy season. Nature's Nursery is located near Toledo and takes in orphaned and injured animals.

What You Need To Know

  • Nature's Nursery took in more than 3,600 animals in 2020

  • To date, they are higher than last year’s number by 40

  • They are a non-profit that relies on donations

  • The group is happy to help with any question regarding what to do with an injured or orphaned animal even if that person resides outside its service area

MaryLou is one of the animals in the center’s care.

“She's an American crow,” said Laura Zitzelberger, a longtime Nature's Nursery employee. “She actually had a leg and wing injury, which is why she couldn't go out into the wild.”

The wildlife rehab's goal is to get animals healthy and back in the wild. Although some, like MaryLou, are permanent residents. The animals can't be released due to different circumstances, so they become education ambassadors. Some of these animals include: Greta the opossum, Boomerang the hawk and Lenny the fox. 

For at least 12 years, Nature's Nursery has operated out of a 1,500-square-foot building — a building not meant for what it's being used for, especially, because the center has grown a lot during the last three decades. 

“We took in 159 animals and thought we were busy,” said Zitzelberger. “The next year was 550, the next year 850, now we're approaching 4,000 animals a year.”

Recently, they were gifted some land and have hope to put a 6,000-square-foot building on the property — a necessity to serve the community in the capacity they hope to do.

However, being an animal organization is only half their puzzle. 

“We're really a people organization,” said Zitzelberger. “These animals don't come to us on their own. They come to us because somebody cared.”

When they raise enough money for the building to come to life, they'll be able to serve in a new light, with the same love they've been giving for more than 30 years