Willowbrook Wildlife Center to host three open houses this summer
The DuPage Forest Preserve District is asking for public feedback on proposed improvements to Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn.
Improvements are needed so Willowbrook can remain a state-of-the-art wildlife rehabilitation facility and a national leader that not only engages visitors in veterinary science and medical care but also demonstrates how to attract and live in harmony with wildlife.
Plans call for building a 32,000-square-foot wildlife rehabilitation clinic and visitor center with expanded naturalized outdoor and indoor rehabilitation areas and interactive learning exhibits that explain the wildlife rehabilitation process.
Plans also include a welcome plaza, an outdoor classroom, an interpretive trail with wildlife observation areas, and outdoor activity spaces that demonstrate how to attract and live in harmony with wildlife.
The public can provide feedback on the plans by completing a survey and filling out a comment form at dupageforest.org/news-upcoming-projects-willowbrook-phase-2.
The Forest Preserve District is also conducting stakeholder meetings and three open houses to gather public opinions on the project.
• Thursday, July 29, from 6 to 8 p.m., for a virtual Zoom meeting;
• Saturday, July 31, from 10 a.m. to noon, in the picnic pavilion at Willowbrook Wildlife Center, 525 S. Park Blvd. in Glen Ellyn;
• Tuesday, Aug. 10, from 4 to 6 p.m., at the forest preserve district headquarters, 3S580 Naperville Road in Wheaton.
Once the public comment period closes, the Forest Preserve District will use the gathered feedback to help shape the project's design. The design phase will run through 2022. Construction is tentatively expected to start in 2022 and to be completed by the end of 2024.
The 65-year-old nationally recognized Willowbrook Wildlife Center provides care and medical treatment to injured and orphaned native wildlife in DuPage County and surrounding counties. Willowbrook is the largest rehabilitation center in Illinois and one of the largest centers in the U.S. based on caseload.
During the pandemic in 2020, Willowbrook treated more than 9,000 patients; in 2019, it treated 9,669 patients.
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has been connecting people to nature for more than 100 years. More than 6.2 million people visit its 60 forest preserves, 166 miles of trails, six education centers and scores of programs each year.