Wildlife Rehabilitation: Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to encounter wounded or sick wildlife. While young animals may look orphaned, the best course of action is to leave them alone. Often their parents are nearby and will take care of their young. Injury is also common in the natural world. As hard as it may seem, sometimes the best response is to let nature take its course. If one does want to seek treatment for a wild animal, a Department of Natural Resources and Environment licensed wildlife rehabilitator should be contacted. Pierce Cedar Creek Institute does not have the resources or licensing necessary to properly rehabilitate wild animals.
Local Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator:
Dawn Koning (Hastings, MI)
Dawn is a reputable and experienced wildlife rehabilitator but is currently unable to treat raccoons. If you have a wildlife emergency concerning an injured or orphaned raccoon, please contact the Lowell Farm and Wildlife Center at (616) 885-4223.
Pierce Cedar Creek Institute has four certified Monarch Way Stations and is contributing to monarch conservation by providing a variety of milkweed plants and other nectar and host plants and agreeing to use sustainable management practices to manage our gardens and natural areas, including eliminating the use of insecticides, amending the soil, removing invasive species from site, using natural compost for fertilization when needed, and watering to maintain growth.
Ways the community can help Monarch butterfly populations:
Quality Deer Management: By implementing a quality deer management program, Pierce Cedar Creek Institute is committed to controlling the deer herd to a population that can be sustained by the local environment. The current deer population in southwest Michigan is about 70 deer per square mile. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources suggests that southwest Michigan habitats can support no more than 20-25 deer per square mile. This deer over-population is a result of the absence of predators like wolves and coyotes. Without a management plan in place, the native tree and wildflower populations will continue to decline. The Institute works to control the deer population through a quality deer management program. The program reduces the ability of the herd to reproduce and ensures sufficient food sources for the surviving deer.
Native Species Conservation: Many native wildlife species have been negatively affected by environmental degradation and habitat loss. In an effort to create a nesting habitat that is in short supply due to deforestation, the Institute has installed a series of bird nest boxes for a variety of native, cavity-nesting birds. The most popular residents of our nest boxes are Eastern bluebirds, tree swallows, and house wrens. Staff and volunteers diligently monitor these nest boxes to determine nest success and ensure that they are not being inhabited by undesirable non-native species such as European starlings or house sparrows and/or parasites.
Landowners can help provide homes for wildlife on their property as well. A number of suitable nest boxes can be purchased or built from relatively simple plans. Another option for some landowners is to keep dead and dying trees in wooded areas. Many animals can make their homes in these hollowed-out trees.
Through strategic timing of restoration practices and the installation of turtle nest baffles, the Institute also works to preserve some reptile species, such as eastern massasauga rattlesnakes and eastern box turtles. Please remember that snakes—even venomous ones—play an important role in the ecosystem, and it is important to resist the potential urge to kill a snake when one is encountered. Massasaugas avoid confrontation with humans and are not prone to strike. However, like any animal, they will protect themselves from anything they see as a potential predator. It is best to treat these animals with respect and leave them alone.
Relocating Animals on the Institute's Property: It's a popular myth that the animal that is a nuisance on your property can simply be "relocated." It sounds easy enough, and one would think it might be the best for property owner and nuisance animal. However, it's rare that relocated animals have a good chance of survival, and moving them may even affect the survival of animals in their new "home."
In summary, relocation sounds appealing, but it is tough on the transported animals and can have negative impacts on the animal populations where they are released. Our goal is to co-exist with wild animals, and we owe it to them to seek low stress and hopefully non-lethal solution to nuisance animal problems. Usually, that means modifying our own behavior.