Green Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

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The Green Bay Wildlife Sanctuary or Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, is a 600 acre wildlife refuge center located in Green Bay Wisconsin. This sanctuary has been around for over 80 years, and is one of Wisconsin's largest rehabilitation centers. Many of the facilities include animal habitats, observation buildings, a nature education center, hiking trails and many more nature filled places. The sanctuary can be found across from the Bay Beach Amusement Park and down the street from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay.[1]


The Green Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is a 600 acre wildlife refuge that is located by the Bay of Green Bay. The sanctuary takes care of over 4,500 orphaned or injured animals. Many of the animals cannot get released back into the wild because they are either too hurt or they are imprinted. An animal that is imprinted means that, that animal was found or raised by someone or a species other than their own. Because of this, that animal then imprints to them and recognizes themselves as that species and not their own. Therefore, it is difficult for an animal to be placed back into the wild because it can be potentially dangerous for them, especially if they are imprinted by humans.[2] The imprinted animals, along with all the other rescued animals, stay at the sanctuary where they have large amounts of acres to roam around in and feel like they are back at home in the wild. The Wildlife Sanctuary includes live animal exhibits, educational opportunities, wildlife viewing areas, hiking and skiing trails and a lagoon open for fishing. There are countless amounts of activities that are suited for kids and adults of all ages, and it is free to the public all year-round. [3]


In 1929, the city of Green Bay purchased 250 acres of land which was suppose to be a golf course. A few years later in 1935, Chester Cole and Lyle Kingston who led Concerned Citizens, created the concept of the wildlife sanctuary with help from Aldo Leopold. By 1941, the National Youth Administration and the Work Project Administration, had spent over two years digging to created more ponds. The 55 acre lagoons hold a variety of different fish that is open to the public to fish in today. Trees and Shrubs were also planted during those years in hopes to make the sanctuary a more nature friendly place. Also, in 1941, the City Park Recreation and Forestry Department took over the sanctuary and named it the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary. A name that has not been touched or changed throughout the years. The next 30 years consisted of creating more of the sanctuary's exhibits and outdoor exhibits. Thanks to the Marine Corps Reserve, the exhibits doubled in size, aiming to expand the environmental education program for people. Shortly after that, in 1980, the sanctuary doubled its size by 300 acres that was donated and purchased from people around the area. For 12 years until 1997, construction of the eagle, caracara, red-tail hawk and 14 other bird species exhibits were created. Along with that, the coyote, waterfowl, white tail deer, woodland, nocturnal, otter, fish, raccoon, grey fox and cougar exhibits were also created. By 1998, all the sanctuary's exhibits were completed. The sanctuary is still successfully up and running with the help of volunteers and dedicated workers.[4]


The Wildlife Sanctuary has many interactive programs that are open to the public. Programs include: animal stories, birthday parties for animals, critter counter, cross country skiing events, training session, hikes, birding walks, summer camps, talon talks, trail fitness walks, tween Tuesday, Wisconsin bats. Programs also include self-guided opportunities for teachers that can access worksheets and educational slideshows.[5]

4K Nature Program

The Oak Learning Center is a tuition free, nature based 4K program that allows children to engage in outdoor activities. This program aims to teach children to explore their surroundings and learn skills that will prepare them for kindergarten. Children in this program will be involved in hiking trails, tracking animals and identifying different types of birds, plants and insects.[6] Being in nature will provide many opportunities for children to explore and ask questions about the world around them. That will help build intellectual capacity and help to develop their confidence with themselves in the world. [7] Many classes will take place outside in any weather condition. Therefore, it is important that each child prepares for the day ahead of them, dressing weather appropriate. [8]The outdoor activities, like walking and running, will provide physical development from the uneven terrain and soft wetlands. This will help kids learn to use muscles and control their body and balance through each activity. The OAK Learning Center is partners with the city of Green Bay, University of Wisconsin- Green Bay, Green Bay area public school district, and the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary. [9]


Along with the high number of programs that the sanctuary offers, there are also a number of events that take place throughout the year. Events include: electronics recycling drive, frosty family fun night, easter event, earth day wildlife sanctuary, springs wings, big bay birdathon and photography contest, green bay kids day, walk for wildlife, autumn adventure, annual Halloween event, annual banquet. Each one of these events is open to the public of all ages. It is fun for the whole family. The best part about these events is that most of them are free or charge a very small amount of money. [10]

What You Can Do To Help

The sanctuary is always looking for volunteers to help out with the animals and events that take place. Volunteer work includes: maintenance, animal care, invasive species management, office support, gift shop attendant environmental education committee, and much much more. Donations are always appreciated as well. The animals need care and with the donations, it makes it easier to help the animals in need. Donations like heating pads, dog and cat food, cleaning supplies, and paper goods are a necessity to give the best care to all animals. [11]


  1. Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, "Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary," 2006,
  2. Donna L. Watkins, "The Nature in Us," November 18, 2006,
  3. Green Bay CVB, "Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary," 2017,
  4. Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, "Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary," 2006,
  5. Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, "Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary," 2006,
  6. Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, "Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary," 2006,
  7. Mary McCabe, "OAK Learning Center," 2017,
  8. Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, "Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary," 2006,
  9. Mary McCabe, "OAK Learning Center," 2017,
  10. Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, "Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary," 2006,
  11. Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, "Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary," 2006,

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