The Environmental Studies Center is a facility for educating visitors in the natural sciences located in Mobile, AL. The center not only provides unique learning experiences for visitors, but is also home to a wildlife rehabilitation program that treats and cares for over six hundred sick, wounded, and orphaned animals a year.
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The Environmental Studies Center covers over five hundred acres of forest that includes natural habitats such as pine and bay groves, freshwater brooks, a predatory plant bog, swamps, and a lake taking up over twenty acres of the facility. The facility also contains man-made trails, sheltered pavilions, live animal displays, a native plant garden, and a butterfly garden. The center has several indoor exhibits and facilities as well, including a gift shop, live reptile displays, a saltwater aquarium, an auditorium, and several preserved specimens displays that are native to Alabama.
The Environmental Studies Center is also home to a wildlife rehabilitation program. The program focuses on caring for and treating the wounded and orphaned wildlife of Alabama, rehabilitation center takes in over eight hundred animals a year. The rehabilitation program counts on donations to provide the animals with the shelter, care, and food the animals need to survive.
What’s New at ESC
Visitors to the Environmental Studies Center can expect to encounter new animals when visiting due to the wildlife rehabilitation program.
The center took in Cassi, an American kestrel in the spring of 2016. A vehicle hit her causing damage to her wing that was severe enough to prevent her being released back into the wild. Visitors should stop in and see her in her new home with the screech owls on the Bird of Prey Boardwalk.
In June the Environmental Studies Center agreed to house eight baby pelicans from the Wildlife Care and Rescue Center in Biloxi, in Mississippi. The baby pelicans were found after on the beach after Tropical Storm Cindy and had been blown off the Mississippi barrier island where they nest. Out of twenty babies found only sixteen of them survived and eight of them made it to the center in Mobile. In August the Pelicans were released back into the wild.
Bringing Animals to the Center
The community can do their part for the animals the Environmental Studies Center works to rehabilitate. If an injured or sick animal is found it can be brought to the center. Until it can be brought to the center, rescuers should do the following:
· Use gloves or towels when touching and handling the animal
· Fill a box with a t-shirt or torn newspaper
· Make sure the animal stays calm and warm
· Do not give food to the animal
Since the center does offer a pick-up service for wounded animals, the animal must be brought to the center by the person who found it for it to receive treatment.
Baby Squirrels- The center is only receiving wounded or sick squirrels and asks that if a baby squirrel is found that it is returned to its home. In order to return it, it should be placed in a hanging plant basket filled with straw or grass made into a nest, with holes in it. The basket should be hung next to whichever tree the baby was found under. It is okay to touch the baby, as squirrels have a very strong paternal instinct and will not refuse to take the babies back. Baby squirrels should never be left on the ground as predators and ants can harm them.
Baby Birds- The difference between the two types of baby birds should be learned as it affects how and if they should be rescued:
· Nestling- a baby bird without feathers or with pin feathers, that hasn’t yet left the nest. It should be returned to the nest in the same way as baby squirrels
· Fledgling- has feathers and is in the process of learning to fly; once a fledgling has left the nest it does not return. These babies should be left alone other than to place them in a bush near the tree for their protection.
Baby birds should only be brought to the center if it can be verified that the parents are dead, it is injured, or is in danger.
The Environmental Studies Center partners with the schools all around Mobile to offer field trips that can bring learning out of the classroom and into the real world.
The center holds a semiannual fundraising open house to raise awareness and fund for the rehabilitation program.
Donations can also be made as resources or materials needed by the center to care for the animals or as a monetary donation.
6101 Girby Rd, Mobile, AL 36693, Phone: 251-221-5000