Staff and volunteers preparing for emergency evacuation in the event of a fire.

 

About the Cascades Raptor Center

The Cascades Raptor Center is a 501c3 non-profit nature center and wildlife hospital founded in 1987. In its first few years, the educational programs of the Raptor Center only took birds to schools and public events, but in early 1994, the Center moved to its current location on a wooded hillside in southeast Eugene and opened to the public.

Nature Center - Enhancing Appreciation, Respect and Stewardship through Public Education
With one of the largest collections of native species of raptors - hawks, owls, eagles, falcons, and more – in the Pacific Northwest our Nature Center has an unparalleled ability to engage visitors of all ages. These resident birds are housed in large outdoor aviaries on our wooded hillside property and are an integral part of our educational mission to create awareness and respect, and to foster care of the wild world. School groups, scout troops, hikers, birders and the general public come from all over Oregon and the world to see the wide variety of native raptors here on display. 

Wildlife Hospital - Rescue, Rehabilitation, Release
Cascades Raptor Center receives over 200 orphaned, sick, and injured raptors each year. We care for these birds using the highest standards of medical treatment and care possible. Most birds presented for care are suffering from injuries either directly or indirectly human-caused. They collide with vehicles, power lines, windows and fences. They are caught in traps, barbed wire, or fishing line. They are shot, poisoned (either directly or through eating poisoned prey), or had their nest sites destroyed by landscaping, logging, or construction. The Raptor Center's goal is to release them back to the wild: healthy and strong, ready to take their place in the wild population. We have cared for over 4500 birds in the last 25 years, returning over 2200 to the wild. 

Cascades Raptor Center's Mission

Through wildlife rehabilitation and public education, the Cascades Raptor Center fosters a connection between people and birds of prey. Our goal is to help the human part of the natural community learn to value, understand, and honor the role of wildlife in preserving the natural and cultural heritage of the Pacific Northwest.

To accomplish this, the Raptor Center has two primary means:

Rehabilitation and release of orphaned, sick, and injured wildlife, primarily birds of prey (raptors), using the highest standards of medical treatment and care, and the best facilities possible.

Public Education designed to enhance the awareness, respect, appreciation, and care of the earth and all its inhabitants so critical for a balanced and healthy planet. The Raptor Center’s large collection of resident birds used in programming creates a positive, first-hand experience of wildlife through on-site visits to our Nature Center and off-site presentations and exhibits at schools and public events.

 

When Birds Can't Fly - A short documentary on the Cascades Raptor Center.
Directed by Steven Wilsey and Produced by Sloane Cameron, 2007

 

"This we know: the earth does not belong to us; we belong to the earth. All things are connected like blood which unites one family. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the children of the earth. Humanity does not weave the web of life; we are merely strands in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves."- Attributed to Chief Seattle, Duwamis

Meet Our Staff

Louise Shimmel, Executive Director 
Louise founded and manages the day-to-day operations of CRC. A state and federally licensed rehabilitator since 1985, Louise has substantial experience in wildlife rehabilitation, has participated in all the Skills Seminars offered by the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (IWRC), done short externships at the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota School of Veterinary Medicine, completed the radiographic certification class required by the state, and worked closely with local veterinarians on wildlife cases.

She has substantial non-profit administration experience, including four years as president and/or executive director of a general wildlife rehabilitation organization which, during her tenure, saw a 15-fold increase in average annual income, an increase in annual patient load from 100 to 2000 animals, and established a central care facility. Ms. Shimmel has nearly 30 years experience in presenting educational programs for all age groups.

Her BA (Stanford) in Drama & English and an MBA (University of Chicago Graduate School of Business) in finance and accounting have both helped in her non-profit work. She also has several years of business experience including four years as an international commercial banking officer for one of the nation's largest banks; as well as substantial writing and editing experience.

Louise served for seven years on the board of directors (two as president) of IWRC, the primary professional association in the field; served for fifteen years as the assistant or an associate editor of The Journal of Wildlife Rehabilitation, for five years been an instructor of IWRC's Basic Skills class, teaching classes in the western US and Canada; and has presented conference papers and authored articles on emaciation protocol for raptors, blood transfusions, and other topics; and authored a chapter on raising neonate hawks and vultures in Hand-Rearing Birds edited by Laurie Gage, DVM, and Rebecca Duerr, DVM. Locally, Ms. Shimmel was co-founder and first president of Oregon Wildlife Rehabilitation Association, and assisted the state Department of Fish & Wildlife to improve standards for wildlife care by re-writing the state licensing exam. Louise started and manages RaptorCare, an email listerv for raptor rehabilitators worldwide, with some 500 participants from 23 countries. She was awarded the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association.

 

Laurin Huse, Rehabilitation Director  
Laurin has been with Cascades Raptor Center since 2000, spending one year as a volunteer and demonstrating a remarkable dedication to the birds and the work we do. To 'reward' her, we kicked her upstairs, giving her the title of Assistant Director and 'doubling' her salary. In early 2002, however, we were able to get her position funded as an AmeriCorps volunteer, and in 2003, with a three-year grant from the Kinsman Foundation.

Laurin is an excellent rehabilitator - having taken the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council two day Basic Skills and many of their advanced skills seminars, and state certification training for taking x-rays. She assisted in the clinic for years, spent five weeks during 2010 at the oil spill response centers in the Gulf, and spent time visiting other rehab centers around the country. Laurin became our Rehabilitation Director in late 2010.

Laurin has an eclectic background, growing up in Fairfax, Virginia, but spending almost every summer with relatives on Kauai, Hawaii. She has attended the Savannah College of Art and Design, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Oregon College of Arts and Crafts in Portland, studying primarily textile design and print making. She brings a great new artistic vision to much of what we do. Having Laurin on staff has provided a fresh outlook, a greater depth of management, another eye on the birds and ear for the volunteers, and a commitment of long term continuity for the organization.

 

Kit Lacy, Education Director 
Kit was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin. After attending university in Wisconsin, she headed west to Oregon. She enrolled at the University of Oregon and began working with an animal behavior field team. She completed a master's degree in biology, publishing papers on communication and social behavior of iguanas. Kit began volunteering at Cascades Raptor Center in January of 2002, has wildlife rehabilitation training, and has been part of the CRC Education Team since its beginning. Kit also taught college biology at Lane Community College for many years. She especially loves training the birds to be ambassadors for their species and also enjoys sharing her love of all things wild with raptor center visitors of all ages. 

Kit has also become a master videographer, creating funny or endearing pieces for Facebook and programs. Her skill in training volunteers and birds culminated in capturing a natural behavior ('kiting' by our White-tailed Kites), putting that unique foraging behavior on cue for programs, and the video she made of that process won the Cascades Raptor Center the 'Behavior of the Year' award at the 2012 conference of the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators in Minnesota. Kit has been a board member of the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators (IAATE) since 2013. She has presented papers on the studio work she has done with Raptor Center resident birds at an IAATE conference; she presented at International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council conference and the Raptor Research Foundation on the use of raptors in age-appropriate education; and at the American Federation of Aviculture she presented on the Raptor Center holistic wellness program for residents.

 

Carrie Sigloh, Operations & Volunteer Coordinator 
Carrie is a native Eugenian, having grown up at the Eugene Saturday Market and attending South Eugene High School. She moved to Corvallis and graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor's degree in Zoology in 2008. That August she began volunteering at Cascades Raptor Center and has been hooked ever since.

In October of 2009 she traveled to South Africa where she volunteered for three months at C.A.R.E., a baboon sanctuary in the African bush. Though she always dreamed about working with primates, while in South Africa Carrie found herself continually looking up in the sky and wondering about the raptors she saw there. She knew then that raptors had become her calling. Upon returning, she joined CRC's education team, completed IWRC's two-day basic wildlife rehabilitation course and began volunteering around 20 hours a week.

As an employee, Carrie wears many hats, both education and rehabilitation, and has completed the radiographic certification class required by the state so she can take x-rays. Carrie brings to CRC her passion for animals, personable attitude, dedication, hard work and willingness and eagerness to always learn and to share her knowledge with others.

 

Brian Schug, Facilities Manager 
Brian was born in the small town of Sandwich, Illinois, but spent much of his formative years in the Southwestern US. He studied voice (gorgeous voice! And great at mimicking owl calls…) at Arizona Western College. He became a plumber in 1993 and taught plumbing at Lane Community College for several years. He started at CRC as a dedicated volunteer, contributing over 1000 hours annually since 2007: on our Animal Care Team, taking our raptor rehabilitation intensive class, being shift supervisor, and doing rescues; on the Education Team, handling birds and doing presentations; and as 'Staff Support' giving staff a day off.

As Facilities Manager, Brian focuses on CRC's ongoing construction, renovation, repair and site improvement needs/goals. In addition, he organizes and manages our team of Special Projects volunteers, as well as continuing to supervise Animal Care volunteers and helping with Education. Our sincere gratitude to the Kinsman Foundation for funding this position for the first two years.

 

Amber Brazil, Visitor Services/Adoptions Coordinator
Amber was born and raised in Eugene and as long as she can remember, has had a love of the natural world. While attending The University of Oregon in May of 2012, she began volunteering at Cascades Raptor Center. It was here that Amber discovered her great love for raptors and passion to help further our mission to bring people closer to wildlife. After graduating from The U of O in March of 2015 with a bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies, she spent 4 months living in Thailand working with elephants. She then travelled around Southeast Asia, realized her heart was with the birds, and returned to our center as a volunteer. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Biology through the Global Field program of Miami University. She has happily joined our team of staff as the Adoption Coordinator while also aiding the center as an Administrative Assistant. As a lover of animals, Amber spends much of her free time in the company of her chickens and her dog, Winston. She enjoys music on cloudy days, backyard gardening, and hiking wherever it's green.

 

Zachary Zeneberg, Training & Education Coordinator 
Originally from Michigan, Zach has been "Hooked-on-Raptors" since he saw his first outreach program in the second grade. His love of nature and working with animals led him to study Environmental Science at the University of Michigan. After graduation, he worked at the University as Teaching Assistant for a Wetland Ecology field course, discovering that the one thing he likes more than the natural world is teaching others about it! Zach spent his free time hand-rearing songbirds and cleaning raptor enclosures as a volunteer with localrehabilitation organizations, eventually gaining his first exposure to working with Birds of Prey and earning his environmental education chops by doing hundreds of outreach programs for school-aged kids as a Raptor Educator at the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor, MI. In 2011, Zach moved to Florida to work for Steve Martin's Natural Encounters as an Avian Trainer at Disney's Animal Kingdom. There he learned to train and care for a variety of new species, including parrots, corvids, and hornbills. He also had the opportunity to study Applied Behavioral Analysis and Operant Conditioning with some of the best animal trainers in the world in a hands-on setting. These experiences helped him earn his professional designation in 2012, when he became a Certified Professional Bird Trainer (CPBT-KA.) Zach joined the Cascades Raptor Center team in May of 2015 as the Training and Education Coordinator, bringing to the Pacific Northwest (his favorite place!) his enthusiasm for environmental education and his passion for empowering animals living under human care.

 


Dr. Ulrike Streicher DVM
Wildlife Veterinarian

Dr Steicher joined the team in October 2016.
 

Karen Hall, Administrative Assistant
Karen was raised in Western North Carolina, playing often in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. While in NC, Eastern Screech Owls and Whippoorwills were her nightly fix, sitting on the porch with grandparents and parents. Her formal education is as an ethnobotanist, working with Cherokee people in NC and OK.  She is also an excellent naturalist, working to learn nature in her new home, the Pacific NW. When not learning more about her new home, Karen works as an artist, creating hand dyed goods with natural dyes – an excellent extension of her plant chemistry expertise. Having set up the Master Naturalist program for SC, Karen comes to us with significant experience in organizing, managing and growing adult education programs. Karen serves as Administrative Assistant for the center, assisting with day-to-day operation of the office and supporting the work of administrative and program staff. On most days, Karen is the voice on the other end of the phone, welcoming you to the center.

 


Cascades Raptor Center's Board of Directors

President - Stephanie Hand, Sales, Self-employed

Secretary - Bill Brady, Attorney, University of Oregon

Treasurer - Pamela Whyte, CPA, Emge & Whyte

Director - Brooke Carroll, Development Director, University of Oregon

Director - Pony Gilbert, Native American Storyteller

Director - Wayne Parker, Consultant, Sapelo, LLC

Director - Clara Rigmaiden, Judge, Lane County Circuit Court


Cascades Raptor Center is a member of the following organizations:

ANCA - Association of Nature Center Administrators
AZA - Association of Zoos and Aquariums
EEAO - Environmental Educators Association of Oregon
IAATE - International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators
IWRC - International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council
MUSE – Museums of Springfield and Eugene
NAO - Non-Profit Association of Oregon
NWRA - National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association
RRF - Raptor Research Foundation

We are Gold Level on Guidestar!

2016 PARTNERS

  • Kinsman Foundation
  • Wildlife Support Charitable Trust
  • Audrey and J. J. Martindale Foundation
  • William H. and Mattie Wattis Harris Foundation
  • Gus Hawthorne Foundation
  • Vincent J. Coates
  • Patagonia Environmental Programs