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What began with one Great Horned Owl, a high-school biology classroom, a dog kennel, and a (brave) biology teacher has now become the Liberty Nature Center. For 28 years, Mrs. Frances Carter and the students in her classes have cared for injured wildlife which included some mammals but focused mostly on Birds of Prey. The facility, which was originally located on campus at Casey County High School (Casey County, KY) and was later moved to Southwestern High School (SWHS) (Pulaski County, KY), has grown each year to encompass more animals, more educational programs, and in 2013 more space. While on campus at SWHS, the raptor center was known as the only wildlife rehabilitation center in the nation located on a high school campus. The program was limited to a 1/4 mile nature trail, 23 mews, storage buildings, and a small weathering yard. The program was also limited to students who attended SWHS.
Despite its limitations, the SWHS Raptor Program had big dreams of building a nature & education center on the schools campus. This led to a 10 year fundraising campaign that raised over $300,000 dollars... a figure just shy of the cost needed to bring the nature center to life.
In 2013, due to a change in state laws, the organization decided it would be best to continue the operation separate from the school and thus the Liberty Nature Center was born. After the organization officially changed their name to the Liberty Nature & Raptor Center, the funds originally raised to build a nature center were used to purchase 27.5 acres that would become the new home for the program. With the left over funds, a wildlife unit and offices were built and construction began on developing a wildlife education center that we hope will be an asset to the Lake Cumberland Region and the citizens, students, and wildlife it serves.
The program still focuses on wildlife rehabilitation and education and has placed an even larger emphasis on involving high school students. Since moving to the new location, the program has opened up to include all students, grades 7-12, in the area as well as adult mentors from a diverse background.
For more information on our history, please contact us! We would be happy to share.
Allegiant came to the Liberty Nature Center in July 2014. She is now a part of our education collection. To read Allegiant's full story,