ROXBOROUGH — Philadelphia will have a new reason to look forward to Groundhog Day, as this Feb. 2 will mark the grand reopening of the Wildlife Clinic at the Schuylkill Center.

The center will host Winterfest for Wildlife, a benefit event featuring wildlife crafts, animal face painting, nature walks, a bake sale and talks on urban wildlife presented by Rebecca Michelin, director of wildlife rehabilitation.

The event will run from noon to 4 p.m. at the center, which is located at 8480 Hagys Mill Road, Roxborough.

At noon, Winterfest will open with a special ceremony celebrating the Wildlife Clinic's reopening. The celebration will be MC'd by Kathy O'Connell, host of "Kid's Corner" on WXPN-FM Philadelphia, a family radio show.

After the ceremony, O'Connell will staff a table to share wildlife artifacts with visitors and engage them in activities.

There will also be a limited number of timed tickets for behind-the-scenes tours of the Wildlife Clinic.

This event is free, but gifts (such as fleece blankets, bird seed and distilled water) for the wildlife clinic are appreciated. For a full list of suggested in-kind donations, visit schuylkillcenter.org/donate/wishlist.php.

The Wildlife Clinic at the Schuylkill Center reopened its doors Nov. 10, 2018, and currently has federal and state permits for rehabilitating most mammals, songbirds and raptors.

In operation since August 1987, the clinic’s first patient was a Cooper’s hawk brought to the clinic by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Since then, the clinic has treated more than 90,000 animals in its 30-year history.

“When a member of the public cares about an ill, injured or orphaned wild animal enough to rescue them,” Michelin said, “it is our responsibility to provide the highest possible quality of care. We are dedicated to meeting and exceeding national standards by providing prompt medical attention, appropriate housing and diets and a stress-free environment for recovery.”

Assistant Director Chris Strub said he and Michelin have created an innovative training program that includes online courses for progressive skill development.

“We want volunteers to understand as much as possible," says Chris, “to encourage their personal development. We want to be one of the go-to facilities where people learn and to train the future rehabbers in the region — because there will never be enough wildlife rehabbers.”

According to Strub, volunteers are the “life-blood” of any rehab clinic.

The clinic staff is currently accepting volunteer applications for positions in clinic support, animal care, hotline and administrative work, as well as property maintenance. Those interested in volunteering can contact Claire Morgan at 215-853-6270 or claire@schuylkillcenter.org.

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