U of M raising funds to upgrade facilities at Raptor Center

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The University of Minnesota has announced plans to upgrade its Raptor Center, a facility that helps at-risk birds through veterinary care, the Star Tribune reported.

The U of M, which established the Raptor Center in 1974, built its current facility in 1988.

Officials said the Raptor Center didn't plan for the 20,000 visitors it gets each year, leading to rundown facilities and accessibility problems for attendees.

Raptor Center Executive Director Julia Ponder said the project is in the design phase and $2 million is needed for the upgrade. About $1.6 million has been received in private donations to date.

The Raptor Center annually cares for about 700 sick and injured birds a year, including hawks, falcons, bald eagles and owls, the Star Tribune said.

Renovations are set to begin in the spring. The plans also include renovations to a gathering area and educational displays.

In addition to their work at the Raptor Center, employees also visit Minnesota schools with educational programs.

ABC Newspapers said a Raptor Center worker visited Anoka Middle School for the Arts last month with some birds to talk about the creatures' habits and how they care for them.

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