The Hawk Creek Wildlife Center in Aurora is moving, but officials from the nonprofit wildlife sanctuary won't say where.
"It's in the area. That's pretty much all we're disclosing right now," said Tanya Lowe, director of wildlife education at Hawk Creek.
Hawk Creek officials plan to keep their secret until Saturday, when a "Go Wild" celebration and fundraiser will be held at 6 p.m. at the center to mark its 25th anniversary.
Hawk Creek has been based on about 12 acres at Executive Director Loretta C. Jones' residence at Grover and Luther roads since she started it in 1987 as a small rehabilitation center to teach her children respect and responsibility for nature. It has grown into one of the largest educational outreach and raptor centers in New York State.
"This move is vital. We definitely have to move, and we have a great resource here for the community, and it's something that needs to be done," Lowe said. "We need to have a permanent, solid home for all of these animals and to continue our education and conservation work. We've outgrown our current area."
News of Hawk Creek's plans to move first broke publicly in February, when town officials mentioned it at a town meeting. At that point, the center was trying to acquire 20 acres in the Southtowns, with a budget of $250,000, plus $100,000 for a driveway, parking lot and utility expenses.
Town officials hope Hawk Creek doesn't go far. The sanctuary, specializing in birds of prey, has 80 permanent animals and gets up to 500 rehabilitation animals each year. The smallest was a baby hummingbird, while a 400-pound black bear has been its largest.
Hawk Creek offers about 25 educational programs yearly, most of them off-site. The only time it is open to the public is for a few select events, such as Destination Earth, which was held last weekend; the Raptors event, to be held June 16; and Wild Fun Fest, a July program at the site.
Those interested in helping Hawk Creek with its move, or donating money toward the project, can call Hawk Creek at 652-8646 or go to its website, at hawkcreek.org.