What is the Center?
The Card Wildlife Education Center is a 5,000 square foot natural history museum showcasing nearly 200 wildlife specimens from around the world. The facility is located on the ground floor of the Arts and Sciences Commons (Room 011) on the Ferris State University campus in Big Rapids, Michigan.
What is the Purpose of the Center?
The primary function of the Card Wildlife Education Center is to serve as an educational resource for Ferris students, K-12 school children, and members of the Michigan Community.
History of the Card Center
The wildlife specimens in the Card Wildlife Education Center have been donated by Ferris alumnus Roger Card and his late wife, Debra. Their worldwide travels and their generosity have resulted in the creation of a unique educational experience for visitors to the center. In addition to donating the specimens, the Cards provided funding to remodel an area to house the Center and its collections.
When interviewed upon the opening of the Center, Roger had the following to say: "This was a dream of ours for 10 years or more. I had most of these animals on display at my office -- a few people a year would walk through and see them, but to have them displayed where thousands of people can see them is something Deb and I had worked very hard for.
"I've been very fortunate in my life to have had the opportunity to travel the world and see these animals. The center allows people to observe these animals they may not otherwise have the opportunity to see, realistically displayed, not just as a picture in a book. Ferris students are able to see the animals up-close, and we've pledged annual support to open the Center to students from local elementaries and high schools."
The Card Wildlife Center reflects the hunting and fishing culture of northern Michigan. A world-renowned hunter, Roger has been honored by Safari Club International with the World Hunting Award Ring. The ring represents the premier honor in the world of hunting. A 1963 graduate of Ferris State University's College of Engineering Technology, Card sold his Mount Pleasant-based construction company and now operates The Card Companies, a real estate development venture, as well as Card's Draw, a whitetail ranch near Mecosta for trophy deer hunters.
A World of Animals
The main exhibit area contains specimens from Michigan, North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia. In addition, the center contains an Educational Resource Center and a meeting room that can be used for small professional or community gatherings.
The Michigan and North American Display contains more than 90 full-body and head mounts including moose, elk, white-tailed deer, caribou, black bear, grizzly bear, polar bear, muskox, gray wolf, red fox, cougar, and lynx. In addition, the collection includes several fish, waterfowl, and gamebird species.
The African Display includes over 50 mounts, including lions, leopards, spotted hyena, giraffe, white rhinoceros, hippopotamus, cape buffalo, warthog, olive baboon, and numerous species of antelope such as gemsbok, greater kudu, lechwe, Lord Derby's eland, bongo, and hartebeest.
The Asian Display includes over 20 mounts, including blue sheep, Mongolian gazelle, axis deer, yak, and Siberian ibex. The European Display includes, among other specimens, mounts of red deer and wild boar, while the Australian Display includes animals such as the red kangaroo, wallaby, and brush-tailed possum.
The Educational Resource Center has a library and a computer facility for students conducting wildlife research. A tactile display area enables visitors to handle many different types of animal pelts and to compare horns and antlers. The meeting room area, which is available for public use, is complete with projection facilities and seating for up to 40 people.
How Do I Make Arrangements to Visit the Center?
The Wildlife Center is open to the public during established hours. Presently, educators and others may make arrangements to bring their classes or groups to the Center by calling 231-591-5387 for an appointment. A map showing parking and the location of the facility will be provided, and bus parking (if necessary) will be cleared through Ferris State University Public Safety.