Proposed Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary
& Learning Center Building & Grounds
*Updated: 11-22-11*
See below for history of the sanctuary, plans for GREEN construction & operation, & more!

This building will be built totally GREEN and its operation will leave a minimal, if any, carbon
footprint! Which will also keep operating costs down too!
•        The main building will be approximately 200ft x 50 ft, steel/pole building
•        On insulated cement slab to retain heat/cooling factor
•        Fully insulated building - high R factor
•        The entire south side will be filled with large window/patio door glass high-e panes with the roof
overhang at the precise angle to capture the most winter sun and shield the summer sun for maximum
passive solar gain
•        Roof will be steel plus photovoltaic cells
•        Commercial wind generator will be used
•        Back up conventional electric hook up
•        Commercial emergency generator
•        Fully heated, cooled & ventilated
   Fully handicapped accessible
•        Utilize stainless steel, fiberglass, cement or marlite walls for easy cleaning and durability
•        Indoor walls to be plexiglass or safety glass  as much as possible to maximize viewing ability
•        Informational signs/plaques for each type of animal
 Informational handouts - more detailed- on the care of each type of animal available for free near
information desk in a free standing book/card/brochure type 'tree'
•        Floors cement, epoxy coating for non-slip, and possibly vinyl
•        All rooms will have the supplies needed for the animals inside in cabinets, shelves etc. on the walls to
maximize space usage
•        There will be quarantine rooms (2) and infirmary
•        All waste- animal and food scraps etc. will be composted - resulting compost may also be for sale
•        Compost will also be used to "grow" worms (red worms, etc) for food for animals (turtles, lizards,
hedgehogs, other insectivores) may also sell worms also- for pet food
  • Greenhouse/Garden to use the compost, grow greens and other food for the critters and possibly to
  • Adoption area
  • Education& Presentation/Birthday Party room
  • Spay/neuter clinics for rabbits, other unusual pets, maybe even cats & dogs
•       Memorial Gardens, nice landscaped planting bed with benches etc
•        Need approx 2-3 acres - buildings, parking, memorial gardens, animal exercise areas, etc.

***May create the First ever Public  Rabbit  & Ferret exercise parks!
•        Capacity of 1,000 animals
•        Open to the public 7 days a week from 10 am to 6 pm for viewing only, guided hands-on educational
tours available Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays at set times, and during the week by appointment. Great
destination for tourists, and field trips for schools, scouts etc.
•        Suggested donations amounts upon entering, set fee for hands-on tours.

We already have commitments of  Attorney services, some skilled
and unskilled labor and materials.
We NEED: 5 Acres for $30,000,  A lead contractor to over see the
project, architect for detailed plans, accountant services, and
more as we proceed
Large donations will be recognized on plaques, etc. within the building and on the exterior as well.
An endowment/donation of  $200,000 to begin construction may be acknowledged by
naming the facility after the benefactor.
Donors may dedicate a  room and have their donation acknowledged with a plaque on
the door to that room for $5,000.
******* Critter Camp reserves the right to refuse any name that is deemed inapprropriate, offensive, or discrimantory**********

Donation acknowledgement will have extra advertising potential as the building will be where traffic flows
as well as the thousands of people who will stop and visit the Sanctuary.
According to IDOT the traffic on the stretch of US Route 20 we are planning to utilize averages 15,000 cars a
Of course donors may remain anonymous if desired.
* Interested parties may contact us to set up a meeting *

Sanctuary Floor Plan

Grounds Plan

Ongoing sanctuary expenses must be planned for and the income to maintain the sanctuary must also
be in place. With approximately 10,000 visitors per year ( a conservative estimate) donating, taking tours,
and becoming sponsors the sanctuary will be self supporting.
There will need to be well trained staff at all times the facility is open, as well as before
and after closing time - minimum 2 paid and 3-5 volunteers at any given time.
All staff and volunteer training and all cleaning procedures will be recorded in writing as well as job
descriptions and duties. A veterinary technician may also be employed part-time.
Will utilize area service organizations such as scouts, 4H, schools, etc. as volunteer groups to come in and
clean cages, do fund raising activities and supply drives in exchange for 'free' tours.

With Critter Camp being the ONLY Exotic Pet Sanctuary of its kind in the United States we are hopeful
that this project will touch the hearts of many pet owners and together we will be able to make this
much needed safe haven a reality.


The animals here were all pets at one time, having been abandoned, abused and/or neglected. Some of the
pets were confiscated by animal control departments due to mistreatment, others people simply got tired
of. Many came to us with illness, disabilities, and maladaptive behaviors. Often these animals were slated
for euthanasia as they had no where to go, no one to care for them. As a sanctuary we do not adopt most of
the animals out, we provide them with a safe, healthy and happy forever home after they have already been
through so much. Occasionally we will take in very young animals or pregnant ones, in which case we will
carefully screen potential adopters and place these animals in appropriate homes. Such adopters will sign
contracts providing that they will return the animals to Critter Camp if they cannot care for them for any
reason, no questions asked. The safety and care of the animals is our top priority.

Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary is a registered charitable 501c3, tax exempt, nonprofit, 100% no-kill,
volunteer operated, and USDA & ILDA licensed organization. We are located about 2 hours west of Chicago
and less than an hour from Rockford in the small town of German Valley, IL.

Private tours for groups of up to six people are available by appointment only right now, 7 days a week,
year-round. Come learn about and pet a fennec fox, sugar gliders, degus, rats, mice, bearded dragons,
turtles, a tortoise, ferrets and much more! A donation of $10 per person (in cash or items from our Wish List)
is asked for the tour which lasts about an hour and a half, depending on the number of people in the group
and the level of interest. We have given half hour tours to parents toting wiggly 2 year olds, and 2-3 hour
tours for folks who want to savor the experience and have a lot of questions. We have had folks travel all
the way from Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas, Iowa , Texas, Canada, and even Ethiopia just to meet
the animals here!

Currently the sanctuary is located in the director’s home and an outbuilding, and there are a couple of
flights of stairs to climb to see some of the animals. The house is packed to the rafters with critters! Our
plans are to build a stand alone facility as soon as possible that is fully handicapped accessible. The new
building will be built completely green, utilizing passive and active solar as well as wind power, composting
the waste, growing red worms in the compost for food for some of the animals, and many other ecologically
sound operational practices. This facility will hold nearly 1,000 cast off exotic and unusual pets! Please see
our draft plans above!

Critter Camp also offers pet care information in general and about specific exotic pets to help people
decide if such a pet is right for them before they purchase or adopt it. We also offer resources to help
people find all kinds of pets that need new homes.

We did not set out to create a shelter or sanctuary in the beginning. Our founder is a single mom
who decided to homeschool her two gifted daughters and son with special needs while
incorporating their pets into the lessons. They had the usual pets, a dog, cats, hamsters, & gerbils.
However they decided to add ferrets and ended up taking in a rescued ferret and his cousin. Then
came the hedgehog, another gerbil and parakeet. Before long word got out & people were bringing  
their unwanted animals. They used these opportunities to learn about the new animals in all subject
areas - reading, writing, math, geography, science, etc. When they had nearly 30 animals they
decided we had to either stop accepting the homeless critters or make it a full time endeavor and
become a licensed shelter. Critter Camp has grown to care for over 330 animals of 36 different
species, utilizing 20-200 volunteers a year, and becoming a registered 501c3 non-profit charitable
organization licensed by the USDA and the IL Dept. of Ag. They literally live, eat, breathe & sleep
these critters! They are in every room of the house, one outbuilding and the apartment in the
second floor of the outbuilding. They are stacked three and four cages deep where we can. We
have a unique free range set-up for the ferrets & rabbits (all are spayed and neutered) and the
guinea pigs (separated by sex) that gives them about the best lives such pets can ever hope for. We
strive to give all of the animals the most appropriate living arrangements that we can. And yes, every
single animal gets individual attention every day!

Critter Camp is a member of the Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence at Rockford College and
the Freeport & Rockford Chambers of Commerce.
We have opened a
Building Fund!
Donations may be made
directly to the account at any
Direct donations to the
Critter Camp Exotic Pet
Sanctuary Savings Building
Account. All funds in this
account will be used
specifically for the new
sanctuary building and
grounds only. General
donations may be directed to
our general
US Bank account:
Critter Camp Exotic Pet
Sanctuary Checking Account.
Donations for operating
expenses or the building may
also be made through
directed to or
mail as well.
Giving a home to approximately
1,000 abandoned, abused companion
animals at any given time!

Adoption Center
Spay/Neuter Clinic
Information  Center

Passive & Active Solar,
Wind Power, Composting,
Greenhouse, Locovore,
GREEN operating methods!

Jobs & Tourism!
A Few of the Benefits to the
NW IL Region:

Unique Attraction
Critter Camp is the only licensed,
non-profit Exotic Pet Sanctuary of its
kind in the US
Tourists will come from from all over
the world-
We already have had visitors from
Canada, Australia and Ethiopia!

'Green' Facility
will bring positive media attention to the
area and provide a sustainable model
for new businesses

Naming Rights
to the building and individual rooms are
available - see below
In addition to Sponsors and Donors we are currently looking for someone to Revamp our website  and  create a
digital walk-through mock-up of the proposed sanctuary Contact Us for details!
Large donations will be recognized on
plaques, etc. within the building and on
the exterior as well.

An endowment/donation of  
$200,000 to begin
construction may be
acknowledged by
naming the facility after the

Donors may dedicate a  room
and have their donation
acknowledged with a plaque on
the door to that room for $5,000.
Critter Camp Wins $50,000 in the Pepsi Refresh everything
Thank you to all who voted!!!Thank you to Pepsi!!!!
See our
Article in the Journal Standard
Watch here for our Capitol Campaign to BUILD the Sanctuary!!!!
Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to keep up to date on how our project unfolds!