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About Us

Our Mission

Back To The Wild's primary mission is to rehabilitate and ultimately release into their natural habitat, injured, orphaned, and displaced wildlife. Through this work, Back To The Wild's overall mission is to educate and foster in children and adults an awareness, appreciation, and respect of our natural world. 

Children, especially, are encouraged to become involved in conservation activities to preserve and protect wild areas and to understand our own interconnection with all living things.


Our Story

Back in the years before 1990, Bill and Mona Rutger purchased several acres of land to build their home and family. Despite the condition of the property, when Mona first gazed upon the barren, abandoned cropland, she didn't see dirt and mud, she saw potential.

From the very beginning, Mona has always had a passion for conservation and the protection of native animals. Long before Back to the Wild began, Mona was already hard at work planting trees (over 2,500 of them!), gardens, and more to attract and shelter Ohio's wildlife. She began her career in wildlife rehabilitation with something simple: the rescue of a turtle. As word spread, Mona quickly became known as the "Turtle Lady." But that was just the beginning of what would become a decades long dedication to the preservation of Ohio's flora and fauna.

As more and more people heard of the turtle lady and witnessed her compassion for injured animals, they began to bring other creatures to her. Over the years, Mona went from the Turtle Lady to the Turtle-Eagle-Owl-Bunny-Squirrel-We're-Running-Out-of-Breath-Naming-Animals Lady. But don't let the catchy nickname fool you, it took a lot of hard work to make Back to the Wild what it is today.

From humble beginnings to one of Ohio's most respected rehabilitation centers, our founder, Mona Rutger, has truly made a difference.

Meet The Team


David Bauman


Judi Robles

Part-Time Clinic Technician

Julie Rutger

Part-Time Clinic Technician

Alexa Brown

Office Manager

Victoria McDonald

Part-Time Keeper
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