Gail (Wingerd) Laux : Born in Chambersburg Pennsylvania. Youngest of three children. Father , Dr. Robert Wingerd, native of Chambersburg and a Family Physician. Mother, Jane Hilleman Wingerd native of Rochester , NY and a very accomplished athlete and coach.
Attended Chambersburg High School, graduated from Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford Connecticut (1982)and received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Wittenburg University(1986). Met husband, Chris Laux while attending Wittenberg University. Began career as a research technician for Cornell University studying the effects of acid rain on Lake and Brook Trout in the Adirondack area. Married in 1987 and moved to the Dayton area. Hired as the Animal Program Coordinator at Bruckner Nature Center and found passion for outdoor education.
Moved to Bellville in 1988 and through the support of the Director of Gorman Nature Center, Steve McKee, founded the Ohio Bird Sanctuary (originally called the Richland County Raptor Rehabilitation Center). Original site of the Sanctuary was on the family’s 5 acre farm. Proud parent of two daughters, Samantha (1989-2012) and Sarah (born 1992). As a family we have enjoyed a large variety of outdoor activities including skiing, soccer, hiking, and horses. (Chris more passionate about soccer, women in his life are avid equestrians. As the family and organization grew it became evident that the Sanctuary would need a new home. In 1995 the “Raptor Center “ was renamed and signed a lease with Heart of Ohio boy Scout Council for 55 acre of Camp Avery Hand .
The facility was designed and developed with the intentional design for accessibility. In 2010, upon the closing of Camp Avery Hand, the Sanctuary purchased the previously leased 55 acres and an additional 35 acres creating 90 acre preserve and public environmental learning center. The Sanctuary is entering is 31 year of operation and proud to be a strong asset to the community.