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By John Mizerak
Last week, we hosted our first Men’s Legacy Program in Ohio, with the support of The Wilds, a private, non-profit safari park and conservation center, The Straker Family Foundation and incredible support of the local community. This is just another step towards our expanded nation-wide efforts for the coming year, as we target 30 programs in 2018, with a strategic focus on our military resiliency efforts!


J.W. “Bill” Straker, an empathetic WWII, United States Army Air Corps veteran has provided Mighty Oaks Foundation a legacy gift which will provide a unique complex situated on the newly-named Straker Lake at The Wilds in Cumberland, OH. This project is a collaborative effort between the J. William and Mary Straker Charitable Foundation and the Columbus Zoo.

The Wilds is a private, non-profit safari park and conservation center that combines cutting-edge conservation science and education programs with hands-on experiences and one-of-a-kind adventures that include zip lining, horseback riding, fishing and more. Located in Cumberland, Ohio, the Wilds is home to rare and endangered species from the globe living in natural, open-range habitats.
The property encompasses 9,154 acres of reclaimed coal mine land and includes 2,000 acres of pastures and a 27-acre Carnivore Conservation Center. The Wilds is designated an Audubon Important Bird Area so the property includes a birding station with covered lookout as well as a butterfly habitat with hiking trails, more than 15 miles of mountain bike and hiking trails and approximately 150 lakes. The Wilds is owned and operated by the Columbus Zoo.
Cabins are now being built for use by Mighty Oaks Warrior Programs. This 42-bed facility will host six programs each year starting in 2018.