Friday, March 4, 2016
As I prepare for the upcoming year I take a moment to reflect on the year that was 2015. You may remember from the January Newsletter that we responded to over 300 phone calls, cared for 24 different species of birds and 9 species of mammals. Our volunteers contributed over 3,500 hours and the three interns put in close to 800 in only 4 months.
The year was also filled with outreach activities and public events. We attended several popular Bonner County events such as the Independence Day celebration in Clark Fork and the 7B Sunday event at Schweitzer Resort.
We had major concerns as the fires continued to grow and get closer to our facility and properties. The main parcel upon which operate was less than 5 miles as the crow flies from two major complex fires and secondary parcel was less than 2 miles from the third fire causing discomfort in the Clark Fork Valley.
Our wildlife patients for 2016 are one patient that unfortunately did not survive his trauma. We also are caring for three patients. Release is planned for early summer 2016. We have received a handful of phone calls including being asked to offer assistance to three bears in need but had to refuse due to having no facilities to provide care.
We take the slow time of winter to focus on expansion and growth. The first two months have provided Bonner County residents the opportunity to attend five educational wildlife presentations & attend a gourmet cheesecake tasting fundraiser. In March we will offer two educational events and a Pizza party fundraiser. We have also entered an online fundraising contest which if we raise sufficient donations we could win $10,000. The month of April we have scheduled the first of two Scenic Highway 200 clean up sessions during the weekend of EarthDay. The month of May begins with the annual IDAHO GIVES one day online fundraising campaign for state wide nonprofits.
Several other events are being planned throughout the year. Of course we will be at the Schweitzer resort event and the Clark Fork Celebration. We are also planning a target shoot and a nature walk. A comedy show at the Tango Café/ColumbiaBank building and pints for a cause event at IPA in September. For October we have planned a scarecrow contest at Hickey Farms and a Sip and Shop event at PO Winery. The second highway clean up will also take place late summer/early fall. We may also be scheduling hot dog and ice cream social fundraiser.
In relation to wildlife care we are currently replacing our floor in the animal infirmary room, after 15 years of use and improper construction by original owners it needed attention. We are also working towards Spring construction of large mammal enclosures which will house bears and other large game species. The state has finally given their approval for us to care for these charismatic wild animals when they are in need. As soon as the chosen Intern candidates get our of university in late May, we will again use their assistance to care for all our native neighbors through the summer and fall.