Shared from muskoka411.com/start/aspen-wildlife-seeks-volunteers-and-other-support-as-impacts-of-pandemic-hit-sanctuary/
Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is seeking more volunteers to do maintenance work as the sanctuary faces their busiest time of year with a shortage of full-time volunteers.
The Rosseau-based sanctuary has minimal staff with only two full-time employees and a handful of part-time staff, said Linda Glimps, director of fundraising and volunteer management for Aspen Valley, so they rely heavily on volunteers. It’s a particularly busy time for the sanctuary as they attempt to maintain their property while also caring for over 200 animals in their rehabilitation program as well as 30 permanent wildlife residents. The sanctuary usually hosts 16 full-time volunteers that reside on the property during the summer, but because nearly half of these volunteers are international students, last minute cancellations caused by COVID-19 travel restrictions have left the sanctuary short of full-time help.
The sanctuary has placed some animals with foster families in the community to help address the shortage, but they’re also asking members of the community to help out with maintenance work at the sanctuary.
Photo courtesy of Linda Glimps“If they have skills, that’s great, and if they don’t have skills but they’re not afraid to roll up their sleeves and get dirty, we welcome them as well,” Glimps said. “When people approach us and they want to volunteer, we take that as a blessing and we take that as an opportunity. There is usually always something to do [at] the sanctuary where we will find a fit for somebody who is wanting to volunteer.”
The message extends to those under 18 as well, as long as they have a guardian who can work alongside them. Volunteers under 18 aren’t able to participate in the sanctuary’s animal care program, but Glimps said they’ll always find a way to get young people involved in their work. Some students have spent their own time gathering acorns and pinecones for the staff to feed to wildlife, she said, while others have fulfilled volunteer hours doing things like yard work or cleaning animal carriers.
“We will always look for volunteer opportunities, regardless of people’s age,” Glimps said. “We want to foster those relationships. We don’t want to curb any enthusiasm with anybody who is young who wants to help wildlife.”
Whether it’s repairing equipment, building new enclosures or cutting the grass, Glimps says there are many different tasks ready for volunteers at the sanctuary. Some locals that were out of work due to the pandemic offered to volunteer in March and April, but their options for volunteer work were limited by the remaining snow on the property. Now is the perfect time to get people out to the sanctuary, Glimps said.
Maintenance volunteers are only working outside and don’t have access to the Aspen Valley’s facilities or full-time volunteers to ensure there isn’t an outbreak of COVID-19 at the sanctuary. Staff are also making sure that the tasks given to maintenance workers allow them to observe proper social distancing recommendations while working on the 460-acre property.
In addition to the shortage of volunteers, the pandemic has also led to a decline in revenue for the sanctuary. One of the ways they raise money is through guided tours, which are on hold due to the pandemic. About 83 per cent of their ticket sales come in the summer, so that along with a dip in donations means money is tighter than usual at the sanctuary. For those who want to support their work but don’t have the time or ability to volunteer, the sanctuary’s Wildlife In Care fund provides a way to donate money directly to the sanctuary to support their operations and their animals.
Cat enclosure under construction. Photo courtesy of Linda Glimps“It gives us the flexibility to spend the money where it’s most needed,” Glimps said. “For instance, right now, we are very busy with the intake of injured and orphaned wildlife. This is a very expensive time of year for us with their rehabilitation, and so having the funds in our general Wildlife In Care fund allows us to use that money as it’s needed.”
Sanctuary staff recognize that the pandemic is affecting businesses and families financially, Glimps said, so it’s important to remember that you can still support the sanctuary even if you’re unable to make a donation or volunteer your time.
“It doesn’t mean that you still can’t be an advocate,” she said. “It doesn’t mean that you still can’t share our Facebook posts or any of our Instagram social media postings. Get the word out that if you’re talking with your neighbour and they think that they have an injured animal and don’t know what to do, call us for advice. We’re available 365 days a year, we never close.”
Glimps said she’s always surprised to find that so many people are not aware of the sanctuary when staff attend community events. The more people that are aware of the sanctuary, the more wildlife they can help, so she hopes that the community will rally behind the sanctuary however they’re able, whether it’s volunteering, making a donation or simply spreading the word.
“Wildlife do need care,” Glimps said. “There’s more traffic on the roads, there’s more development that is happening up in this area and development disrupts wildlife…we are a community service that definitely needs to be sustained so that we can continue to do what we do.”
Visit Aspen Valley’s website to apply as a volunteer, make a donation or learn more about the sanctuary. Aspen Valley is also looking for a volunteer Facilities Program Manager – click here to learn more about the role.
Port Carling 13-year-old Cailan Punnewaert is no stranger to advocacy or fundraising, and this summer, she’s paddling 75 kilometres in support of Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary.
Last year, she raised just over $10,000 for the sanctuary by fundraising and spreading awareness at festivals and other events along with going door to door. Since those methods are on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions, Cailan decided on a kayak fundraiser as a unique way to fundraise that would also help her and her mother Debbie get more connected to nature. The two of them plan to head out on August 16 with enough supplies for a week to 10 days since they don’t know how long their trip from Huntsville to Arnold’s Bay will take.
“We wanted to be at one with wildlife and nature when we’re raising money for wildlife, so then we were thinking of how long to do it,” Cailan said. “We’re like, ‘Okay, let’s do 75 kilometres’ because that’s something that will draw people’s attention: a 13-year-old going 75 kilometres to raise money.”
They plan to camp as they go, and Debbie says they’re happy to make it a group event if anyone wants to join in on part of the paddle or even the whole trip. A few people have expressed interest in accompanying them for a portion of the adventure, so they hope to have people join in this year and in future years.
“It would be nice to see it as an annual event and it would be nice to just get more awareness out there for the sanctuary,” Debbie said. “Not just Aspen Valley, but all sanctuaries because we learned a couple years ago that they’re not government funded…there’s a lot of people when she’s out fundraising that have never heard of Aspen Valley, so just getting the word out is even helpful.”
Cailan and Debbie first had the idea for the kayak adventure last summer, so they got to planning and eventually started promoting the fundraiser in early March. They debated putting it off due to the impacts of COVID-19, but when they received the first few donations, they were inspired to continue, knowing they’d have to work harder than ever to raise the money.
“We understand it’s just not a good time to be asking for money from a lot of businesses and individuals,” Debbie said. “We may not reach our goal that we set last year, but just getting out there, getting some awareness and whatever funds we can raise, it’ll be worth it.”
They’ll be sharing moments from the adventure on social media as long as they have cell battery, Debbie said, so community members who want to contribute in ways other than monetary donations can help spread the word by sharing Cailan’s posts from the trip. Those who are able to donate will receive a tax receipt and their money will go to a fund with no fees or deductions, so all donations go directly to Aspen Valley and the wildlife in their care.
Cailan said the cause is important to her in part because animals can’t help themselves. It’s difficult for local wildlife to thrive “because every time they find a home it’s getting destroyed to build something for us,” she said. She admires the staff at Aspen Valley for their steadfast dedication to the animals in their care and wildlife in general.
“They go out of their way to take in these animals. One person actually drove like halfway to St. Louis to get an animal,” Cailan said. “They’re just always there for all these animals because they know how hard it is for them to find homes these days.”
One of the reasons Cailan works so hard to raise money and awareness for Aspen Valley is because she can’t volunteer with their animal care program until she’s 18. “It’s another way that can actually be a part of this team and it just feels awesome to be there helping animals,” she said.
While her age may keep her from working directly with the animals, it doesn’t hold her back from much. Along with her advocacy work and fundraising for the sanctuary, Cailan contributes to the community by raising money for local hospitals, participating in climate activism and doing work with organizations like YWCA Muskoka and the Alzheimer’s Society.
At only 12 years old, Cailan was nominated for YWCA Muskoka’s annual Women of Distinction Award along with receiving the Youth and Philanthropy Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). Though she lends her support to many causes, her passion and dedication to protecting wildlife make her a star volunteer for Aspen Valley.
“I’ve never seen someone that young take such initiative and be so dedicated and committed to wildlife,” said Linda Glimps, director of fundraising and volunteer management for Aspen Valley. “We’re the beneficiaries of it because she’s in the community, and so she has chosen to support Aspen Valley, but really I think what she’s an advocate for is wildlife, as are we.”
The staff is always amazed to watch Cailan spread awareness and connect with others in crowds at events, Glimps said, and she certainly has a knack for fundraising.
“What’s really important though to our organization is that we have people like Cailan who absolutely go above and beyond as advocates for wildlife and the work that we do,” Glimps said. “That’s the most important thing. Obviously she does some fundraising and that benefits our organization because we are 100 per cent donor funded, but I think she just really sets an example of how youth and youth in the community can make a difference.”
Visit Cailan’s fundraising page on Aspen Valley’s website to make a donation, and follow Cailan’s kayak adventure on her Instagram and Facebook later this summer.
Interested in supporting the kayak adventure in other ways? The Punnewaerts are looking for a lightweight canoe and other equipment to help them on their fundraising journey, so businesses and individuals that want to help sponsor the trip by providing supplies can contact Cailan via social media or email Debbie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hello Friends of Aspen Valley!
Fall is here which means we are wrapping up with our busiest time of year— orphaned animal season in the spring and summer. This year we have been successful in rehabilitating orphaned wildlife from deer fawns to raccoons to otters to foxes, and more! So far this year we have taken in over 600 animals in need and our staff and volunteers worked around the clock to give them each a fighting chance of returning to the wild one day.
Most releases have been completed by this time of year some of which included beavers, otters, black bears, grey squirrels, red squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, deer fawns, foxes, ground hogs, rabbits, turtles, mink, skunks, and porcupines. Those who are too small to be released this fall will stay with us over winter and return to the wild in the spring when homes and food are abundant.
We’ve also been busy on our permanent resident side of the sanctuary building updated enclosures and keeping everyone healthy and enriched. This Summer our sanctuary’s permanent family grew by twenty when we took in non-releasable animals that were seized from a roadside zoo. To meet some of our new residents, and hear more about our busy rehab season, keep on reading!
Thank you to our Wish-List Donors who donated through Amazon
You filled our shelves to the brim with Amazon Wishlist donations this year. Thank you!
We were able to save over $1,100 just in baby pablum for our orphaned animals, which allowed us to put money into other much-needed rehabilitation supplies at the sanctuary. Our animals (especially our orphaned raccoons) were so enriched by all of the baby rattles and washable toys you sent along as well. Your support made such a difference to us this season. We cannot thank you enough. We will continue to keep our Amazon Wishlist updated with our current needs.
Bobcat, Lynx's New Enclosure
The Gordon and Patricia Gray Animal Welfare Foundation is 100% committed to providing support for those engaged in the conservation, education, and rehabilitation of all wildlife. They are one of the few foundations that provide funding for all species of wildlife - from fish to butterflies!
We are grateful to have their support!
Thanks to Gordon and Patricia Gray the non-releasable lynx and bobcat residents are now enjoying their new natural enclosure! As residents of Aspen Valley since 2013, Jinx, Jardica, and Monty were due for an enclosure update. It’s been a pleasure to see them enriched by their new surroundings with more room to prance and play. Thank you to everyone who donated to make this possible.
Moose Calf/Deer Fawn Barn Delivered
We were in need of a new space to rehabilitate injured and orphaned moose calves and deer fawns. With the help of all of you, you donated $15,000 for a new barn designed for our rehab needs! While we had no orphaned moose calves this season, we did have six orphaned deer fawns who enjoyed their rehab in the new space before moving to their outdoor pre-release enclosure.
New Family Days brought big smiles!
In 2018 we had an overwhelming attendance on our Open House days which made it difficult for us to provide you with a great experience in seeing our permanent wildlife, providing parking, etc. This year, we changed our "open house" policy and created "Family Days" instead.
Each family is asked to pre-register to save their space; four were held through the spring and summer season. We had a great response to this new approach, so you can look out for more Family Days throughout 2020! Thanks to those of you who attended this year and made them a success.
Thanks For Reading!
Stay tuned on our Facebook and Instagram pages for more updates.
Hello, Friend of Aspen Valley!
Spring is finally here, which means our nurseries will begin to fill with many orphaned critters in need. Litters of raccoon kits, nests of baby squirrels, young porcupines, and more, all have something in common… they’ve lost their parents and they’re hungry! It is through these upcoming months that our staff and volunteers will work tirelessly to replace their mothers care and return them to the wild as strong and healthy adults. We can’t wait to see what this season has in store for us and our new, wild patients.
Want to help us stock up for “orphaned baby season”? We’re in need of donations!
Many of our orphans use Gerber’s pablum (wheat or rice cereal) as a transition tool from formula to solid foods. All fruit flavours are greatly useful! Also, non-flavoured “Pedialyte” electrolyte drink helps rehydrate animals who arrive into our care malnourished. These items will help us save lives! If you are able, please consider donating. (See our Amazon Wishlist for much more!).
Silent Auction on now!
Spring Fundraising Campaign! Online Silent Auction happening now until May 23, 2019
As a non-profit organization without government funding, we rely on donations from concerned citizens like you to make our work possible. Our spring fundraising campaign this year is an online silent auction starting April 8th and runs until May 23rd at 8:00 pm. Money raised will go directly to the rehabilitation of wildlife until their release back into the wild. To join our silent auction, visit our website’s home page during the duration of the event for a link to the auction site.
Visiting Aspen Valley - Book a tour
Our Permanent Resident Family
Not only is Aspen Valley a stepping stone for animals in need on their way back to the wild, but a permanent sanctuary for many who are un-releasable. Surrenders from zoos or private ownerships, habituated to humans, declawed or otherwise physically impeded; are of the many factors that can lead to a wild animal being unfit for release. We are open to the public by appointment only so give us a call and our staff will be glad to schedule a guided tour for you and your family and friends!
NEW Family Days - A CHANGE to our approach!
In 2018 we had an overwhelming attendance on our Open House days which made it difficult for us to provide you with a great experience in seeing our permanent wildlife, providing parking, etc. We are changing our "open house" policy and creating "Family Days" instead. Each family is asked to pre-register to save their space.
This year we will be holding Family Summer Days on May 19, June 30, August 4 and September 1.
We ask that you pre-register to book your guided tour.
Update on the Bobcat enclosure: due to long and harsh winter conditions, construction of the new natural enclosure for our non-releasable lynx and bobcat residents has been delayed.
With the hope of spring just around the corner we will be back on track soon!
A Recent Rescue .... and Release!
This past winter, a doe was spotted in Huntsville, Ontario with a wire ring stuck around her chest. A local family contacted our rescue team and with the local’s help we planned the rescue. After five attempts, the doe was finally tranquilized and with closer inspection, the wire was found to be a tomato cage, imbedding itself deeply into her skin. Once sedated she was placed on oxygen, the wire was removed, and the wounds were treated with topical ointment, pain medicine, and an injection of long-lasting
Thanks for Reading! We love catching-up with the friends who make our work possible. Drop us a line or book a tour today. And every little donation helps us to help wildlife.
We are excited to announce that the Gordon and Patricia Gray Animal Welfare Foundation has donated a total of $30 000 over 3 years towards the care of the animals at Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. Money from the grant will be put towards the upgrades that are currently in progress on our lynx and bobcat enclosures.
The Gordon and Patricia Gray Animal Welfare Foundation is 100% committed to providing support for those engaged in the conservation, education, and rehabilitation of all wildlife. They are one of the few foundations that provide funding for all species of wildlife - from fish to butterflies! We are grateful to have their support!
Above: Image of current lynx/bobcat enclosure
Below: Current progress on the new lynx/bobcat enclosure
Hello, Friend of Aspen Valley!
This past year you helped us make huge strides for injured and orphaned wildlife. You donated what you could, shared the updates we posted on Facebook, joined us on our new Instagram account, visited the sanctuary for a tour of our permanent residents, engaged with us out in the community, and so much more! Your thoughtful support has helped us take in over 750 wild animals in need in 2018.
Your support ensures that the animals will get the help that you would want them to receive. What wild animals in need will we save together this coming year?! If you’ve already made your annual donation this year, thank you and please enjoy this update!
Winter’s Number One Fans
A New Home For Our Bobcat & Lynx Residents
Our Community Offsite-Wildlife Work
Many folks know Aspen Valley for our wildlife rehabilitation work on-site at our sanctuary in Rosseau, ON. Others, though, have met us through our community work, where we help wildlife that doesn't necessarily need to come to the sanctuary for care.
Some of these instances include:
Thanks for Reading!
We love catching-up with the friends who make our work possible! Thank you again for an incredible 2018. We look forward to your on-going support in 2019, and beyond! It’s going to be another great year of expansion and saving wildlife!
P.S. Our “Banff Bear Cubs” have gone into hibernation in the beautiful Banff wild. We’re wishing them a warm and cozy sleep!
Still a mystery how the 3 cubs got trapped in the outhouse
By Tricia Lo, CBC News
Three baby bears found trapped in a Banff washroom are packing on the pounds and adjusting well in their temporary Ontario home, says one of the people overseeing their rehabilitation.
The cubs have roughly tripled in weight from six to 18 kilograms since their April arrival at the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, north of Toronto.
Sara Locke, who's worked with the bears from the beginning, says they spend their days eating fruit, digging for peanuts and playing in their enclosure pool.
"They're just loving swimming," Locke said. "I can hardly keep up with dry straw in their enclosure, because they just run around soaking all the time.
"They're doing really well."
The cubs were roughly three months old when were discovered by a motorist who stopped to use a public bathroom while travelling along the Trans-Canada Highway on April 1.
Minimizing bear-human contactLocke said her organization communicates closely with Parks Canada about the bears' status. Parks Canada has even been sending plants that are native to Alberta so the bears can eat them.
"The hope is that the plants from [Banff] that are being flown in, they'll recognize them when they get back to [Banff] as that being their food source," Locke said.
Because the plan is to reintroduce the bears to Banff National Park next spring, staff and volunteers have taken extra care to minimize their interactions with the cubs so that they do not become habituated to human contact.
"When we were handling them when they were younger, we would wear a poncho that smelled like one of our other bears," Locke said.
Staff and volunteers see the bears just twice a day to give them food and clean their enclosure, and they're always careful to wear a mask when around the cubs, Locke said.
Upsizing their living quartersThe three bears will move to a new outdoor enclosure by the end of the month, which is larger than their current living space and has trees for the cubs to climb.
The plan is for them to spend the winter there in hibernation, before they're driven back to Banff.
The bears had to be temporarily transported out of province because Alberta effectively outlawed the rehabilitation of bears about six years ago, citing concerns over public safety and how the animals fare in the wild once they've become habituated to humans.
Alberta wildlife refuges are forbidden from taking bears and releasing them back into the wild without special permission from the provincial government.
Over the past month, Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary has admitted 6 bears for to our facility for care. Bears have been getting injured on roadways while they are seeking food.
This summer was very dry and food for the bears this year is scarce. This means bears are travelling more than usual in search of food to help them get through the winter.
Please be conscious of putting away any food sources that bears may be interested in and keep your barbecues and other attractants clean.
Thank you to CTV Barrie for coming out and helping us spread the word!
Watch the CTV Barrie post here
“Muskoka’s shimmering blue waters, it’s majestic green pines, it’s spectacular scenery all await your discovery aboard the Sunset Cruises’ Peerless II. A whole new discovery.”- Sunset Cruises
July 29th from 3:30-5:30 pm we will be touring Lake Rosseau aboard one of the historic Sunset Cruise ships. Live commentary aboard the boat will share the history of famous lake Rosseau as well as that of the Peerless II ship.
Boarding will begin at 3:15 at the dock in Rosseau – so please arrive early. Tickets are $80.00. There will be hors d’oeuvres served aboard the ship, a cash bar, and a silent auction.
All proceeds go to help support the care of Muskoka’s orphaned and injured wildlife at the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Rosseau Ontario.
*A tax-recept will be issued for the value of $40.00 on all tickets sold.
Tickets can be purchased by calling our office at: 705-732-6368
Our summer students Amanda and Sarah will also be at the Huntsville Place Mall this weekend for the cottage show. Please stop in to say hello! They will be there Friday (July 15th) and Saturday (July 16th). They’ll be selling merchandise, booking tours, selling tickets for our upcoming cruise, have a game with prizes for children, and will be accepting donations of linens and monetary donations for the animals being cared for here at the Sanctuary!
Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary:
1116 Crawford Street