Every visitor to this local charity will be greeted by an array of friendly animals and smiling humans. The smell of pine trees and hay help contribute to the instant feeling of “home,” although the alpaca’s definitely are an unfamiliar and intriguing sight.
The Constance Creek Wildlife Refuge in Dunrobin, just 30 minutes from Ottawa, has been a haven for animals in need for the past five years. During the winter season, the CCWR serves as a sanctuary for unwanted and abandoned pets and farm animals. But as soon as spring comes, the wildlife rescue centre opens and starts taking in injured or orphaned baby mammals, such as fawns, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons and porcupines.
Students who are looking for a unique experience, a way to give back to the community and spend their time in an effective and rewarding environment will find what they are looking for at this registered animal charity.
“Once springtime comes and the wildlife centre opens, we start to get really busy,” says Lynne Rowe, founder of the Constance Creek Wildlife Refuge. “We definitely are in need of volunteers, for numerous tasks, whether they want to be involved with the animals or more administrative work such as event management and fundraising.”
You don’t have to be an environmentalist, veterinary technician or experienced volunteer to get involved with these furry companions. You simply have to be an animal lover.
Glue found out four ways to get involved in helping local wildlife at the CCWR.
- Donating is possible, even when on a student budget
Donating a small amount of money every month, will make a recognizable difference, according to Rowe.
“If we get more people who donate five or ten dollars a month, and if we get 50 people to do that, we’ll have a base amount of money to work with every month,” she says. “It helps us to be a much more stable organization.”
If you can’t spare the money, there are also plenty of items that the center needs regularly.
“It is also so helpful to receive items on our wish list,” Rowe says. “These are items that are relatively cheap or that stay in closets unused, but that are important to our everyday care of these animals. We accept clean linens, blankets, towels, pet food bowls, garbage bags and even Canadian Tire money. Anything you can give us will go to good use.”
- Volunteer for and work alongside very friendly animals
Rowe says volunteers will get to interact with the animals on a daily basis. This includes a very friendly animal family of alpacas, pot-bellied pigs, horses, donkeys and a lot of goats.
“I learn new things as I take in new animals,” she says. “I learn more about each individual animal; about their personality, their habits, their biology. I do a lot of research and I find it so interesting. Volunteers will get to experience this firsthand.”
She needs help from people who enjoy being around animals and are willing to do some strange and sometimes difficult jobs. Helping to shear the alpacas and angora goats is one of their more unusual tasks.
“If they want to be involved with animals, they can choose from a variety of chores such as grooming farm animals, barn cleaning, building animal enclosures and fences, and shearing,” she says.
They also accept interns who are looking to gain some hands-on experience with animals or charities, and are currently trying to find grant money to provide a financial incentive, according to Rowe.
This is an opportunity to “own” a farm or wildlife animal, while still living within the city. The CCWR guarantees a safe and healthy environment for all animals and by sponsoring one of them, it lifts some of the financial burden of their ongoing care.
“For a small sum of money, per month for a term of one year, anyone can sponsor an animal of their choosing,” says Rowe. “They can visit their animal, get to know them and have the reward of knowing they are a big influence in this animal’s life and well-being.”
- Be a part of fundraising or event planning
“I spend so much time caring for the animals and working my other job in the city that it gets difficult to find time to fundraise,” says Rowe. “But of course, that is one of the most important tasks because we are a charity that doesn’t receive any funding by the government, only from donations and grants.”
Rowe says she is hoping to find some volunteers with event management and fundraising experience to help keep the Constance Creek Wildlife Refuge going.
It costs her around $700 a month to operate the farm animal sanctuary and says the wildlife refuge centre easily adds a few hundred dollars to the bill.