by Morgan Bongard
Each fall, the annual Walk for Wildlife fundraiser helps Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary care for more than 4,500 abandoned or injured animals that are brought to the facility annually. Their goal is to provide care for the ever-growing numbers that the sanctuary receives, which rises about 33 percent each year. In order to accomplish that mission, the sanctuary needs help in providing care for these many animals in need.
The sanctuary’s first walk was held in 2006, included the participation of about 100 walkers. That year, the sanctuary had eight different animal stations for the walkers to visit and the skunk served as the event’s official mascot. Since then, the walk has grown by leaps and bounds. In 2013, there were more than 500 registered walkers that raised a combined total of $10,000. So too, has the list of mascots grown with the hawk, a cougar, owls, eagles, turtles, a porcupine, and the ever-popular wolves all taking a turn.
The wildlife walk has steadily drawn an impressive crowd over the past eight years, with more than $40,000 raised since its inception, which has, in turn, helped 34,658 animals that were admitted to the sanctuary.
This fundraiser would not be possible without a dedicated staff of more than 50 volunteers, along with numerous local business sponsors donating great raffle prizes.
On September 20, 2014 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., walkers are invited to enjoy the fall weather while on the 2.5 miles of scenic trails, as well as enjoying the many live animal and bug stations that are found throughout the walk. They include many of the sanctuary’s animal ambassadors, along with numerous artifacts, and educational information about many different kinds of local wildlife. Naturalist Jody Sperduto encourages families to take part in this annual tradition, “You should participate in the Walk for Wildlife because it is an opportunity for all ages and all abilities to get outdoors and move, enjoy the fresh air and the beauty of our trails. It is not a competitive walk or race at all. People can walk at their own pace and have the opportunity to stop at the 10 stations along the way to meet some of our live animal ambassadors, ask questions, and learn about them from our volunteers. Money raised by this event goes to help the over 5,000 orphaned and injured wild animals in need of help to become wild again.”
All participants are invited to enjoy refreshments before and after the walk.
Registration is now open for adults and children, with children ages five and under admitted free of charge. All pledges and donations earned will go to RPAWS to help orphaned and injured wild animals.
When: Saturday, September 20, 2014 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, Green Bay
Register in person at the sanctuary, located at 1660 East Shore Drive, Green Bay, or online by visiting baybeachwildlife.com.
To get in the spirit of this fun family event, the sanctuary is posting a daily Facebook countdown Fun Fact until the walk date!
Freedom Update: In our July issue, SCENE covered the remarkable story of Freedom, a juvenile bald eagle that was rescued in Crivitz, Wisconsin, with an extensive wing injury. At that time, he had just completed a successful surgery to repair a wing broken in three places, and was in the early stages of recovery. We had a chance to speak with Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, and Freedom is still making progress. He is eating well, and is continuing with his rehab and recovery. No release date has been scheduled as of this printing.
As Freedom’s medical bills are rising, the sanctuary is grateful for any monetary donations that contribute to his care and healing. Please send your donation to: Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, 1660 East Shore Drive, Green Bay, Wisconsin, 54302, Attn: Freedom the Eagle.