Winter will be a cold one at Medicine River Wildlife Centre unless the public and corporate sponsors come forward with money for its renovation and expansion.
The original PVC piped used in the facility’s in-floor slab heating is breaking down and putting in a new heating system is a priority for the centre.
“As of last spring, we estimated about 50 per cent of the floor was still warm. It just continues to get less each year. When we fire up the boiler, we’ll find out what’s left,” said executive director Carol Kelly on Wednesday.
The environmental education centre and wildlife hospital dedicated to assisting injured and orphaned wild animals and birds to return to their natural environment is trying to raise $500,000 to renovate the existing wildlife hospital, add a new hospital wing, and upgrade and expand the public area.
The total cost of the project is $2.4 million. The wildlife centre is applying for $1 million in federal and provincial grants that require matching funds from the community.
Up to now, only framing has been completed on a 2,000-square-foot addition to the public wing to create more space for education rooms, the lecture theatre, gift shop, snack area, staff room and new bathrooms.
“There isn’t a day that goes by when there’s someone on the other end of the phone that says thank goodness you’re here,” Kelly said.
Now is their chance to help the centre, built in 1990, with a donation, she said.
The centre is kicking off its social media fundraising campaign at Bower Place Shopping Centre on Sept. 29 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Otis the owl will be in attendance to “autograph” copies of wildlife centre’s new children’s book about how he came to be at the centre.
“A lot of kids know Otis from school program. It will be an awesome Christmas gift.”
Written by the wild life centre’s education co-ordinator Erin Young and illustrated by local artist Gabe Wong, Otis’s Story will be available for $15 each.
The centre’s 2013 calendar and raffle ticket will also be on sale for $20 each. A maximum of 2,000 will be sold. This year’s prize is a Great White Shark Adventure in a cage off the coast of San Francisco.
For more information, go to www.medicineriverwildlifecentre.ca or call 403-728-3467.