Wildlife sanctuary seeks help to win cash contest
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer | December 8, 2014
With stiff competition from across Canada entering the Aviva Community Fund contest, one local charity is looking to the community for their support to advance to the finals.
"We really need the support on this one," said Monika Melichar, president of Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS).
Located on 45 acres in Minden since 2008, WWS rehabilitates and releases a variety of orphaned and injured wildlife in the Haliburton Highlands. The volunteer-based organization takes in about 400 animals per year, according to Melichar, some of which are species at risk.
"We accept most species of wildlife," she said. "The only ones we do not do are the larger ones, like bears or moose. We don't have the facilities for those."
By signing up for the challenge, Melichar hopes to receive upwards of $45,000 in funding to erect a new nursery and intensive care unit for these animals. The building would be insulated and heated, "and large enough to accommodate [the] ever-growing intake of animals that need delicate care in a stable environment."
The competition started with 500 organizations from across the country vying for a spot in the semi-finals, she explained. WWS was one of the 140 groups voted in to the second stage of the competition, and is now in the race for the finals.
A panel of judges will score each of the 40 finalists' ideas based on a set of criteria including impact, likelihood of success, longevity and sustainability, originality, submission quality, votes, and category leadership.
Each finalist is guaranteed to receive $5,000. Up to $100,000 will be awarded for the broker supported grand prize.
If WWS is successful in the contest, it won't be their first time winning some funding through a public voting competition. In 2013, the sanctuary received a $25,000 grant from the Shell FuellingChange program to build a six-acre deer enclosure. Last year they received the same amount in the contest to install a fenced waterfowl pond.
To vote for the sanctuary's project, visit avivacommunityfund.org/ideas/acf19947. Each registered user can vote up to 15 times, but only vote for each idea once a day.
The voting period closes Dec. 10.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.