Our Dream:Many years ago, it was our founders dream to see our organization reach more people than ever before about the myths surrounding American Black Bears. To do so, they envisioned a platform in which the public could visit and watch bears being bears in their natural habitat. This would allow people to see the bears for who they really are; gentle giants! They also envisioned a passionate team that led educational talks and answered questions that helped promote understanding for black bears. As our founders got older, they began to hope for a team that they could ‘pass the baton’ off to. A team that would dedicate their lives to the bears as they had done so themselves. A team that they could trust that would put the bears first. In building such a team and growing a business, it is not just important to take care of the bears but it is just as important to take care of the team that dedicate their lives to caring for them and being an advocate on their behalf as they cannot speak for themselves. We believe that we are so fortunate to have found such a team that will ensure Vince’s legacy continues. This team may be small, but they are mighty and love the bears more than anything! We want this team to stay for thirty years as our founders did and we want to take the best care of them so they can continue to take the best care of the bears that call the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary home.
With that being said, the living situation on sanctuary grounds desperately needs upgrading! Currently, staff live on site in cabins from May- October. These cabins do not have running water, electricity or a bathroom. While the cabins do have heat, the cabins are not winterized and are not insulated and therefore they do not stay warm enough, especially when there is a deep freeze and snowstorm mid-October! The cabins do not have air conditioning, nor are fans possible since we do not have electricity. Typically in mid- July, these cabins can heat to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. There is a shared porta-john on site, but by mid- October, these get frosty! There is also ONE shower that all staff, interns and volunteers share, which is located a mile from the cabins. Since it is a shared space and hot water is limited, most of the team only shower 1-2 times a week. You can imagine how uncomfortable that can be during the heat of the summer when the team is putting in 10-14 hour days, working directly in the sun. The team has a small, shared kitchen that on any given time can have 25 staff members, interns and volunteers. This kitchen was not built to accommodate that many people at one time.
How can YOU help? It is our dream to provide our team with a facility that has running water for showers, a bathroom and a laundry facility. Next, we would like to build a new kitchen. Finally, we would like to build new housing for our dedicated staff. This is going to be a HUGE project! A project that we do not expect to complete right away. Since it is such a big project to take on, we plan on doing things in phases. We have reached our goal for the very first step to make this BIG dream happen, which was to raise $25,000 for a septic system on grounds. Plans are now underway to begin this process as soon as the ground thaws. Our next goal is to raise funds to start the construction of a shower and laundry facility.
Your generous donation to The American Bear Association will ensure that we can continue to promote peaceful coexistence through education and provide a safe place for adult bears and their cubs.
The American Bear Association is a 501(C)3 non-profit. We are funded solely by private donations and we do not receive any state or federal funding.