Animal Park board gets ready for new season

The Therapeutic Animal Park board held their very first annual general meeting on Wednesday evening, and set in place the details for a new season this spring and summer, including acclaiming the board of directors to a new two-year term.

The park’s AGM was held in the community room at the Weyburn Credit Union.

article continues below

As part of the meeting, the park’s founder and former manager, Don Sealy, presented two donations to the park, including $2,000 from Crescent Point Energy, and $1,500 from McGillicky Oilfield Services.

The donation from Crescent Point came about as employee Mike Chuckry nominated the animal park as one of the local non-profit organizations eligible for additional funding, which then went to a vote by Crescent Point employees. The employees voted in favour of giving the park a $2,000 grant.

President Sara Lawrence told the AGM that the Therapeutic Animal Park has transitioned to the volunteer board of directors, and is now a registered charity under the Canada Revenue Agency, so they can now issue tax receipts for donations.

The directors have been working to make sure they have enough volunteers in place to help out with the chores and cleanup times, and the spring cleanup will likely take place in May, “so we have lots to do in the next couple of months,” said Lawrence.

The board’s animal manager, Sarah Richaud, said they are in the process of drawing up lease agreements with the animal owners for the coming summer season, so that the owners know what the park board expects, and vice versa.

The volunteer manager, Rhiannon Benjamin, said her main role is to schedule in the volunteers who have signed up, and to ensure they make their scheduled appearance for doing chores at the animal park during the season.

“We actually had to turn some people away last year,” she said, adding that having a Facebook page for volunteers helped out a lot in getting people lined up to volunteer.

“I was pretty blown away with the amount of people who wanted to take part in helping at the park. That made it really nice,” said Benjamin.

In introducing her vice-president Melanie Ror, Lawrence said in large part the volunteer board of directors existed because of Melanie’s work to get it established, and her talks with Don as he was looking to retire from running the park.

“Don and I had some conversations about what we should do, and how we needed volunteers to run the park for 2018 and to create a board,” said Ror. “As vice-president, I ensured the lease agreements were adhered to, and people keep up with their volunteer times.”

Among the plans for the coming year is to do a kickoff to the season with a barbecue, on a date to be set once the ground has dried up, said Lawrence, adding they would like to maybe add some structures.

The other members of the board includes social media manager Vince Sheldon, Angie Braat and Cassidy Warken.