Thursday, March 17, 2011

We are all sharing what has impacted us most on this Destination trip....

For being the trip leader for me what has impacted me most is seeing the group come together as a spectacular group and getting through anything. We went from not knowing each other well to being able to work together and bond like we had known each other for years! I am so proud of what our group has accomplished with ourselves and breaking out of shells as well as all the great work we have done in this past week for Carolina Tiger Rescue!  -Jennifer Anderson (Trip Leader)

I think what impacted me the most was the actual amount of work we got done as a group and how we helped the sanctuary save so much time for their workers. When we first showed up I was like wow this is going to take forever. I was referring to the amount of brush we needed to clear. After the first three hours we had cleared an entire side and corner of the brush we were supposed to clear. As the days went on it was amazing to watch our work unfold. Areas full of brush and previously cleared brush were being hauled away by the truck loads. When we got back the employees said we took care of two weeks of work for them within a few hours. It just goes to show you what a small group of people with big hears can accomplish in one week. It's a great feeling knowing that you helped a cause that you feel so strongly for and that you as an individual CAN make a difference. - Matt Karst

Many things have impacted my life while being at the Carolina Tiger Rescue Center. I think the one thing that impacted me the most was how well our team worked together. During our trip we spent countless hours cleaning brush so that vehicles could check the entire site over securely. Everyone in our group was more than willing to lend an extra hand if needed. If someone needed help cutting a tree down, carrying brush up to the trucks, or helping to open and close the gates, someone always rose to the occasion. After each day, it was such a great feeling to see all that we accomplished. Just our help saved the Carolina Rescue Center over eighty hours a day and now the workers can spend that time improving the lives of the animals. Just to see the employees smile afterwords and thank us for all our help was an awesome feeling. Even though this trip was only one week long, this trip, the people, and the animals have all impacted my life. - Jacob Thunander

I have to admit that choosing the one thing that impacted me the most is nearly impossible, because every part of this trip has made an impression on me. Coming into this I wasn't sure what to expect, but after a 20 hour car drive and spending nearly every moment of every day with the same group of 9 other people, I can honestly saw that i feel like I've gained 9 friends. Our entire group radiated with positive energy, even while working in the hot sun and thorns, which made working outside an adventure. The staff and volunteers at the Carolina Tiger Rescue were an amazing group to work with. Dan, Chris, Evan, and Jason, all contributed to the group dynamic and made the manual labor fun. The people there made me realize that speedy is not the only option, and doing something fast may not be the best way to go about something. It was great to realize that a task we completed in a day saved the staff weeks of hard labor. The final thing that really impacted me was seeing the animals there. It was crazy to be working in the woods and hearing the tigers and lions in the distance vocalizing to each other and the keepers. Realizing what powerful animals these big cats really are is amazing.  ~Grace Vasilis

Working at the Carolina Tiger Reserve this week, the most impactful moments were seeing how the tigers behaved. When we had approached one of the enclosures, it was quite apparent that the tiger inside was rather dangerous- one of the workers had to warn us that he would charge, and pointed to  a pole that had been about 8 feet into concrete and the tiger had almost gotten it out of the ground. This really reminded me of the nature of the animal, that even though the tigers have had contact with humans, they are just as dangerous. This also demonstrated the danger of living with exotic animals and reinforces the concept of needing to educate people about the difference between animal welfare and animal rights.  ~Andrew Sisulak

What has impacted me the most is how much the volunteers and staff members of the Carolina Tiger Rescue do to help provide these animals with a safe, healthy, and happy life, and they do it for little to no pay. I would really like to continue to volunteer my time to help out other reserves in my area, as well as come back to Pittsboro to help out again at the Tiger Rescue. This trip has also encouraged me to think and consider even more about going back to school to be a vet technician after I complete my art degree this semester. I've made many new friends thanks to this trip that have impacted me in a very positive way. I look forward to remaining in contact with them as well as continuing to volunteer my time to help those that are in need. ~Brandy J Nellessen

Going on this trip has impacted me a lot. I feel more aware of what the Carolina Tiger Rescue does for these animals who were in trouble. It has made me want to help animals in general whether its volunteering at a shelter/humane society or adopting for myself. Even though we only cleared brush it has helped the reserve in many ways putting more time towards the animals. I am defiantly taking what I got from this and putting it to use in the near future. ~ Rachel Pierson

On this trip, I have really learned the value of working in numbers. We had 24 volunteers working at the Carolina Tiger Rescue this week, and it feels so good to think about how much we've done! All of us working together saved Dan, Evan, and Chris months of work. We had our fair share of frustration this week, but it seemed minuscule while laughing it up with everyone else. We have grown so close throughout this week, and I feel like I have made some really close friendships that I'll keep for a very long time. I'm so glad that I've been a part of this once in a lifetime experience! ~ Elizabeth Tacke

Before this trip, I valued independent work and thought group work was unproductive. However, throughout the duration of this trip I learned that a group of committed and dedicated individuals can get an extreme amount of work done in very little time. As we volunteered at the Carolina Tiger Rescue, we were told repeatedly of how much time we were saving the workers. I also learned that is it imperative for every community to have individuals caring enough to donate their time and energy. Volunteering can seem useless at times when tedious tasks become repetitive, but the truth is that the small remedial tasks are the pieces  of the puzzle called change. It is true that one person can make a difference, even if that person doesn't realize it. I will also say that volunteering this past week has been so much fun! I have bonded with individuals I never thought I would. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to learn how important volunteering is to all communities. ~Jacklynn Van Asch

While I have been around other non-profit organizations, it never ceases to amaze me how much good can be achieved with so very little. Carolina Tiger Rescue's annual cash budget is just over $450,000. Their monthly expenses tally almost $42,000. The outward appearance of this facility is less than stellar but the work they do with what they have is inspiring. After the first day I was rather depressed that I could not do more for such a great organization- I wish I had a decent but old truck to donate, I wish I lived closer so I could habitually spend time helping Dan and the other guys around the compound...but I don't. I do find inspiration in the aid we were able to provide with a mere five days on site. Knowing we saved Dan, Evan, and Chris weeks' worth of work, helps place everything into perspective. Attending this trip and working side by side with this group of people has motivated me to continue the work upon returning to campus. While there are very few large animal or wild and exotic sanctuaries in our area, there is a strong need to assist the large population of unwanted house cats, dogs, and other small animals. ~ Melissa Fitzenberger (Trip Advisor)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

1 stick, 2 stick, 3 stick, 4

So far on our Destination Trip we have had the opportunity to get to know some new and interesting people not only from our own school but some of the workers/volunteers at the reserve.

We had a few meetings before the actual trip, but our 22 hour car ride has almost made us experts about each other. Living together as well as working together has also helped us get to know one another's work ethics and individual skills.

Spending 8 hour days at the Carolina Tiger Rescue has helped us get very close to the workers as well as regular volunteers. Our supervisors have even given us nicknames such as "Barbie", "Hulk", "The Other Guy", "Smiley","Bill Nye", and "Espanola." Not forgetting our trip leader and trip supervisor, they were given the names "Mom" and "Grandma." Can you guess who is who?!?

Overall the actual work experience we've had has made us feel very helpful and accomplished. The amount of work we completed in one afternoon saved the staff and regular volunteers 2 weeks of work, and they are very impressed with our hard work and dedication. The staff and volunteers we have primarily worked with (Dan, Evan, and Chris), have been very entertaining and fun to work with.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pictures from requests...

Here are some pictures of some of the animals that people may not have heard of. The first one here is a binturong and the second one is a kinkajou :) More pictures available at and we will be posting more after our more in depth tour!

One Match

We have met some very interesting individuals so far. The head of maintenance, Dan, has been extremely pleasant to work with. He keeps the group laughing at all times. Dan is the one responsible for keeping other employees' spirits up. The volunteer coordinator, Scott, asked Dan for a lamp over his desk. Dan replied to the request by nailing an entire desk with a lamp, book, and chair to the ceiling. If your wondering, the light works wonderfully! He is also very resourceful when we went to set the brush pile on fire he got it started with a single match.

Dan's son Evan was our task supervisor yesterday. He was quite the character. Like Dan, he had a great sense of humor that kept us laughing all day. Evan has been around Carolina Tiger Rescue since he was a young child. He did a great job keeping everyone motivated during the work day. He also serenaded us with unique genre of music. His dancing abilities were also quite entertaining.

Chris is a long term volunteer at Carolina Tiger Rescue. He was our task supervisor today. Chris is a hard working individual with the ability to facilitate tasks well. He incorporated humor in the work day by assigning silly nicknames to most of the volunteers.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 1 at Carolina Tiger Rescue

The organization we are volunteering with is the Carolina Tiger Rescue in Pittsboro, North Carolina. We started off by learning more about the Carolina Tiger Rescue's purpose and functions. It is home to over 70 endangered or threatened animals such as tigers, lions, servals, binturongs, and kinkajous. The reason these animals are at the rescue is because they are no longer able to be rehabilitated and returned to the wild. There are no laws in North Carolina prohibiting owning any exotic animal, though they cannot own a native species like a chipmunk or raccoon.

Carolina Tiger Rescue runs solely on donations and volunteers along with the 12 staff members. Some of the ways that the public can help are by "adopting" an animal- you send in money once a year to help with the needs of the animal, donating money or supplies, or by volunteering time- this can be as little as 3 hours on a weekend, or up to a week on your spring break.

Our job for today was to clear some brush away from the perimeter fences so that the staff can get through on their rounds. It was a good task to do on one of our first days because it got us to work as a team. We found that if one person pulled on the brush, another person could cut them loose easier. One challenge that we faced was that the old trucks had a hard time with the landscape and needed to be pushed to get them up the hills. Teamwork also played a part in this, we needed at least 5 people to push the vehicles out.

Overall today was a good day and went by very fast. We can't wait to see what else is in store for us tomorrow, as well as the rest of the week.

Friday, March 11, 2011

What are we getting ourselves into?! :)

So with only 7 hours till we head out for a fantastic week of service done by the Animal Welfare- Destination 2011 trip! For the week of March 14-18th there will be nine college students and one adviser volunteering at The Carolina Tiger Rescue Center in Pittsboro, NC. We are wanting to share our experience with everyone who wants to know with our blog! We will be sharing about the facility that we are volunteering, the people that are impacting our time here, telling you what exactly we will be doing on a daily basis, and then giving all of our individual experiences.

For preparation of our trip we have talked about the different laws that are in effect in the different states about owning exotic animals. We will be volunteering with a tiger rescue that has animals that were once owned by the general public and got too hard to take care of. Some of the group was able to visit The Wildlife Science Center in Forest Lake and see animals in captivity. Its different when you go to the zoo and just look at all the animals and when you go to a center and get a tour and see what it is really like for the animals as well as the volunteers that are taking care of the animals. We are still in the process of learning more about the difference of animal welfare and animal rights and this trip will help to explain the differences.

We are all hopeful to learn more about the animals that are at the facilities, as well as why they are at the facility. We are so grateful that we will be able to help the facility out by helping with maintenance. Our group is very different with the same passion of animals. There are some of us that this can be our first time leaving the area and going out to help another community for the first time... in our group we have fears of being away from home, not getting a full experience, or just not being able to fully help the facility that we will be volunteering with. We all have great hopes, optimism and are going in with open hearts and minds and all ready to DO WORK!