Students spend spring break with the big cats

Students from the University of North Texas were among those who volunteered during the spring break here at Turpentine Creek!

Students from the University of North Texas were among those who volunteered during the spring break here at Turpentine Creek!

Last week two groups of college students donated their spring break to volunteering at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge as part of their universities’ Alternative Spring Break programs.

“An alternative break is a trip where a group of college students engage in volunteer service, instead of the regular week at the beach or whatever,” says Turpentine Creek Volunteer Coordinator Ivy Cooper. “This year we had students here from both the University of Texas at Dallas and the University of North Texas. We got a lot done.”

Alternative breaks, became more prevalent on college campuses in the 1980s and early 1990s as part of an overall surge of interest in institutionalizing community service on college campuses. Rather than travel to a traditional spring break location, groups of students came together to form a new community that was immersed in education on social issues, service work, and reflection.

In addition to cleaning up the mile of highway along the front of the Turpentine Creek property, the volunteers from Texas did a major clean up of Bam Bam the grizzly’s habitat and completely tore down one of the TCWR’s older habitats so it can be rebuilt and renovated.

“Everyone enjoyed themselves, although a few did say this was the hardest physical labor they’d ever done!” Cooper says. “I guess I put ‘em to work. They sure did make a difference though.”

Turpentine Creek offers volunteering opportunities all year round. Anyone interested in finding out more should contact ivy@www.turpentinecreek.org or call (479) 253-5958.