The Education Program at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge (TCWR) is dedicated to helping visitors discover how they can help protect exotic animals and have a memorable experience while visiting the Refuge. When you visit TCWR, you are helping the animals in many different ways. Whether you are going on a Guided Tour, participating in the Education Program, or making a purchase in the Gift Shop; you are helping us help them. It is through education that we can help spread awareness about the struggles animals face due to the exotic pet trade and how everyone can be their voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Ways that you can help us help them:
- Say no to cub petting and tell everyone you know what actually happens to the cubs at petting facilities.
- Avoid going to magic shows, circuses, etc. that use animals in their performances. These animals are being exploited and being forced to perform for entertainment. Too often they are kept in small cages, whipped to behave, declawed, etc.
- Say no to taking a “selfie” with wild animals. Often these animals are drugged so people can get close to them.
- Never purchase an exotic animal as a pet. If someone got hurt, the animal suffers the consequence. Remember: Predators not pets!
- Research facilities before you go. There are a number of pseudo-sanctuaries exploiting their animals for pay-to-play schemes. True sanctuaries never breed, sell, trade, or offer hands-on opportunities.
- Help by donating enrichment items such as boxes, spices, perfumes, pumpkins, and Christmas trees. All of these items are given to the animals for enrichment and they love them. Enrichment helps keep the animals physically and mentally active.
- Donating to help the Refuge helps tremendously. Being non-profit everything goes to help with habitats, food, and enrichment. All donations are greatly appreciated and needed.
- Volunteer your time by helping with various projects. No volunteer works with the animals, but every project at the Refuge helps the animals in some way.
- Go to our Advocacy tab and help spread the word about the HR 1818 (Big Cat Safety Public Act). This bill will help make it illegal to buy, sell, trade, transport across state lines without permits, privately own, breed, or allow public hands-on interaction with big cats.
- Adopt or sponsor an animal helps with funding to care for the animals that call Turpentine Creek home.
Children are the future in the fight to ensure that wild animals do not continue being pets, and therefore they can help too! If children discover at an early age how important it is to protect and conserve species, the animals have a better chance of survival in the future. We have a variety of ways that kids can get involved and help:
- Become a member of the Cub Club. Children that become Cub Club members are helping support our animals and can come to visit the animals at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge as often as they want during their membership year.
- Help donate enrichment for the animals; from boxes, paper towel tubes, bringing their pumpkins in the fall, to helping box up old spices from the kitchen – enrichment is always a big help!
- Tell their friends that keeping wild animals as pets is not a good idea and it is very dangerous both for people and the animal.
- Participate in special programming and day camps that help support the Refuge and allow them to gain a deeper and more personal understanding of the mission of TCWR.
School groups also give TCWR the opportunity to reach a large number of children, so that they can discover how to be the voice for those who cannot speak too!
Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is dedicated to teaching the importance of environmental conservation for all wildlife species. Simple tasks of reducing, reusing, and recycling play a huge role in protecting our environment. The list below offers some examples of how each and every person can help all wildlife species whether in North America or in other parts of the world.
- Say no to using plastic bags – instead, bring a reusable shopping bag. Sadly, plastic bags make their way out into nature. They are very dangerous to all animals, from the sea turtles who eat them to animals getting them on their heads.
- Say no to using a straw – instead, drink straight out of the cup. Approximately 500 million straws are used a day in the US. That is enough to wrap the world 2.5 times! These are single-use plastic straws that end up as dangerous litter on land and in water.
- Bringing a reusable water bottle instead of plastic bottles. The production of bottles to meet America’s demand for bottled water requires more than 17 million barrels of oil annually. That is approximately enough for 1.3 million cars in a year.
- Purchasing products that do not have palm oil in them, or purchase products from companies that use sustainable palm oil practices. Millions of acres of rainforest in Borneo and Sumatra are cut down and burned each year to produce palm oil. These rainforests are homes to a wide variety of endangered and critically endangered species. There are companies that are using sustainable practices for their palm oil uses now. You can download the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Palm Oil app which will help you identify products made by these sustainable companies.
These are just a few ways that everyone can help to protect and conserve all wildlife species both near and far. We encourage everyone to be the voice for those impacted by the exotic pet trade all over the world.
When planning your visit to Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, remember to check out our education calendar of programs and activities and discover what you can explore while visiting.