Thank You to Donors of Cash, Services and Goods 2004-2008
Wall Goes Up / Fears Go Down
February 2008: The first 938 feet of the 10 foot high perimeter wall we are building is now up around 3 of our 45 acres. Thanks to the rather amazing prefabricated column and panel system provided by Duratek Precast Technologies the actual construction only too two weeks (see photos). But the process took years. Fundraising for this project, called the Catter-Wall, started in December of 2003 one foot at a time.
In addition to the fundraising this long process included obtaining a zoning variance with the help of Kristin Tolbert & Keith Bricklemyer of the law firm Bricklemyer Smolker & Bolves, P.A. and Robyn Cole and Kevin Mineer of the engineering firm Genesis Group and thankfully with the ultimate support of our County Commission. Then came the process of assessing various ways to build the wall and selecting Duratek. Finally the permitting process took many months of diligent effort from Robyn from Genesis and Christine from Duratek. Throughout the process, from initial design decisions to final construction, all of the people we dealt with at Duratek, George, Christine, Forrest, Tio, and the project manager Scott, were wonderful to work with.
You may remember that last Christmas some kids shot paint balls at our leopards from over the fence and that launched us into high gear to get this impervious 10 foot wall underway. Thanks to the nearly 300 wonderful donors listed below, we have raised $136,000.00 over the past four years and have now been able to build this first phase at a cost of $104,000.
PDF of Big Cat Rescue Expansion as published by McGraw Hill Construction Network
At the very bottom of this page is a slide show of the front gate that we installed from the first funds donated to the Catter-Wall project. Thanks to Cy and Joanne Spurlino, who donated $16,000.00 to this project, the same style gate is being installed at the entrance flanked by the new 10 foot high concrete wall. Coming or going, you can’t help but be impressed by the security and the ambiance.
The first 938 feet are done, but we have 6000 feet more to go. You can help by making a tax deductible donation today and have your name memorialized on the new Catter-Wall. A donation of $100.00 sponsors 1 linear foot of the wall. If you make your donation before Feb. 29, 2008 you can have the Birdies for Charities match it with an additional 15% by donating through their program to Big Cat Rescue HERE
The story ran again in the Tribune on 2/12/2008 in the Metro Section:
The Tampa Tribune
Published: February 12, 2008
Updated: 11:23 pm
CITRUS PARK – Concerned about the possible construction of town houses nearby and an incident that involved teenagers shooting paintballs at leopards, Big Cat Rescue officials recently began the first phase of installing a 10-foot-tall wall around the sanctuary’s property.
The wall is a major project for the nonprofit organization, which operates with an annual budget of about $1 million.
Howard Baskin, Big Cat Rescue advisory board chairman, said it cost about $106,000 to install about 940 feet of the wall. More donations are necessary to finish enclosing the remaining 6,000 feet at the 45-acre refuge.
Big Cat Rescue cares for about 146 exotic cats, including cougars, tigers, bobcats and lions.
Many of the felines suffered abuse, neglect and abandonment before being taken to the sanctuary, officials said. Baskin said the cats are contained with specially designed wire cages.
As a secondary barrier, the perimeter is surrounded with a chain-link fence with barbed wire and an electrified wire on top, he said.
The stories below were from 2004-2006 as we initiated the zoning changes that made this wall and our new buildings possible.
2006 Zoning Hearing Outcome
Big Cat Rescue has a vision of no more big cats in cages, but a big vision requires a big commitment. In order to raise the funds necessary to insure the continued comfort of the exotic cats in our care we have to look for ways that enable us to grow financially without compromising the cat’s sanctuary.
The Big Cat Lodge is building of up to 20,000 square foot that we are planning to house corporate events, functions, school outreach programs, summer camps, a natural history museum and gift shop. It started out as only a dream, but thanks to the generosity of the following people and businesses it is starting to take shape.
2006 ZONING APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY
Advisory Board Chairman
2004 Zoning Results
The Hillsborough County Board of Commissioner’s approved Big Cat Rescue’s Planned Development by a 5 to 1 vote. Thank you everyone who helped make this possible!
BIG CAT RESCUE’S PLANNED DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION
On October 17 Big Cat Rescue filed an application with Hillsborough County to have the sanctuary property designated as a Planned Development and ask approval for specific improvements we would like to make to the property.
Expand Education Program A primary focus of our plan is to enhance our educational program. Although the sanctuary strives every day to provide the best care we can for our animals, the broader mission of Big Cat Rescue is to educate our audience about the issues that result in so many animals being abused or abandoned. By providing that information, we hope to have an impact far beyond the limited number of animals we can save. By informing people about what they can do to solve these problems, such as not purchase these animals as pets, we hope to eliminate the need for rescue by stopping the abuse and abandonment of these wonderful animals.
A major part of our education program includes field trips to Big Cat Rescue by school children of all ages. Currently the experience we can provide is limited to what we can do outdoors and very much subject to weather conditions. On very hot days we have no air conditioned indoor space to provide relief from the heat during part of the children’s visit. If we encounter inclement weather during their visit, the only shelter is the school bus.
Our plan provides for a two story building that would serve a number of purposes. The top story would be an open room that could be used to provide indoor educational activities as part of the school visit. This could include craft activities like drawing their favorite animals for the younger children, and video and slide show presentations about conservation, extinction, habitat preservation and the many other topics related to the broader efforts to save our wildlife. The room could also be rented out for small events to raise additional funds to support the sanctuary. The building would also house an area where guests waiting for their tour or after their tour could view information about the sanctuary, our animals, and broader conservation issues.
Enhanced Care of the Cats A number of improvements are intended to help us better care for the cats. We would like an expanded cat hospital that would avoid having to take cats off premises for surgery or other treatment. Moving the cats off the property adds stress at a time when their systems are already weakened and lowers their chances of survival. Treatment on site can also be faster and sometimes avoid the need for anesthesia which is in itself dangerous for the cats. We would also like to improve our food preparation building. We feed over 500 pounds of food daily, with many different diets required by different animals. This is done out of cramped quarters that are aging and need to be expanded and improved.
More for our Visitors Other amenities for our staff and visitors that we would like to add over time are a few offices, a larger gift shop and some kind of food service for visitors. We would also like to create limited access to the sanctuary from the Upper Tampa Bay Trail. This nature path for walkers, joggers etc. runs along our perimeter and the sanctuary could provide a wonderful enhancement to that experience. Further, we hope to add more cabins for our overnight Expedition visitors and some longer stay units that could house veterinary and conservation interns from around the world who visit us to learn about how to care for the big cats. With these improvements we hope to generate more revenue to be able to support the cats.
Thanks to Bruce Kaschyk and Kevin Mineer at The Genesis Group for donating their time and expertise to developing this plan. Thank you Ted Taub for representing us before the B.O.C.C. and for your personal testimony as to the nature of our facility. Thank you Howie Baskin for bringing life to this vision and for coordinating the supporters throughout the process.
On behalf of the cats, we thank all of you for whatever effort you were able to make to support our cause.
Many thanks to: Susan Crawford Crutchfield, Megan Newman, RaeAnna Saks, Brian Czarnik, Diane Roger, Jean E. Lauders-Acherman, Shellie Goldsmith, Jerry and Judy Goldman, Cheryl Alden, Kimberly Lugo, Stephen, Lock, Lauren & Penny Davis, Den 7, Pack 217, Mary Anne Nowak, Susan C. Moore, Amber Bean, Sheri A. King, Robert Sweeney, Paula Porter Sweeney, Corinna Wiercinski, Margaret E. Ward, Marion Bochner, Mary P. Weizmann, Bess Anderson and her class, Lynda Sugasa, Lea Josselyn, Dennis Mitchell, Laura J. Webster, Christy Anderson, Dana F. Hakes, Susan Sherwood, Aretta & Eric Baumgartner, Bernadette Bodnar, Anissa Camp, Jessica Hosford, Cynthia Montayre, Carol Childs, Karen MacNeill, Ronald D. Mengarelli, M.A., Donald Borrelli, Kay L. Mummerow, M.S., M.A., C.A.S., Jolean MacPherson, Linda Hamilton, Debbie Knight, Shannon Dell, Leanne Voiland, Jon Williams, David & Jacqueline Durfee, Emory & Jill Hopper, Richard N. Blank, LeeAnn E. Day, Eleanor Lawton-Sebert, Sherry Purser, Merrilu Cole, Mr. & Mrs. Lynn E. Sherwood, Betty Keefe, Carol Smith, Rachel Taback, Cecil C. Aird, M.D., Martin L. Schaffel, John Mitchell, Marianne Hall, Ann Copur Schell, Jack & Caprice Moore, Bonnie-Jean Creais & Richard Esposito, Raina Trevenna, Margaret Thatcher, Sheila Mays, Jill & Kyle Williams, Margaret Goodson, Lind Archipov, Linda & Don Azbell, Val Dejkunchorn, Susan Mitchell, Cathleen M. Neumann, Carolyn Thompson, Jamie Veronica, Carolyne Clendinen, Jennifer Rusyczyk, Scott Lope, Kari DeBoskey, Marcy Sennott, Rebecca Gagliardo, Kym A. Marzal, Daniel Capiro, Pamela M. Schaible, Veronica C. Wald, Rajaraman Jayakrishnan, Ph.D., Sandra Flores, Matthew Ruszczyk, Edianna Bayona, Ebe Bower, Mary Lou Geis, Beth Ann Bluder, Elizabeth R. Wynn, DVM, Shawn Turner, Russ Elliott, Keith Kent, Danielle Elliott, Janet Fialka M.S. E.D., Manuel Figueroa, Mary L. Price, David Scott Lillis and T. Candace Lillis, Margaret Goodson.
We especially want to thank all of you who came to the Jan. 12 and February 24th hearings and showed your support.
They say first impressions say so much. If that is true, then we are glad our newest addition tells a tale of how much we value the appearance of our sanctuary, the safety and well-being of our big cats and guests as well as have the support of generous donors like you. 8 feet of wrought iron and about a 15k price tag raised from the Catter-Wall project fund has come together to create a stunning new entrance gate. We have struggled for years with a flimsy,slow, and unreliable chain link fence as our entry way. Now, we have a secure, beautiful, and strong gate. The lions were originally going to be placed at the front gate, but are now guarding the memorial gardens where our cats are remembered forever.
Caracals get new cage designed to limit
over grooming thanks to California donor
Cachinga and Cachanga are Caracals that were brought in from a miserable little zoo in Africa in 1995 in the early days of the sanctuary with the intention of breeding them for conservation. But there are no programs in the field or plans to have any to release Caracals back to the wild. Since we do not believe that any animal should be bred for life in a cage, they have been neutered. They have a wonderful bond and like to live together.
The problem is that Cachanga loves Cachinga too much and grooms her bald, so they often have to be separated periodically so that Cachinga does not get sores from the over-grooming. The large cage we keep them in together is not designed so that it can be split in two sections, and even if it were, the two sections would be too small. So, to separate them but have them still be where they can see each other, they have to be trapped and moved to a cage that was designed with a door that can divide it. However, it is not a large enough cage. It was designed for one cat, and only has the door that divides it in halves so that we could contain the cat on one side if we had to work on the other side. Moving them by trapping them each time is stressful for them and takes considerable staff time, so they end up spending a lot of time apart and in half of the space they ought to have.
The solution is to take two cages that are each large enough for one cat and are next to each other and join them with a cage tunnel. The tunnel will have vertical doors at each end. This would enable us to easily separate and reunite them by opening and closing a door, but give each of them plenty of room when they are separated. With this structure in place we could separate them before the grooming has too much effect, let Cashinga’s fur grow back, then reunite them for periods of time. It would allow them to spend much more time together and yet have suitable space when they are separated.
In addition to the tunnel there is other significant refitting needed to the two cages. The feeding area, called the “lockout”, has to be rebuilt for a smaller cat, vegetation that caracals require in order to be able to hide and feel safe must be planted, and the two older cages need to be completely repainted with expensive Rustoleum paint. This project has been on the wish list for some time but funds were not available. Recently when supporter Patricia Webber called and asked if there was something she could do for a specific cat, we suggested this project. Patricia took pity on Cachinga and has generously donated $1500 for the project, which will start in a few weeks. If you look closely at the photo, you may be able to see Cachanga just behind Cachinga’s right ear. Thanks very much Patricia! Your donation will have a very immediate impact on improving the lives of these two wonderful cats.
Bringing your team to Big Cat Rescue for a day of hard labor is a way to build team spirit and help the big cats. Meet a few of the wonderful groups who have come here to get to know the cats and each other better.
We Love Our Volunteers!
Big Cat Rescuers Wrap Up the Holidays for the Cats
One of the Borders managers had heard of Big Cat Rescue, so when it came time to choose a charity this year to man a holiday gift-wrap table for them, he suggested us. When we got their call, we said yes and jumped at the opportunity. Borders assigned 11 days to us and asked that we commit to staffing the gift-wrap table for 10-12 hours a day with 3 volunteers each shift. Normally, that many volunteers might be a little difficult to schedule. Add to that the fact that it was the 2 weeks before Christmas, our busiest time of year at the sanctuary, and you can imagine how hard that was to juggle. But, our volunteers came through like they always do!
We had interns hustling, one volunteer working in a full leg brace, some rearranging their lives to cover shifts that may have otherwise gone empty, rushing from work in traffic to make their shift, taking off time from their “real jobs” to work this fundraiser, and ultimately spending Christmas Eve wrapping presents up to the very last minute in order to provide for the big cats.
But, the real story is that every Big Cat Rescue volunteer made this a fantastic event. Even though each of them may not have been at Borders, they were all called on to cover and do the never-ending work that needs to be done at the sanctuary every single day. Julie Hanan, event coordinator said, “That’s what really makes this such a fantastic team to work with. No matter what the volunteers are asked to do, they will go the extra mile every time!”.
From what Borders managers told us about last year’s financial results for the charities that gift wrapped for them, we expected to make about $1000 overall from this event. Imagine our excitement to see our donation bucket swell to over $3000. One of the managers and his family came for a private tour of the sanctuary the week after Christmas and he said they are very anxious to have us back again next year since the feedback on our volunteers and the way we treated their customers was so positive. We were an unexpected and very pleasant asset for their business.
We had the opportunity to speak with over 2000 people about our mission in a casual, fun atmosphere. And these were not just animal lovers, our typical audience. These were people from every walk of life. Besides wanting to come visit the sanctuary, many even expressed an interest in volunteering for us. This was just another example of the wonderfully positive way our volunteers always represent us and our mission to the community.
Julie Hanan’s ability to turn even the most mundane of objects into whimsical animal print eye catchers has really leapt off the palette with her most recent undertaking. Our overnight cabins have always been cleverly themed inside, but outside, despite several different colors of paint, the building still looked like a barn. Therefore, she was sparked to use her talents and initiate the project of hand-painting tiger stripes on the building. Now it looks like a tiger…the size of a barn!
When interviewed on how she got interested in the idea, she said, “The more often I drove by our Bed and Breakfast cabins and saw how desperately they needed a new paint job, the more I began to think how cute it might be for our guests to be able to stay in a tiger themed building since they are lucky enough to be sleeping right next to the tigers. I thought it could also prompt our guests to take their picture in front of the building if it had a unique look to it. Then, when they got back to wherever they’re from, they might show off that photo to their friends which would spark a conversation about Big Cat Rescue and their visit with us which could only help spread the word of our sanctuary and what we’re doing.”
Julie had some terrific help with the base coats from team building groups and our own dedicated volunteers and interns, but when it comes to the steady hand to do the realistic styling of the stripes, no one does it better than our Volunteer Star: Julie. She worked through a hectic traveling schedule and the pain of a bad back, and has now completed this giant sized make-over. Julie had some extra inspiration as it was just King (a retired Ringling tiger) and she spending many, many days together back by the lake since she was the only one who could really paint the stripes. She told us that hand-painting all those tiger stripes became a little bit easier every time King would come out of his den to check on her progress. He modeled his beautiful coat for her to give her new ideas on just how to paint that next stripe. What she thought would be a couple of weeks actually turned into a couple of months. But, she tells us, “It was a labor of love, because everyone who ventures out there to see the Bed and Breakfast now thinks it’s so cute and definitely memorable”. Come out and see it for yourselves, or better yet book a cabin and stay in it. In the meantime, enjoy the slideshow.
The Right People and the Right Tools
Make a Big Difference
Claude Miranda thought he was just delivering a couple of medical supplies donated by the National Humane Society to Big Cat Rescue, when he made the mistake of asking if we ever had need of a wood chipper. When Carole Baskin proudly showed off the new wood chipper that we were able to get as the result of a grant from United Animal Network and the Penny Wars For Tigers he about doubled over in laughter.
Scott and the crew had spent weeks cutting down the invasive species called Brazilian Peppers and dog fennel and feeding it one 3 inch stick at a time into our new chipper. We had a respectable pile of wood chips to show for the effort and were starting to make a dent in the mass of weeds because in the dead of winter it wasn’t growing faster than we could cut it back. Claude promised to show us what a real wood chipper could do and at 9:30 the next morning he was back.
He brought a friend and co worker name John LePine and explained the Pete Bakowski had outfitted him with over $100,000.00 in the best land clearing equipment available for clearing real estate that he buys and develops. He generously allowed us the use of his massive wood chipper and bobcat on tracks. They brought a cooler full of cold drinks, donuts, diesel fuel and bar chain oil. Claude and John gave us safety lessons on what not to do around machinery that can eat you up and spit you out in a nanosecond.
By dark the first day, with the help of a lot of volunteers and interns, we had really started to make some progress. We were clearing about 3 acres and could see from end to end if we wiped all the sawdust from our eyes. We chopped and chipped, sweated and bled, but we were all so excited about the possibility of completing what we had worked so hard for so long to accomplish, that we didn’t want to stop. We paused briefly for pizza and Claude’s blonde jokes every couple hours to keep us from exhausting ourselves. The volunteers who were not working on this project were pulling double shifts to handle all of Saturday’s regular workload.
Claude and John agreed to come back the next morning at 9:30 again. Because it was a Sunday we had a lot more volunteer and intern help since they didn’t have to give tours. With this hard working group of people and the right equipment we were able to remove almost all of the unwanted undergrowth, chip it up and pull up almost all of the roots. This second day we also had enough help to stack up a mountain of trash to haul off, including a truck tire that Carole had to fight a water moccasin for. None of the insect bites or injuries were more than Claude, a retired Assistant Fire Chief, could treat with his emergency kit.
The following Wednesday Claude came back with John and the rest of his crew including Bill Moak, his son Eric Miranda and his granson Jesse Miranda. With the help of our volunteers, interns and staff we were able to finish the chipping in the back 40 and finished pulling up the roots of the invasive plants for burning. We moved on to the cell tower area and put a culvert in the ditch and filled and cleared to make a road big enough for Vern to get the front end loader around the tower to the back property where it is needed to shore up the falling fenceline. To rent this sort of equipment would have cost us more than $7,000.00 plus the operators. All they asked for was souvenir Big Cat Rescue T-shirts. They volunteer because they like to make a difference.
Opening up this beautifully scenic area will help us in a lot of ways. We have been talking to a major chain about building an event/conference center on our land because we may never have the funds to build the sort of structures that we need. They need local event space mostly for nights and weekends and we mostly need space for schools to visit during the week, like a Nature’s Classroom and conferences during the work week where people like the Harvard Club would rent for use during the day. We could then have our Fur Ball onsite each year and do more for the ambiance of the theme if the entire building resembled an African Lodge. The lions and tigers roaring across the lake would set a mood like none other. This could generate a source of income for the animals that isn’t depending on us having to beg for every dollar.
By clearing the land it will enable us to show how much land is available and what a beautiful view there is for their guests. If we can build a road back to this area from the cell tower, then we can safely separate the people from the cats. Our planned development that Howie pushed through last year calls for an ice cream shop on the trail and this could also be used in that manner as a teaser to trail guests about the tigers across the lake.
This was a lot of hard work but the payoffs can be huge for our cats and our mission. Thank you EVERYONE that participated in this effort!
Computer Geeks Whack Weeds and More for Big Cats
TAMPA, FL (May, 2006) —
Buy Big Cat Hat, Shirt or Tee
On May 22, 2006 five of Quadrant Software’s strapping young lads found themselves whacking weeds and ripping apart a 40 year old barbed wire fence under the intense Floridian sun – all in hopes of giving back to the community.
“I design logos and program sites. I haven’t done manual labor like this since my dad asked me to do garden work 14 years ago. I did such a bad job, he never asked me again. It felt good though because I did it for the big kitties,” jokes Quadrant Software’s graphic artist Zuriel Andrusyshyn.
Quadrant Software, a leading international software developer, donates over 400 hours a year to local non-profits. This is because each employee is given one full paid day to volunteer at the organization of their choice. This past month several employees decided to work together to help Big Cat Rescue.
The five men were put to work performing intense grounds and repair work, thus allowing Big Cat Rescue employees to focus their attention on more important things, namely taking care of the animals.
“The Quadrant Software team was awesome! Most team building efforts like this work from 9 till noon, but these guys kept at it until after 4 PM. They ripped out fence posts that had been there for more than 40 years in order to help us ready an area for major improvements,” states CEO of Big Cat Rescue Carole Baskin.
The scene was actually comical. By the end of the day, the employees were comparing notes as to who had gotten the most work accomplished.
“I’m an ex-marine scout-sniper so I’m convinced I did most of the work,” jokes Quadrant Software employee Ken Anderson, “The guys were scared of the fire ants. However, it was cool to see them try to beat me for a good cause.”
This is only one of the many ways the company is planning to give back to the Tampa Bay community. The company had 100% participation last year and expects the same of the volunteer program this year.
“Donating our time give us a sense of belonging to the community,” states Daniel Kuperman, Director of Marketing, “I think its good to know that the little things you do can make such a big impact.”
About Quadrant Software
Quadrant Software, an IBM Business Partner, has over a decade of experience providing Paperless Process Management (PPM) solutions. Started as a pioneer in fax server technology, today Quadrant Software provides enterprise-class PPM applications to Global 2000 companies world-wide and in a variety of industries. This includes document management, electronic forms, fax servers, MICR checks, barcode labels, and workflow products. Over the years, they have helped companies reduce expenses, increase productivity, and improve communication. Quadrant Software has offices in Massachusetts, Florida, and the U.K.
For more information on Quadrant Software and its document lifecycle management solutions visit us online at www.quadrantsoftware.com or call 800-258-3399/508-828-6222 in the US, +44 (0) 870 900 0621 in Europe.
We had the most AWESOME group of volunteers recently. They represented the firm of Pricewaterhouse Coopers. The project coordinator was Karen Whirley, and she brought 23 enthusiastic, energetic and STRONG volunteers. For over four hours, armed with machetes, loppers and yes, even chainsaws, they tackled a project that would have taken us days. These volunteers cleared a large area of land that overlooks our lake. Why? We use soil to cover our cats’ dens and to fill in areas in their enclosures that may have been washed away. The group cleared the area because that is where we get our land fill, and invading this soil, were very tall, very thick, very stubborn weeds! The volunteers worked under the blazing hot sun. They cut, chopped and dragged bushes, trees, and limbs, until we could once again see the lake. Their shirts in the photos say “29k/30”, which stands for 29,000 employees working at a charity, giving back to the community, over a 30 day period. Many cities and offices throughout the country are participating in this initiative. Our volunteers and staff are so appreciative to this wonderful group of people from PricewaterhouseCoopers. Thank you, to all of you. You truly “Came, Saw, and Conquered.”
Recent Donors of Services and Goods
A major bank October 3, 2004 See Photos
Click on the photos to see them enlarged.
The great people at a major bank helped Big Cat Rescue in a big way today! They donated much needed supplies, such as shovels, rakes, axes, limb loppers and gloves and then pitched in to use them! Don Bush, an engineer who has donated his time to helping us solve drainage problems, was kind enough to draft the plans for the flood alleviation and then instead of supervising, jumped right in to dig. In the photos you can see Nicole Rodriguez, Trevor Chin, John Mcloughlin, Raymond Papineau, Lisa Fursanic, Brian Andress, Sherry O’Donnell, Holly Alterson, Margaret Garrett, Kris Chapman, Marilyn Gardner and Don Bush digging ditches to drain flood waters away from the cats. This is especially important to the health of the cats because these lands used to be cow pastures. The criptosporidium that can lay dormant for more than 20 years surfaces in the mud caused by heavy rain. The cats lick their paws and become infected. Keeping the cat-a-tats dry is critical to their health. After four hurricanes in six weeks, the ditches we had were just not sufficient. Thanks to these folks giving up their Sunday we now can better drain a large portion of the area.
An ongoing issue is cage maintenance. With more than 120 cages we always have several that are in need of repainting. Once the ditches were dug everyone jumped in and started painting. Afterwards when Howie gave the exhausted volunteers a tour he commented that one of the Ocelots just didn’t know what to say because she had never seen people with spots before. The White Serval below impressed all of us by catching a snake, but Operations Manager Scott and Intern Steve quickly came and freed the snake. Fortunately, the snake was not poisonous and did not appear any worse off for having been paraded by Tonga all over the place.
Thanks again and a big Woo Hoo from the cats for all of your team’s hard work.
Florida’s Golden Palette Paints E-Center for Big Cat Rescue
Big Cat Rescue’s E-Center which houses our Education Department, Enrichment Committee and Event Planning Center was the first thing one would see as they entered our gates and was, by far, the ugliest structure on the property. With Summer Camp fast approaching we were delighted that Florida’s Golden Palette chose us as their pro bono gift to society this year. Below is their story about how it all came about -Carole Baskin, Founder of Big Cat Rescue-
Florida’s Golden Palette
Philanthropic Project for 2005
Big Cat Rescue
By Karen Lewis – Muralist, Tampa
In search of a philanthropic project for Florida’s Golden Palette, the current president, Beverly Bakalyar and I drove out to see if Big Cat Rescue might enjoy our club’s artistic talents. Florida’s Golden Palette has over 45 members proficient in the Decorative Arts for home or business: These are professionals in : Faux Finishing, Stenciling, Murals and Custom Art in general. We attend monthly meetings, workshops, lectures, as well as network to remain on the cutting edge of our field.
The Golden Palette is Florida’s chapter of the Stencil Artisan’s League, Inc. (SALI), an international, non-profit organization with over 3500 members. SALI encourages chapters to select a worthy cause that may benefit from our artistic time and talents to “make this world a prettier place”. We chose Big Cat Rescue.
Beverly and I arrived at Big Cat Rescue on a miserably cold, rainy day. Carole Baskin, founder and CEO of this awesome 45 acre sanctuary, tucked in amongst a bustling area of Tampa, met us at the gate. Decked out in her “faux cougar” fur hat, holding her “faux leopard” spotted umbrella, in her “faux tiger” striped tennis shoes, we instantly knew…we were in the right place!
The project: Transforming the Education Building.
The green “portable” where kids take Summer Camp classes and do fun Big Cat projects definitely was in dire need of getting rid of “The Uglies”. My first and immediate thought when I saw that building (and then meeting Carole in all her Big Cat finery) was to “Leopardize” the whole building. YES! That is it! … Photos were taken and presented to our club. Hands shot up for volunteers. What fun! E-mails zipped back and forth…..drawings drawn….plans were made and then approved.
April 27th Beverly Bakalyar rolled up her sleeves and spent her afternoon pressure washing the building, while I watched. I did manage to whack a few weeds and pull a few vines in preparation for the following Saturday when our spray painter, Jeff Gressner from Winter Haven would do his magic; the two-toned base coat! What a great job! Jeff, owner of Old World Faux, not only volunteered in driving time and gas, painting expertise and energy, but was able to have Porter Paints of Winter Haven donate all the custom mixed exterior paint! Thank You!
BIG CAT PAINT DAY arrived May 10th We’re READY to put on the spots!
The “SPOT volunteers” included: Karen King, of Karen King Designs, Inc. an accomplished muralist that drove over from Longwood. Vicki Tuck, one of our Tampa gals worked several hours, but got called away when Vicki Tuck Creative Design needed the boss. She missed out being in the group picture! Joanne and Pam Adams, mother and daughter team of ArtFauxWalls, St. Pete painted almost the entire North side the building! Scherezada Sibley, one of our youngest and newest members, came all the way from Orlando to get to know everyone and add her artistic talents! And ME- Karen Lewis, Tampa muralist and new Big Cat Fan!
Finishing touch was adding the new “ Faux Bamboo” and leopard Big Cat E-Center sign! Then we took lots of photos and were given our Big Cat Tour with Barbara. WOW! She was so knowledgable and warm. It was so obvious she loved giving these tours, and loved the Big Cats! What a purrrrrrrfect ending to a great project. Thank You One and All!
For more information contact:
Florida’s Golden Palette c/o Karen Lewis 16108 Oamanor Drive Tampa Florida 33624 962-2176 cell 503-4200
Theme Rooms – Wall Art – Murals
or Carole Baskin, Founder of Big Cat Rescue at Info@bigcatrescue.org or 813.493.4564
Thank You For the Wood Chipper!
Click on the photo for an 8 x 10 at 300 DPI that is 3MB.
United AnimalNations donated $1,000.00 toward the purchase of a wood chipper pictured above to help Big Cat Rescue recover from the hurricane damage caused by Hurricane Charly, Hurricane Jeanne, Hurricane Francis and Hurricane Ivan. Money was raised by Penny Wars and other supporters of Big Cat Rescue to buy this much needed piece of equipment. After the hurricanes the landfills were all full and we could not haul away the kindling that laid in piles everywhere. We prayed that no lightning or sparks from neighbor’s burning their debris would reach our property. Now begins the arduous task of chipping mountains of branches but the results will be nicer flower beds and foot paths from the chipping.