Tour & Tea: Animal Place hosting virtual Mother’s Day event
Special to Prospector
Celebrate Mother’s Day with a cup of tea and a virtual tour of Animal Place, an organization focused on rescuing farm animals to live out their natural lives in a safe environment.
Tended to by staff and volunteers on a 600-acre parcel, Animal Place has been closed to in-person visits, but still wants people to meet the many animals that call Grass Valley home, including a pair of calves born at the sanctuary within the last few weeks.
Like many organizations, Animal Place has had to shift online, as education is a big part of what it does, and it has continued the in-person work rescuing animals. Animal Place Program Director Kelcie Leach said while the organization has not been open to the public due to COVID-19 restrictions and concerns, it continues to rescue animals, which recently included two senior cows that turned out to be pregnant.
“We did not suspect that because of their age, at 20 years old, so their pregnancies were quite a surprise to us, but they had their babies and they are all healthy and people will get a chance to see them at the Mother’s Day event,” Leach said. “They’re the cutest little individuals at the sanctuary.”
The Mother’s Day Tour and Tea is a fundraiser for the organization, Leach explained, “It is a Mother’s Day tour and tea virtual event where we will be going in and doing a tour with some of our animals. We are also sending out Mother’s Day cards with tea packets in them, so folks can drink their tea while touring with the animals.”
While tickets are available until the day of the event, those purchased this week will not have tea packets arrive in time for the tour, which is at noon Saturday. Leach hopes people will still attend with their beverage of choice. She encourages people to sign up.
“People who sign up will get a registration link via Zoom,” she said. “They will log in for a live event and we will go in with the lambs, the piglets and some of our rescued cows.”
People will learn the stories of how the animals came to be at the sanctuary and will be able to ask questions about them and engage with staff. The interactive event will also include a trivia game with an Animal Place gift basket grand prize.
NEED FOR HOMES
In 1989 Kim Sturla co-founded Animal Place while working in Vacaville at an animal shelter. She saw a great need to offer permanent homes to farm animals so their lives would not end in slaughter. It all began with a pig named Zelda. Sturla was a director at a Bay Area animal shelter that also rescued the piglet, Leach explained.
“Shelter staff fell in love with Zelda,” she added. “They would share their lunch with her, feed her peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and one day they were hosting a fundraiser and they were barbecuing pig. Kim really made the connection there, asking why they were saving Zelda but serving pig. They are the same — with thoughts, feelings, and emotions.” Zelda soon became the first Animal Place resident.
In 2010, the nonprofit moved to Grass Valley and now cares for 400 animals, including cows, pigs, ducks, chickens, turkeys, sheep, and goats. It takes the animals in to provide a safe place for them to live out their natural lives but also to offer the emotional care they deserve, and to bring attention to the plight of farm animals, Leach said, “We help educate the public on why we save these animals. We do advocate for a vegan diet to help end the suffering of these beings who have feelings and emotions, just like people do.”
Not being able to give live tours and to explain what the group does and why it does it has been difficult, Leach said. “Being able to meet individuals like Daffodil the cow or Zeke the chicken is really impactful. To learn their personalities, to know them as individuals. We miss that so much as we look forward to the day we can open back up when it is safe not only for our caregivers, but for the general public. We can’t wait to open back up again.”
Animals come to the sanctuary in a variety of ways — from owners who can no longer take care of their animal to those found to be at risk for a number of reasons, Leach said. “A lot of them have come from cruelty cases. They come from different industries. “
Nearly all funding for Animal Place comes via private donations. A celebration on Mother’s Day is especially sweet this year. Referring to the rescue of the senior cows, Leach said, “While these mamas were veterans at giving birth, this time they will get to live with their babies and stay with them at Animal Place, and we are really excited to provide that for them.”
People can meet these babies (virtually) by going to http://www.animalplace.org and buying a ticket to the event.
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire, as well as a podcaster at HollieGrams. You can hear her episodes at https://www.buzzsprout.com/1332253. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@ gmail.com.
Who: Animal Place
What: Mother’s Day Tour and Tea (virtual event)
When: Noon Saturday
How: $20 donation includes access to the virtual event for your household along with a Mother’s Day card, a tea packet, and the event access code, sent to a person of your choosing.
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