Donate unwanted Christmas trees, empty bottles to help wildlife animals
BEETON, ONT. -- As we wrap up the holidays, there's a solution to dispose of Christmas trees, beer and wine bottles that also helps animals in need.
The Procyon Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Beeton rescues and rehabilitates species in Ontario that have been orphaned, found or injured. The centre cares for them until they are ready to be released back into the wild.
The non-profit charity takes in hundreds of animals every year, but the centre's director, Debra Spilar, said they'd seen an increase in their intake, but the centre is struggling with low funds.
"A lot more people are finding animals because they are at home as opposed to being at the office, going on walks and family things," said Spilar, adding that it resulted in a need for more space.
"Right now, we're busting at the seams," she said.
The centre would typically raise upwards of $10,000 with fundraisers throughout the year. But with those paused because of the pandemic, the centre was only able to raise half that amount, and as a non-profit, it operates solely on financial donations.
"100 per cent of the money received goes to the animals we care for, so formula, food, fruits, vegetables, medications, vet treatments," said Spilar.
Donated trees need to be unpainted and free of decorations and play a significant role in nurturing animals back to health and preparing them for their release back into the wild.
"We'll put all of them into each enclosure, and that's natural enrichment for all our animals to climb and chew and all that kind of stuff," said Spilar.
Tree nurseries would usually donate unsold trees, but many haven't had the option this year with high demand and many business closures.
Spilar said as spring nears, many babies will be born in the wild, making donations to help the centre expand are crucial to take in as many animals as needed.
Anyone wishing to donate a Christmas tree or empty wine or beer bottles to the Beeton wildlife centre can drop them off at 6441 7th Line, east of Tottenham Road, and leave the donations beside the shed near the road.
Financial donations can be made online, by cheque or in person.