As an animal-lover, one of my greatest joys is spending time with and around animals. From adopting domestic pets (like dogs and cats) to experiencing wildlife (by going on a safari), here is a list of organizations we can support right now that help animals and wildlife.
Whether you love visiting a zoo or aquarium, or you’ve been thinking about adopting a pet, let’s celebrate Earth Day this year by giving back to worthy causes that protect and care for the world’s greatest gift to humans – animals.
Safari West Wildlife Foundation
Whenever I travel to Sonoma County in Northern California, one of my favorite places to visit is Safari West (pictured above). Set in the Santa Rosa mountains this picturesque sprawling wildlife preserve is home to hundreds of wild animals – ranging from zebras and giraffes to antelopes, exotic birds, and more. To discover why this majestic place is truly incredible, check out this post on I&C.
While they are currently closed (due to the shelter-in-place mandate), you can support the Safari West Wildlife Foundation through a donation. Donations to SWWF help provide scholarships for school field trip opportunities; support the costs of teacher Safari to Science workshops and advance endangered species education and research.
Monarch Butterfly Fund
There’s something so magical and enchanting about butterflies. The way they undergo a complete metamorphosis to the delicate way they flutter about, they are truly one of Earth’s most beautiful creatures. If you love butterflies too, a worthy cause to support is the Monarch Butterfly Fund.
This funds helps to foster the conservation of North American monarch butterflies and their migration through habitat restoration, research, monitoring, education, and support for sustainable community development in and near the monarch overwintering areas in Mexico.
The Oasis Sanctuary
While I’ve never had a pet bird, I did develop a great relationship with one as a kid. My childhood friend had an exotic bird that was as kind and playful as you could hope for. This gentle soul was not only beautiful (as she was a macaw parrot), but she was also as sweet as could be.
To help support organizations that help exotic birds, one place to start is by donating to The Oasis Sanctuary, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue and lifetime sanctuary care of parrots living in captivity. Established in 1997, The Oasis Sanctuary is a unique avian rescue and life-care facility that provides permanent care, shelter, and rehabilitation for companion parrots for which other rehoming options do not exist. Many of the birds in their care have “special needs”, little or no social skills or have suffered physical and/or emotional abuse resulting in undesirable psychological behaviors. The Oasis is often all that stands between life and death for these beautiful, sentient and endangered companion birds.
Santa Barbara Zoo
Another one of my favorite places to see and get up close with wildlife (in Southern California) is the Santa Barbara Zoo. In addition to being home to a variety of animals, they also offer guests the opportunity to feed the giraffes (which is an incredible experience). To learn more, check out this fun, family-friendly travel guide on I&C.
To support the Santa Barbara Zoo, there are a number of ways you can get involved. You can make a general donation, sponsor an animal, or even buy enrichment items (toys) for the animals. The Santa Barbara Zoo is a private, nonprofit organization that relies on revenues generated from ticket sales, memberships, concessions, education programs, private events, and donations. Since they are currently closed (due to the pandemic), donating to this worthy cause is a great way to give back and support these majestic animals.
When I was a kid, my Mom adopted a horse (that she named Macaroni Poni). I fondly recall the days spent at the stables caring for him, bathing him, and riding him. I’ll never forget the day that she rode him all the way from the equestrian center to our home – and he was grazing in our backyard! From adventurous trail rides through Pebble Beach to exciting equestrian lessons, I’ve had a love for horses ever since then.
If you’re a horse-lover too, then a great organization to support is Orphan Acres. Their mission is “to provide care and rehabilitation for abandoned, neglected, abused, and malnourished horses, while educating the public regarding the issues surrounding rescue and rehabilitation, including all aspects of horse ownership and care.”
Throughout my childhood, our family has always had pets. From adorable bunnies (named “Bambi” and “Snow White”) and a handsome 18-lb Maine Coon cat (appropriately named “Big Boy”) to several dogs (including an Irish Setter named “Shawni”, an exuberant Border Collie-Black Lab named “Melody” and a gorgeous Pomeranian-Papillon named “Pom Pom” – pictured above), we’ve adopted several amazing animals from the SPCA of Monterey County. Not only have these animals brought us so much joy, but we’ve also felt good knowing that we’re rescued them since they were abandoned.
If you’re considering adopting a pet (to keep you company right now) or you just want to give back to a worthy cause that helps needy animals, I highly recommend supporting the SPCA. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (S.P.C.A.) International works to stop the abuse and suffering of animals with innovative programs that serve both animals and their human caretakers.
Whether you decide to adopt, foster, or sponsor an animal, or you contribute to a worthy cause by donating to a non-profit organization that helps animals and wildlife, helping to give back is one of the noblest acts you can do to celebrate Earth Day (both today and every day).
For more inspiring ways to celebrate Earth Day, check out these posts on I&C.