Rancho Bernardo Earth Day #1
Dear ARC Supporters,
Another Spring has come and gone here at ARC. As with every Spring, there were many new arrivals, with a few stragglers left to hatch from Trinity, our resident white peahen. Juliet, our resident India Blue peahen, hatched out three chicks; the two that survived are doing very well with mom. As we are painfully aware of the overpopulation of companion parrots, we do not promote or encourage bonding or breeding of these animals; however, with our domesticated fowl, we do allow nature to take its course. We always have a significant waiting list for our peafowl, which assures us that we will have homes for the peachicks that are hatched here at ARC every Spring.
General maintenance of our parrot areas is made possible in part by the generosity of YOU, our donors! This quarter, your donations have assisted with the yearly prep and repainting of all outdoor parrot aviaries. Due to the nature of the paint, being non-toxic and safe for birds and other animals, it does not hold up well against the powerful sun we have here in San Diego County. Every year we schedule Keith Pospychala, the designer and builder of all our aviaries, to come out and scrape down any areas showing rust, fix and tighten up any doors (both regular entry doors and sliding panels), and finally, apply two coats of paint to all exposed framing on the flights. The cost this year was $800, and was paid by your donations. After we had the yearly aviary maintenance completed, we began work on the landscaping in the flights and around the grounds. 50 bags of mulch were laid down around the grounds, and 10 bags of river rock were used to freshen up the dry creek bed that runs down the middle of the parrot enclosure area. Fresh topsoil was added inside those aviaries showing a need for it. New natural perches, some running the entire length of the individual flights, have been installed this past Spring. To wrap up the yearly maintenance, we planted new avian-safe ornamentals about the grounds, staked up the Cara Cara orange trees, and trimmed the apple trees that we have been growing in the espalier fashion.
This year we realized it is time for ARC to undergo some major upkeep projects. The three main projects for this summer are a new roof on the facility (which includes the sleeping-cage area for parrots, the nut room, the main play tree room, and our office). Once the roof has been replaced, we will be applying Texcoat to the home after stucco repair is completed. This product will reflect some of the summer sun, which should help with the electric bill. The final large project for this year is to have solar installed, including a storage system, so we will be completely off the grid for our power needs. These main projects are estimated to cost approximately $80K, which is being covered by two private donors who support ARC and its mission.
Projects not covered by the donors previously mentioned is the removal of the two very large mature pine trees in the front yard of the property. Once these trees have been removed, we plan to install either Xeriscape or artificial grass. Either one will significantly conserve water. The last large project that needs to be funded is the removal and re-installation of the driveway leading up to the facility, which is approximately 1/8 mile in length. These last two projects together are estimated to cost $60K.
To summarize physical maintenance, your donations contributed $800 and the remainder was provided by two private donors who support ARC's mission. Here at ARC, we strongly feel it is vital to the birds' well being for us to keep up on general maintenance, although 90% of your donations go directly to the day-to-day care as well as veterinary care of the birds here at ARC. Unlike some sanctuaries, ARC sets aside money each year for the maintenance and upkeep of the facility as a whole. Expenses donors may not be aware of are items such as general maintenance and vector control (rats, mice, and squirrels). These expenses are vital to maintaining a healthy and safe environment for all birds that either temporarily or permanently call ARC home.
ARC strives to be transparent with the cost of running this unique sanctuary/rescue. Every quarter we will be submitting to you our financials; and shortly following the end of every year, that year's end financial report will also be made public. If you have any questions regarding expenses that ARC reports, please do not hesitate to contact us directly, and we would be happy to take the time to walk you through it. We would like to point out two categories that are the most common expenses your donations assist us with. The first is Food/Pellets: From the last report to this report we have spent $3000. The second expense is Vet Care: From last report to current report we have spent $2300. We are fortunate to have secured a sponsor to cover our labor expenses, as we currently have 4-5 people working for ARC. As you can see, we strive to allocate your donations directly to the care of the birds, and not to expenses such as big-ticket maintenance and labor costs.
This Spring saw three adoptions take place. Two are what we jokingly refer to as "foster failure." Melanie and Jenine ended up adopting Joey and Cayden, respectively. These parrots had been living with them, and Melanie and Jenine were working with them in order to make them more adoptable than they were when they first came under ARC's care. Both parrots have come a long way with their training. Joey is very much bonded with Melanie, and we feel it is in his best interest to remain with her, instead of being put up for adoption to the general public. Cayden came to us from the cruelty/hoarding case that we assisted San Diego DAS with last August. Cayden, like many of the parrots we took in from that particular case, was not easy to handle when she came in to ARC. Jenine began rehabilitation at her home and started to take Cayden all over East County San Diego to enhance her socialization program. Cayden has become an amazing parrot, both as a companion to Jenine and as a part of Jenine's entire family, including her human children and those with four legs or wings.
The last adoption this past quarter was Berkeley, an umbrella cockatoo who came to ARC several months ago. Her owner felt that due to significant changes in her life that were beyond her control, her beloved Berkeley would be better off in a small rescue or a sanctuary where she would be loved and cared for in the way she deserved. Her owner was having a difficult time giving up the little bird she had had for almost all of its life, but once she saw our facility and the way in which our birds were cared for, her decision became easier and she relinquished Berkeley into our care. We took her in, thinking that she might well become a resident sanctuary parrot. Then one day, a wonderful woman came to ARC to visit our adoptable parrots. Her macaw had passed away many months ago from "macaw wasting disease," and she felt she was ready to adopt another macaw. On seeing Berkeley though, her heart melted. Over the next six to eight weeks, this potential adopter came faithfully every Wednesday and Friday to play with all of the parrots, but she always came back to Berkeley. Recently, her adoption application was approved unanimously by the ARC Board of Directors, and we are in the process of setting a date for Berkeley to go to her new home.
We have one new arrival at the ARC Sanctuary, and that is Hal, a White Ringnecked Dove. He is very sweet and VERY quiet. Hal loves to just sit in your hand and spend time next to you. Surprisingly, he relishes his sprouts and crumbled Caitec Oven Baked Pellets. He is a wonderful addition to the birds that call ARC home.
We would like to introduce you to Esteban, our newest employee. Esteban began working for us a few months ago. He is a senior in high school, and will be finishing up soon. He currently works Tuesdays and Fridays here at the facility; and with the new chicken project, he has been a key player in the raising and care of the little chicks as they arrive. He is a very conscientious person and very reliable. He shows great promise, and we hope to see ARC and Esteban grow together in the coming years.
It's been a busy Spring for ARC's outreach activities. The year's events got off to a bit of a rocky start, due to inclement weather on the day of the South Orange County Shelters' Pet Expo in early March. This meant, however, that our supplies were still packed up and ready to go two weeks later, when we participated in the Turquoise Animal Hospital's Annual Exotic Pet Expo in Pacific Beach. We had a tremendous turnout, and had the prime location, right inside the front door! We were presented with many good questions regarding parrot husbandry, behavior, and training, and many people responded to our poster about the backyard chicken-keeping class we plan to offer in the future. We gave away some of the coloring books explaining proper parrot care that we keep on hand for kids 12 and under, and ARC donated gifts to the hospital's raffle (two coupons good for free visits to the ARC facility along with free attendance at one of our seminars, also at no charge). And as always, we immensely enjoyed Turquoise Animal Hospital's wonderful hospitality!
Early April saw us in San Diego's North County, where we had been invited to bring some of the ARC parrots to the Rancho Bernardo Earth Day Celebration. Held at a community park, with many local vendors, as well as informational booths such as ours, it was a beautiful Spring day, and a lovely event with a very welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. Not only did we provide some great education to the public about parrots and their care, but we also had the opportunity to make some new contacts in allied nonprofit organizations, including one with which we are working on making co-presentations on parrots and parrot conservation to students in the San Diego County schools.
On Earth Day, ARC was able to participate in Earthfair San Diego, the largest free annual environmental fair in the world. The event draws around 60,000 visitors each year, and this year proved to be no exception. Balboa Park's turn-of-the-century stucco buildings provided a lovely backdrop for ARC's lawn exhibit. In addition to three of ARC's resident and adoptable parrots, we brought Sinbad, our black palm cockatoo, and Guy, our hyacinth macaw. These last two birds, with their beauty, majesty, and rarity, really stole the show! Many children were in attendance, and they and their parents all had interesting questions for us relating to parrots and their care, and we were able to give away numerous parrot-care coloring books. It is because of YOU, GENEROUS DONOR, that we are able to purchase these coloring books that explain, in language a child can understand, the physical and psychological needs of a companion parrot and how best to meet those needs.
We had a month to recharge our outreach batteries before it came time for Pirate Days at San Diego's Maritime Museum. This is an annual event located on the Berkeley and the Star of India in San Diego Harbor, and has been a Southern California family favorite for many years. ARC's display was located on deck of the Star of India, the last stop on the children's "Pirate Treasure Hunt." In addition to showing children the location of the "treasure chest" filled with toys provided by the Museum, ARC gave out our own prize for completion of the hunt - - the parrot coloring book. Although inclement weather and the birds' irritability caused by the weather forced us to leave a bit early each day, by the time the two-day event was over, we had given out almost 100 of the coloring books that you, our donors, have enabled us to provide to the children of Southern California. ARC would like to thank Robyn Gallant, the Maritime Museum's Director of Public Events, for all of her assistance with this project.
Our next scheduled outreach event will be CityFest Street Fair and Music Festival in August. This is a huge celebration of community spirit through music, crafts, food, etc. which spans five city blocks and attracts over 150,000 attendees each year. We hope to hold a mid-year fundraiser in the next couple of months, to give all of our loyal supporters a chance to help us gain funding to purchase a professional display booth to use for CityFest and our larger events throughout the years to come. Such a booth will also enable us to exhibit at the three-day-long America's Family Pet Expo, the nation's largest pet expo, which is held each April in Orange County, California.
After successfully completing the steps to become a partner with Petsmart, ARC has been accepted, and we participated in one outreach event at a Petsmart store this Spring. This partnership also enables us to apply for the many grants that Petsmart Charities provides. Check the "Events" page on our website, where we soon will be posting our monthly Petsmart appearances for the Summer, and then watch for us at one of the scheduled Petsmart stores in San Diego County.
And finally, our outreach program also encompasses our plan to develop an internship program. We are currently hammering out the details of the internship, and our plan is to have the intern work on developing outreach programs for ARC to use in the schools and other facilities, such as nursing homes and Noah's House, a local facility for the mentally challenged. We are hoping for donations toward program handouts to provide to the schools and other groups, as that will help introduce ARC to more of the public.
Please let us know if you would like to stop by the ARC facility for a visit. Visits are by appointment only, and you can find contact info on our website, AvianRehabilitationCenterUSA.org. With the recent outbreak of Newcastle's Disease and West Nile Virus in many exotic avian species at local fairs and a few backyard flocks, we ask that you please wear attire that has not been around any type of birds, whether or not they appear ill. Upon arrival, you will be asked to step in a dilute bleach-and-water solution tray, so please wear appropriate shoes so that this will not be a problem for you. This is a very small effort we can make to ensure the safety of our birds.
ARC would like to THANK YOU ALL for your generous donations and your comments. We do read and take to heart your comments, so please feel free to contact us directly at any time. In closing, we wish all our donors a happy and safe Summer season, and we look forward to seeing you at one of our outreach events this summer!
Eric Kern, Founder and President
Melanie Airessohn, Co-Director and Board Secretary
Rancho Bernardo Earth Day #2
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Petsmart Sports Arena Rosecrans St #1
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Petsmart Sports Arena Rosecrans St #4
Turquoise Expo #1
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