This year, with the funds provided to PEAC through our original GlobalGiving Campaign, we were able to participate in two extraordinary pet expos: the San Diego Pet Expo and the America's Family Pet Expo (the world’s largest pet and pet products expo, featuring over 1000 animals).
San Diego Pet Expo
The San Diego Pet Expo was held on March 1 and was a huge success compared to previous years. This expo does not provide complimentary booth space for 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, so we had to incur the cost of renting two booths. The expo was only for one day, starting at10am and ending at 6pm. Many of our volunteers signed up to work the booth, which included set up and tear down. The recently purchased visual aids were a huge success and drew in more people than we had expected, which was evidenced by the number of filled-out sign-in sheets we had at the end of the day. It was so gratifying to see people taking the time to ask questions about adopting one of our foster birds, as well as specific questions pertaining to a bird they already own. It is PEAC's primary mission to educate the public on parrot care as well as other topics that pertain to providing a home for these beautiful and highly intelligent animals.
America’s Family Pet Expo
The America's Family Pet Expo is PEAC’s largest event each year. It was a three-day event that started on Friday, April 25 and ended on Sunday, April 27. With this event not being local to San Diego but located in Orange County, about two hours north of San Diego, funds provided by our campaign with GlobalGiving provided for travel and lodging expenses, as well as for renting a large van to transport all the necessary items to set up and stock our two booths. I would like to thank America's Family Pet Expo for providing two excellent booths with wonderful locations during the event at no charge to PEAC, being a nonprofit and offering animals for adoption.
This event is attended each year by thousands of people, from all walks of life. We were pleasantly surprised by the large number of people who stopped in to say hello and ask for information. With it being such a busy event, we asked many of the visitors to sign our sign-in sheets and provide a way that we may contact them directly, to address questions they left on the sign-in sheet. This new practice of getting people to sign in when they stop at our booth has provided a way to not only educate the signatory but possibly encourage them to support the work PEAC does by becoming a member of our organization. We had over 150 people sign in with questions, so we had a very busy week following up after the expo.
San Diego County Wildfires
Though it was a sad couple of days this May in San Diego County, due to the wildfires, PEAC was prepared and equipped to help all parrots and their owners in need by providing shelter and safety during the mandatory evacuations faced by many of the county’s residents. Through a kind and generous donation from the Petco Foundation, PEAC received 10 wire dog crates of various sizes, which we equipped with grapevine perches and removable bowls for food and water, to use as temporary shelters for parrots. Unfortunately, even when not being evacuated from a wildfire, those close by may be exposed to smoke and ash from the fires. Parrots have very sensitive respiratory systems that are much more delicate than humans’, so many of our members and the local community members found themselves evacuating even before the mandatory orders were sent out. I am pleased to report that PEAC did not have to step in and save even one parrot, which shows the great preparedness of our fellow parrot owners for such emergencies. When living in a high threat area, it is always best to be prepared for an event like this with an evacuation plan and a travel kit set aside in the event one needs to just grab and run. PEAC has a seminar that speaks directly to the need to be prepared in the event of a natural disaster such as a wildfire or an earthquake. With fire season starting so early this year and little help from the weather to lessen the danger in sight, we will be teaching our Parrot Safety seminar in July.
I would like to bring our donors up to date on some of the improvements we have been making which have been supported by the funds collected during our first GlobalGiving campaign. Our website is currently under re-construction and is being updated with a much easier way to navigate, providing bios on the parrots in the foster program on our own website instead of having to link to Petfinder to see our birds that are up for adoption, and incorporating many other exciting links and graphics.
With the return to the organization of our editor, and funds from our GlobalGiving campaign for printing, we have been able to resume production of our newsletter, Beak to Tail. This quarterly publication announces upcoming seminars and other events, lists and describes in detail the parrots we currently have available for adoption, and provides an article in each edition about parrot husbandry, behavioral issues, or another topic of interest to our members. In addition to sending out the newsletter to our members via email, we also print and mail out hard copies for our non-computer-savvy members, other contributors to our organization, avian vets for their waiting rooms, and interested people who attend our seminars, Pet Expos, and other events.
PEAC is finally stepping slowly into the social media arena. Our facebook page has been very successful, as we now have an effective way to reach out to a larger group of people when a parrot goes missing or when we have other important announcements, such as the assistance PEAC offered during the wildfires. We have yet to explore twitter, but we are working on becoming more up to date.
Finally, I will mention that we have had a tremendous change for the positive in our adoption procedures. We now are offering the mandatory classes to be eligible for adoption on a one-on-one basis. This not only has helped move the adoption process along a bit quicker, but is more informal, and we feel the student garners more knowledge in this more intimate setting. The ability to do one-on-one seminars also often allows the instructor to bring along the parrot that the person is interested in, so that we can note the interaction or lack thereof between the parrot and the potential adopter. Thus far in 2014, we have successfully adopted out six birds, some of which have been in the foster program for some time. We also made arrangements with Best Friends, a no-kill sanctuary and shelter in Utah, to take into their custody three parrots that were not adoptable at this time, despite many months, and some many years, of working with them. However, the fight still continues with all our efforts to provide up-to-date educational materials that pertain to parrots as companion pets. The evidence is clear, as we are currently placing seven new relinquished parrots into foster homes, and still have three on our waiting list.
Conclusion and Future Plans
That final sentence stands alone as the most significant reason PEAC must remain well-funded and well-run so that the number of relinquished parrots should never outnumber the birds that have been adopted. It is only through your financial contributions to PEAC that we are able to continue our educational outreach to the public and have the means which are needed to take in these heartbreaking, relinquished parrots. We will be starting a new fundraising project around the beginning of summer 2014, and will be focusing on asking for sustainable donations where donors would pledge a specific dollar amount per month to be given to PEAC. Asking of sponsors more than just a one-time donation will help PEAC tremendously in meeting its goal of obtaining donations that are guaranteed each and every month, to match the monthly expense for which that we have budgeted. Stay tuned, and thank you so very much for all of your support.
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