Little Ray’s Nature Centre, Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue and Foundation for Animal Rescue Education collaborated for Family Day Weekend on a wildlife festival at Bingemans Conference Centre in Kitchener, Ont.
Festival visitors saw a bobcat, a sloth, a skunk, an armadillo, an alligator, snakes and more. Professionals handled the animals and allowed people to pet many of them.
Director of Little Ray’s Nature Centre, Delivis Niedzialek, said that it’s important to Little Ray’s that coming to learn about animals is an opportunity that’s accessible to everyone.
“So after we’ve been doing these programs for 24 years, we have a giant, giant stack of communications, emails or comments from people who came to our events and that’s what sparked their interest in either conservation, biology or anything else,” he said. “We have letters from people who came to one of our events 15 years ago and spent the whole day and they were hooked, and now they’re at the University of Guelph or wherever doing a program in conservation. So we don’t want things like cost, for instance, to be prohibitive for someone to come to something like this. So if anyone can’t afford to come in, we never turn anyone away for financial reasons.”
The events are also designed to accommodate anyone who has special needs.
“We started a program a couple of years ago where every one of our events is required to have a special needs hour where we don’t run speakers, we don’t do general admission; that makes it accessible for people with autism, people with noise sensitivities and whole swathes of other people who would otherwise not be able to join us.”
For future events, see Little Ray’s Nature Centre’s website.