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Beau Valley students raise money for wildlife rescue

Classes choose a different organization each year for charitable efforts

Justin Vandebelt and Stefanie MacEwan own and operate Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue in Bowmanville. (Photo supplied by Stefanie MacEwan)

Some senior students at Beau Valley Public School in Oshawa have raised money to help rescue wild animals.

Each year, Heidi Mercer’s Grade 7/8 class chooses an organization to be the recipient of their charitable efforts. This year, students chose Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue in Bowmanville and students have been working on the campaign since December 2019.

The year prior, students collected enough items to create 76 care packages for Cornerstone Community Association, an organization that helps men, women and families in Durham Region move from homelessness to independent living.

“This year we thought we would commit our efforts to animals in need,” says Mercer. “I had previously seen Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue’s displays and demonstrations during town parades and festivals in downtown Bowmanville and thought they would be a great organization for our campaign.”

The student-led fundraiser was organized in three phases and students chose tasks in each phase.

The first phase included a sale, organized by the students, of candy cane grams. Each candy cane-gram was 50 cents and included a positive message for its recipient.

In phase two, through February and March, students organized a button sale.

“We booked the board’s button making machine,” says Mercer. “Our students were able to design their own button and then we used the machine to make them look professional.”

The buttons were $1 each and each button showcased a unique design hand-drawn by students.

Beau Valley PS student Yiannoula designed a button for Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue owner Stefanie MacEwan. (Photo supplied)

Yiannoula, one of the students, created a button designed special for Stefanie MacEwan, owner of the wildlife rescue centre, which says “Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue!” in colourful block letters, with a custom illustration of a red fox next to the words.

The final phase was originally scheduled to take place after March Break, however due to the COVID-19 pandemic and school closures, the students were unable to roll out this phase.

“Phase three was going to be a big collection of all the needed items from the Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue with list,” explains Mercer.

The wish list includes a range of items from gift cards to cleaning supplies, medical supplies, and animals care supplies. Students would have written letters to local grocery stores asking for donations of gift cards for the wildlife centre.

MacEwan was also supposed to visit the school to receive the donations and the button, while educating the class on the rescue centre and how the funds would be used. However, due to the closure, other plans will be made to deliver the package.

Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue relies on revenue generated through educational programming and community events. With the COVID-19 community restrictions, the organization was forced to close for a few months and was therefore unable to create revenue or take in any new sick or injured wildlife.

Mercer and her students decided to donate the money raised through phases one and two to MacEwan once learning of the rescue centre’s struggles.

MacEwan says the donated money will go directly towards treating the sick, injured and orphaned animals that came into their care last season.

“From all of us here at Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue we want to thank Heidi Mercer and her students for helping the animals that aren’t able to help themselves,” says MacEwan. “So many times, people forget that the animals we see in our own backyards are important. They affect the way we are able to live as a community. So, thank you Beau Valley PS for realizing they are important too.”

Soper Creek has reopened and is accepting sick or injured animals, and is open for summer single-day programs.

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