Today functioned as a brief intermission… of a sort.
Yesterday, the team wrapped up a major facelift of the existing playroom. Yesterday’s blog showed it best, but additional snapshots make it clear that the chimps were just as interested in the demolition, reassembly and repainting as they were in the finished product: a clean and bright playroom.
Tomorrow, we will finally break ground on Phase 2 of the Chimp House expansion. CSNW co-directors J.B. and Diana have been working tirelessly to make sure we have the permits, funding, plans and specialized contractors required to pull off such an endeavor. Thanks to their hard work and the support of selfless donors, this vision is being incrementally converted into a reality. Just after dawn tomorrow morning, a crew will begin digging the foundations of the new playroom- and greenhouse-type enclosures that will enable us to give the sanctuary’s chimpanzee residents some additional spaces to explore, relax, and socialize. Sometime in the hopefully-not-so-distant future, these enclosures may also provide space for other chimps who are also waiting for a permanent sanctuary home.
Of course, there was still a lot on our to-do list today. Early this morning, Dr. Erin and her sons helped J.B. to transfer a few dozen bales of hay to the barn. Around here, hay is a necessary dietary supplement for the cattle in autumn and winter, so we’re starting to stockpile now. By November, the entire barn will be filled with a pyramid of orchard grass, Timothy hay, alfalfa and straw.
After stacking all that hay, J.B. and volunteer Adam made some modifications to the perimeter fence that will allow the contractors to access the Phase 2 area without getting too close to the chimps and staff. Meanwhile, the rest of today’s personnel did the routine cleaning, caught up on some housekeeping, and set the stage for another busy week. Inside the Chimp House, Katelyn (Office Manager), Chad (Enrichment Coordinator) and Lisa (Level III Volunteer) were the supporting caregivers. Together, we made chow bags and enrichment for the upcoming week, organized the kitchen and foyer, cleaned the enclosures, took care of the cattle, and provisioned the chimps with meals, blankets and toys.
Amid all of these projects and tedium, I am feeling incredibly appreciative of our donors who have, per usual, been extremely generous with their timely gifts. Through our Amazon Wish List, amazing people donate some pretty cool items that are subsequently delivered right to our front gate. I’m a dork and tend to geek out over office paraphernalia, organizational tools and miscellaneous supplies, so opening these packages always feels like Christmas morning. This past week, we received some new hose attachments for spraying disinfectant, tape refills for the label-maker, organizing racks for the vet clinic’s pharmacy cabinet, a second whiteboard for the foyer (which J.B. has already graced with one of his informative cartoon drawings), and lots of new toys, puzzles and nesting materials for the chimps.
We look forward to updating you all on the progress of the new construction and all of the related projects!