Local wildlife center facing challenges because of inflation and high gas prices

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – Inflation is impacting the work of a local wildlife rescue organization on a number of levels.

Nature’s Nursery relies on donations of time, money, and supplies to help care for thousands of injured and orphaned wild animals every year.

High gas prices and inflation are putting a strain on the operation right now. Executive Director Allison Schroeder said expenses are at a high.

“All of our overhead costs are on the rise,” Schroeder said.

At the same time, Schroeder says 2022 is on track to be one for the record books. “We are at over 2,200 animals right now. Our busiest year ever for admissions was 2020. We are fifty over where we were at this point that year.”

Caring for all those animals takes a lot of people and many of them are volunteers. Volunteer Coordinator Rita Chovan said the volunteers are an essential piece of the daily operations.

“The volunteers are everything. We couldn’t do all we do without them.”

But a lot of the volunteers have been affected by the high gas prices. Some aren’t able to help transport animals. Chovan said others have had to cut down on the number of days they help at the center.

“People can’t be here as much as they want to when gas is $5 a gallon. Many of our volunteers drive long distances to help, and some of them just aren’t able to do that right now,” Chovan said.

The price of produce is also taking a bite out of the budget. Schroeder said people have been donating produce from their gardens. “We’ve also been doing some of our own gardening. Volunteers have been growing things here on site. It’s just a small impact, but we are doing everything we can.”

Schroeder said donations of things like paper towels and cat food are also critical. “Being able to have those things donated is huge. It’s less we have to pay out of pocket.”

Nature’s Nursery is moving to a new building in Waterville and Schroeder said that the project will likely cost more, too. “The contractors say material costs are higher than expected. So there will be fluctuation with the cost of that project as well.”

Even with all the challenges, Chovan said the animals will always get the help they need. “The animals are never going to suffer. They will always come first. We’ll stay late and come in early. We’re here holidays. This is a seven-day-a-week job. We have so many dedicated volunteers we are so grateful for. “

There are a lot of ways you can help Nature’s Nursery fill the gaps. In addition to supplies and money, they’re asking for donations of gas cards to give to people who volunteer their time to transport injured and orphaned animals. Click here, to learn more.

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