Becky Dill and Loretta Grna recently presented a gift of $3,000 to Hollywild in support of their project to build a new home for the park’s three pumas.
The total cost of the project has been estimated at $7,000 for materials, plus labor.
Dill and Grna noted that Kohler employees liked the idea of supporting a project that offered them the chance to come see the results of their efforts, and one that was connected to an organization with a long history in the community.
Grna explained that Hollywild had supported Kohler fundraising efforts benefiting others in the community for more than a decade. “We were glad to be able to turn around and help Hollywild this time.”
“If it weren’t for this place, where else would people go, children and adults, to see these beautiful animals this close up?” said Dill.
Dill first contacted Atchley in October 2016 saying that the Kohler employees wanted to help support a project at the park as part of their employee community fundraising effort. In previous years, employees have selected two area nonprofits to support. HALTER a therapeutic horseback riding program and Hollywild were selected to benefit from the efforts of the company’s Spartanburg employees.
After reviewing projects on a long list of planned improvements to the park, Platt and Atchley focused on the new puma enclosure. Students with the Chapman High School Y.E.S (Year End Studies) program and additional volunteers through the summer had removed an old exhibit where the new one would be built. The plans include an exhibit footprint that is larger than the current exhibit and double the height.
Pumas are climbing cats. Giving them more opportunities to use their natural abilities and more room improves the quality of their daily life. We meet their needs for space now, but can do it better. That’s part of our mission, to continually improve the lives of the animals here, explained Atchley.
“What makes a gift like yours so special is that it is from community members who really care about what we do here. Others recognize that too. When we can share about your gift, others may come forward wanting to be a part of the project for the same reasons your employees have.” said Atchley.
Platt and Atchley then led Dill and Grna to the site for the new habitat, then visiting with lions that were roaring to one another
Gyrna said that she still had a photo on her refrigerator of the “monster cow” (a large Holstein) from a visit years before to the park. “We have great memories here, and I’m just going to make sure my teenagers come back with me in March to see this all again.”