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ARK - Florida Rescue Center

link to pdf file: DeLandCenterFundraiserflyer.pdf

I am Jack Kelly,a student at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida. I would like to tell you about a project that is underway in DeLand to establish a wildlife rescue center. This is not a project of Stetson's but it involves Stetson as you will see in the project proposal attached.

The impact on wildlife from development in Volusia County has been devastating. FloridaWild Veterinary Hospital in downtown DeLand treats approximately five hundred wildlife patients annually including sandhill cranes, fox, and scrub jays, with an additional two to three hundred patients sent to local licensed wildlife rehabilitators.

Annually the Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet treats sixty to eighty gopher tortoises. With construction and development expected to intensify in Volusia County and with increased vehicular injuries, research estimates that over the next few years over one hundred gopher tortoises annually will need extensive medical care. Since the gopher tortoise has a slow metabolic rate the recuperation period is lengthy requiring a specialized and permanent facility to give them the care they need. Additionally the distance of the existing Ponce Inlet facility from West Volusia may discourage people from bringing injured animals for treatment.

Kathy Paynter, volunteer certified wildlife rehabilitator for the county's west side, has worked for over thirty years caring for sick and injured wildlife. She donates hundreds of hours a month to wildlife until they are able to be reintroduced into their habitat. FloridaWild and Mrs. Paynter have partnered together for approximately four years. Their success rate in treating injured wildlife is extremely high. Unfortunately, Mrs. Paynter has decided to retire this year.

With limited space at the FloridaWild Veterinary Hospital for wild animals to recuperate and Mrs. Paynter's retirement this year, the need for a new wildlife center for Volusia County's west side is crucial. Using an existing historic building adjacent to FloridaWild Veterinary Hospital, ARK, one of the most successful animal rescue groups in the county, proposes to establish a much needed facility to serve wildlife on the county's west side ' ARK Wildlife Rescue Center. (See  and click on Wildlife Rescue Center)

ARK, a successful and well respected non-profit animal rescue group is applying for a Volusia County Echo Grant to purchase a building adjacent to FloridaWild at a cost of approximately $200,000. Wildlife, now housed at the two rehabilitators' sites and FloridaWild, would be transferred to the Center for medical treatment and rehabilitation. The Center will be run by volunteers and will be a boon to Stetson and downtown DeLand.

ARK needs $50,000 in the bank by February 1st for the Echo Grant match. Of course we need much more to get the facility up and running but we believe that once we acquire the building further funding will fall into place. In fact, Audubon of West Volusia is donating $11,000 toward the project and will assist in the development and staffing. DeLand's City Council and area businesses are enthusiastically in support of the project and believe the Center will be of importance for DeLand tourism, conservation, and education.

I solicit your assistance in helping us to bring this dream to reality? If you could donate to this non-profit organization the Center and our wildlife will be eternally grateful. Any amount would be appreciated. What an impact the Center will have on DeLand, Stetson, and future generations! And of course your donation will be well publicized.

I would be honored to give you a tour of the proposed Center and FloridaWild Veterinary Hospital at your convenience. We are hoping to hear from you before our December ECHO Grant application deadline. Thank you for your consideration.

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