Powell River-based wildlife advocate groups were the local recipients of provincial funding announced Thursday, January 31, through the Community Gaming Grants program.
Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society (PROWLS), a volunteer-run organization that rehabilitates and releases wild birds and other wildlife received $11,000 and Wild Ocean Whales Society (WOWS), a not-for-profit group that focuses on the protection and welfare of coastal wildlife and marine ecosystems was awarded $7,500.
“People show us what they care about by giving their time and effort to important causes,” stated Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons in a media release. “I know that this funding will help them continue their important work.”
The Community Gaming Grants program provides up to $140 million to about 5,000 not-for-profit organizations in British Columbia each year.
The funding is vital to the “nuts and bolts” of helping local wildlife, according to PROWLS founder and president Merrilee Prior.
“There’s no one who gets paid for any of the work we do,” she said. “[The grant] will mostly go to food, cages and other supplies like fuel and disinfectants. We are really grateful both to the province, the gaming commission for supporting us, and to all the people who've dropped off $5, $10 here and there. It’s what’s keeping the birds alive.”
WOWS founder Susan MacKay said the funding was less than anticipated.
“We were hoping for more; it was only a small portion of what we had asked for,” she added. “It will help with some of our basic costs.”
Currently the marine mammal advocates are appealing to the community for anyone with IT experience to get in touch.
“Our IT developer has stepped down from being a volunteer and right now I’m in the process of desperately trying to find somebody to do some IT work for us,” said MacKay. “We need somebody who has some cloud computing background and can literally keep the system running.”
For more information, go to wildoceanwhale.org.