Sandy Pines to host four day virtual Baby Shower May 8-11

A Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre volunteer feeds a baby racoon during a previous baby shower fundraiser. File photo.

Sarah Williams
Beaver Staff

Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre (SPWC) is no stranger to adversity.

Similarly, they are no stranger to making the best of a bad situation, which why the centre has turned their 15th Annual Baby Shower into a virtual tour on May 10.

Normally, the event draws scores of people to SPWC. Due to physical distancing protocols, this type of event is not possible for 2020. Still, it remains an important fundraiser that the centre relies on to raise the necessary funds for  care of the animals and maintenance of the centre.

“We’re always trying to spin something positive from something negative. With the barn fire, it was devastating for us, but the notion of turning that into an aquatic centre, which we’ve always wanted  because we deal with so many water  birds, was our silver lining,” stated SPWC assistant director Leah Birmingham. “Then with this situation with COVID-19, we will be able to show people maybe more than they could see. As well, there are often people who want to come, but simply can’t make it that weekend or they live across the country. Normally, they wouldn’t be able to make it, but now everybody can.”

With spring being baby season in the animal kingdom, Birmingham noted this is their only opportunity to have a Baby Shower.

“Who needs a baby shower more than Sandy Pines? Most women who have a baby shower won’t be expecting more than triplets at the most, but we’re literally about to be inundated with hundreds of baby animals throughout the spring,” explained Birmingham. “That’s when the majority of our patients come in. From April to August, we can see  probably about 3,000 of the cases that come through here in a year. Many of them are in April, May and June when it’s baby season.”

A professional videographer will take footage of Sue Meech, founder and president of SPWC, walking through the centre as she goes into rooms.

“Much like at the actual Baby Shower, as you walk through the hallways you can look into the rooms and see people feeding the different animals that are there,” said Birmingham. “You’ll be able to click on that room and then go in and see people work and feeding. Also this year you’ll be able to see the aquatic centre which got finished this winter.”

Those who partake of the virtual tour will also get to experience the rarely seen raptor aviary at SPWC.

“Our raptor aviary is way back on the property and isn’t easily accessible,” Birmingham explained. “I’m hoping to be able to have part of the tour there too, so people can see even more than they would if they were here for the actual Baby Shower.”
The aviary is essentially a large cage to house birds. As Birmingham noted, it’s quite a complex structure, with several different sections and even space for the birds to fly.

Currently, SPWC has a lot of bunnies and squirrels, and a few raccoons.

“We don’t have any baby birds as of yet, other than pigeons, who seem to breed most of the year,” said Birmingham. “By the time the Baby Shower hits, we’re often pretty full of raccoons, squirrels, fox kits, bunnies and baby birds of all species.”

Kelly Fraser, office manager at SPWC, went into further detail about the Virtual Baby Shower.

“Basically, what I’m doing is trying to create a web page that is virtually for anyone and everyone who can access it. It’s available from 10 a.m. Friday, May 8 to 4 p.m. Monday, May 11, instead of just the usual Sunday,” said Fraser.

“On the Friday and Saturday, we’ll have our merchandise for sale, we’ll have a shop for that, there will be local vendors participating, raffles, a children’s page, and videos available of previous footage taken here at the centre or during times when they were doing something with the animals,” she stated.

Sunday will be dedicated to the virtual tour.

“The virtual tour will be like coming through the front doors. It’ll be like you’re actually here only  you wont have to look over anyone’s head,” quipped Fraser.

Fraser noted they’re hoping to run the tour several times over the whole day.

Though the event is free, donations will be accepted.

“On every page there will be a little button that says ‘donate’. So, click on that and you can make a donation directly there and get a receipt almost instantly,” Fraser stated.

Normally, the event would raise at least $20,000 for SPWC. With expanded activities this year, they’re hoping to raise even more.

“The money goes directly into the centre, to feed and care for the animals and to help with buying supplies and food. It goes directly here and stays here. It doesn’t go into research,” Fraser noted.

Fraser also added that they’re hoping to bring more people to SPWC this year-virtually, of course.

“We usually bring in people by the thousands. We’re hoping for that and because it will run for so many days, we’re kind of hoping it will bring in more people. I’m going to post things daily on our website and link to our Facebook  page to get people prompted and ready for it,” she said.

Like many agencies, SPWC is treading new ground with their Virtual Baby Shower. However, Fraser is hopeful people will become interested when they realize there are many aspects of the centre that the virtual tour will enable people to see.

“There are probably many things that people will be able to see that they may not be able to see in person,” she stressed.

To view the SPWC Facebook page, see: And, to visit their website:

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