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Alpine Children's Nature Retreat in need of financial help

Children's Nature Retreat.png
Posted at 7:20 PM, Dec 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-21 22:20:40-05

ALPINE, CA (KGTV) —The Children's Nature Retreat in Alpine is home to 200 animals, with many arriving in the last two years due to COVID-19. However, because of the pandemic which has brought on financial issues, the animal sanctuary is now in survival mode.

"Adults and kids coming here can feel the healing power of this place," says Children's Nature Retreat Executive Director Agnes Barrelet.

The Alpine nature retreat is home to Zebras, Camels, Ostriches, and many other animals that were in need of a home.

"We have animals that had an owner that passed away, some due to COVID. We've had people that had to move, and those that had to part ways with an animal because of financial issues," says Barrelet.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the retreat has seen a huge drop in visitors over the last two years, and that has Barrelet very concerned.

"Our financial status is not good at all. We may have right now a couple of weeks, and we are working as a month to month."

The non-profit relies on donations and of course visitors. Barrelet says 30 percent of their revenues come from school field trips, and those trips have been few and far between.

"Since September we had three, maybe two or three."

Barrelet says that for financial reasons they had to cut visitor hours, and now they are only open on weekends. However, if there is some positive news, they are making slight progress on monthly donations.

"I've been sustaining this place for six years and financially I'm not in position to add funds to operating costs."

So in a worst-case scenario, where the park would be forced to close, Barralet says the animals would stay on property and receive all the care they need. She did say if closure was to happen, it would mean an end to visitors, tours, and children's programs.

"What I would do is to continue loving and caring for the animals. However, I would have to reduce my team by three. It would be sad, extremely sad, if we had to close and not share this with people."

The hope is, the Children's Nature Retreat can receive enough donations to keep the park around for adults and for kids to enjoy and learn.