Building for the future – Phase I: Land acquisition
FWMA is desperately seeking acreage to call our new home. The center is presently located on private property and there is no longer sufficient space or adequate facilities. During the past few years we have been actively fundraising to build a new modernized medical building. It is imperative to undertake construction as soon as possible because the medical room now being used is no longer suitable for incoming wildlife patients. Our objective is to obtain land for the new medical building before April, which marks the start of the busiest time of the year known as baby season. Without the medical building, there are no adequate facilities to care for the incoming orphans of 2016.
Why is your support so vital to the future of wildlife in this region?
Each year FWMA continues to grow to incorporate the needs of the four rural counties it serves: Wakulla, Jefferson, Franklin, and Taylor. In 2015 over 900 wildlife patients received care at FWMA. Since its establishment in Wakulla County 21 years ago, the vision at FWMA has always been to obtain land to expand the wildlife medical/rehabilitation facility and facilitate achievement of a long term goal: to create a wildlife educational center that would be open to the general public and would operate alongside the rehabilitation center.
The center is presently located on 6.5 acres of private property owned by the Beatty family, who generously donate use of their land and also help run the center. Currently the sanctuary is only permitted as a rehabilitation center and is NOT open to the general public as it is where sick, injured, and orphaned animals are treated. These animals have to be cared for with limited human contact so as not to stress or tame them, giving them a much better chance of survival when returned to the wild. Moving the center will ensure its sustainability even after the Beatty family can no longer devote their resources and would allow FWMA to grow and develop the medical facility and education center to better serve our local community.
FWMA receives no county, state, or federal funding and operates on a very limited budget. A donation of land or a long term lease (25 year) with minimal rent would be deeply appreciated. If land must be purchased the cost is estimated between $60,000 and $80,000, so financial contributions are incredibly helpful in any amount.
What kind of property is suitable for the immediate and future needs?
While ALL ideas are welcome, the following guidelines reflect our wish list of characteristics for the property being sought:
- Located in Wakulla County. The property should be large enough to separate the rehabilitation center (where the public is not permitted) from the wildlife education center (which allows public access). Naturally, the larger the property is that we acquire now, the more we will be able to do in the future.
- Zoned agricultural or rural. The land should be suitable for zoning as a wildlife hospital – nonresidential property, and not located within a subdivision.
- Located where no flood insurance is required. Most of the property needs to be high and dry.
- Backed up to government-owned state or federal forest, or to undeveloped private land that is not being heavily hunted. A large number of white tailed deer are rehabilitated each year and will be released in the area. We want to ensure their safety to the extent possible, and also the safety of staff and volunteers working at the center.
- Utilities: Power and water. Easily accessible.
- Unrestricted right of ingress and egress. Full legal rights to access the property are necessary.
- Not completely clear cut.
- No animal restrictions on the property.
What can you to do help?
If you have any ideas or leads, please contact Chris Beatty at firstname.lastname@example.org. And spread the news – share this plea with your family, friends and anyone who may be able to offer assistance. THE ACQUISITION OF SUITABLE LAND IS VITAL TO THE FUTURE OF FWMA. We cannot overcome this problem without your support.
See FWMA’s property project featured on PBS’ Local Routes.
Phase II: Medical building
What’s the future hold once we acquire new land? Read more about our Phase II Medical Building plans, which will allow us to provide excellent care for even more animals in need.