Keene State College offers many amazing opportunities for their students. Events such as Resumania, Career Clinics, and community service trips provide students with valuabe information and life experiences to guide them after graduation. With skilled and knowledgable staff and student leaders these activities nurture curiosity in a way that inspires learning. Students are encouraged to develop skills and build relationships that will aide them moving forward. An amazing way for students to build connections, give back to the community, and gain experience in occupations that interest them are the annual Alternative Spring Break trips. These trips are sponsored by the Community Service Office that offers trips in the winter, spring, and summer.
After applying to the program for the Spring 2018 alternative break trip and being accepted, I was very excited. I applied to the Animal Rights service trip that takes students to the Carolina Tiger Rescue in Pittsboro, NC. I ultimately would love to work for a rehabilitationa and release center for large cat species and this gave me a first hand look at what that would mean. The experience was incredible and gave me a deeper appreciation for our ecosystems, wildlife, and our duty to preserve their beauty. A group of KSC students and students from Rowen University worked together to complete various porjects on the grounds around the sanctuary, at the food prep station, and inside the sanctuary as well. We were able to meet many of the rescued animals, learn their stories, and help their humans with some interesting chores.
Aside from the amazing animals that we were able to see, we learned about grounds keeping, caring for exotics, and working as a unified team to complete difficult tasks. Working in the freezers to clean, organize, and repair them, taught me a lot about the various feline’s diets.They keep the pelts of animals such as horses and sheep for enrichment for their cats, a curious mind is a healthy mind. Stimulation helps keep these magnificent creature entertained and happy. Items that could no longer be kept were brought to the burn pile, which in itself was epic. The burn pile was fun to watch, and scattered about the area were bones and skulls that the vultures had dragged away. The trick was to burn and char the raw meat, that way the vultures do not scatter it about the grounds. Why do the vultures leave charred meat alone?
Inside the santuary surrounded by Roman, Reina, Sebastian, and Sheba the lions, and Carolina, India, Caprichio, and Rajah the tigers is a beautiful Memorial Garden. We enjoyed the cats, sun, and bonding as we raked, mulched, and drove the gators. On trips to the burn pile we passed by Anthony Leopard and from the burn pile we could see bobcats, servals, and caracals in their distant enclosures. Their stories were sad, but their futures look bright. These expereinces have given me a new perspective on our impact to the world around us. This trip has solidified my desire to one day help save and protect wild cat species.