The Catawba Science Center needs the public’s help to care for its animals.
The science center has lost a lot of revenue since it had to close in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tracey Hall, executive director of the science center, said. “Whoever thought we would be closed this long?” She said.
Without additional funding, the Catawba Science Center could be forced to find new homes for its animals. Doing so would put the science center at risk of never reopening, according to the center’s GoFundMe Page
“I’m very worried every day,” Hall said. “I don’t sleep well at night. I love the science center. The community loves the science center and so I’m just hopeful things will work out some way, somehow.”
It cost thousands of dollars every month to care for the animals. “We do have about 700 animals in our aquarium,” she said. “It takes a lot of care, a lot of hard work. It is a struggle when there’s a cost that comes in daily for the animals.”
Hall said the center depends on admissions, memberships and donations for funding.
“We just had an invoice for $4,000 for salt for our saltwater tanks that we are trying to process,” Hall said. “It’s been very, very difficult for us.”
“This is an important organization to the community. We’re part of the SALT Block … and so this is a very important resource for our educators,” Hall said. “We see approximately 50,000 students a year. Right now, we are not expecting to have any field trip groups coming in in the fall.”
Hall said she is hopeful the science center will reopen soon.
“We’ve put in all kinds of guidelines to require masks, we’ve got hand-sanitizing stations, we’ve got certain areas that you check in and we’re going to have the flow going all in one direction so we can manage the amount of people in every area,” she said.
Casey Farthing, senior animal care specialist at the science center, says his team has continued to work with the animals since they closed. “Basically, it’s kind of business as usual for us. We come in, we take care of the animals, make sure everything is alright, we go home. That’s life right now.”
The science center has seen many renovations, repairs and a few new animal friends since it closed, Farthing said. “We are making huge changes, so hopefully when we can reopen the guests will get their money’s worth,” he said.
“We’re worried,” Farthing said. “We are trying to budget the best we can. We are pouring everything we have into taking care of these 700 animals on a daily basis. It’s not cheap. It’s not easy, but we’re not going anywhere if we can help it.”
To donate, visit catawbascience.org or search for the Catawba Science Center’s GoFundMe page.
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