Westar Energy granted the PSU Nature Reach $10,000 to help and support the program and provide good homes and care for the animals on the reserve.
“We got a $10,000 grant from Westar Energy that’s going to help us make a bigger impact in our environmental education and one of the things that I would like to do is to evaluate our programming and spend some time working on that because we wanted the best possible job so we can make improvements in the program but you know we’re really appreciative of Westar’s continued partnership. They’ve helped us before for years..,” Delia Lister, director of Nature Reach, said.
Lister applied for the grant through Westar Energy as a part of her position that involves fundraising for the Nature Reach program.
“A lot of what I do involves fundraising as part of my as my job, so I have to raise money because even though the university fully supports what we do, they can’t fully… Support what we do and so I have to either charge program fees or rely on donors or… (Grants) to get funding because it takes a lot of money to take care of the animals and you know now we have people that take care of the animals and all of that so you know everything we do today, and in every organization it takes funding,” Lister said.
Westar Energy’s Green Team volunteered their time and gave some funding and some materials to build raptor cages for the educational birds several years ago, and they continued their partnership through their support to the Nature Reach program.
“They built the cages… Around 2007 and then around 2012… We’ll certainly reapply every year if we can,” Lister said.
Delia Lister also teaches programs for kids to spread knowledge and interest in animals.
“I teach classes… About anything from amphibians to reptiles… Schools today don’t have enough funding and time to devote to science, and so anytime we can get kids excited about science and nature and get them outside that’s what we’re all about,” Lister said.
Lister teaches environmental life science and through the class, she takes students on trips to Nature Reach to learn about the animals that are being protected by the Nature Reach program.
“People can always donate to Nature Reach they can restrict their funds to the university specifically to Nature each if they wish. We’re just happy to have continued community support and we’re going to keep doing our best and making every dollar stretch,” Lister said.
The Nature Reach program has around 50 different animals and anywhere from five to seven student workers working at a time either being paid or if they’re volunteering or they get course credit.
“The students who work or volunteer for this program are learning and gaining great experience about how to take care of the animals… And they get… Experience while they’re still at the university so that’s really what we do and provide to the animals…” Lister said.