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Walk on ‘wild side’ for critters

The Critter Care Animal Society will be hosting its fourth annual Walk on the Wild Side walk-a-thon on Sunday, Sept. 30 at Campbell Valley Regional Park.

Aldergrove’s Judy Folk, a volunteer with the organization, said it’s a crucial way to support their mission of treating, caring for and releasing sick, injured and orphaned local mammals in B.C.’s Lower Mainland.

“All the animals are local,” Folk said. “There’s lots of little stories about how all these guys got here.”

Critter Care’s work is done locally, but it’s attracted volunteers on an international scale. “They take volunteers from all over the world,” Folk said.

Folk said she got involved with the group earlier this year and has loved it. “I started volunteering in April,” she said. “I recently retired from Telus. When I found out about these animals’ situations, it just really appealed to me. I just really wanted to give them a second chance.”

Critter Care does everything from critical care for seriously injured animals to incubators and bottle-feeding for abandoned newborn animals, and they take care of everything from squirrels to deer to river otters and raccoons. They also focus on wildlife education, with programs for primary, secondary and post-secondary students, and they work with federal and provincial governments on a wide range of scientific studies. The volunteers play a crucial role in the organization’s success, and Folk said they’re incredibly committed to helping wildlife.

“We’re all really a bit crazy,” she said. “We love all the little guys.”

The Walk on the Wild Side is a critical part of funding Critter Care, and it’s proven very successful in the past. This year’s event is a five-kilometre walk through the park, and Critter Care’s teamed up with the local Lions Club to provide food for participants. “The Lions Club’s going to barbecue up some burgers for us,” Folk said.

Critter Care wants participants to register in advance so the organization can prepare the right amount of food. There’s a $5 registration fee, which can be paid online, by mail or over the phone. Registration can be done via the organization’s website at http://www.crittercarewildlife.org or by contacting Folk at 604-857-8811 or Cathy at 604-530-2350. The deadline’s approaching quickly, though. “We need the registration sheet by Sept. 18,” Folk said.

Folk said there are extra incentives for participants to raise donations from friends and family, too.

“If they get $100 or more in pledges, there are prizes,” she said.

The walk’s expected to take about an hour for most, but participants can walk at their own pace. Dogs are welcome on leashes as well. For those interested in supporting Critter Care but unable to make it out for the walk, donations can be made through their website as well. Information at http://www.crittercarewildlife.org

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