The Petaluma Wildlife & Natural Science Museum is the only student-run natural history museum in the country, dedicated to “inspiring the next generation of conservationists through environmental education and practical conservation.” The Museum, which relies on donations as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, has had to cancel its school tours, open houses, fundraisers, and summer camps due to the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing income down to zero even as operating costs for maintaining the animal exhibits continue.
Yearly operating costs sit at $50,000 for animal feed, supplies, and payroll for the Animal Care Technician, who is leading a group of Board volunteers in keeping the museum animals alive. We are exploring every avenue for fundraising and loans, but with the cancelation of our Pasta Feed fundraiser and summer camps, our situation is dire.
Recently, amidst the chaos of our global pandemic, another potentially devastating pathogen – specific to snakes and lizards – has taken hold inside our Museum and infected one of the animals in our care. We are taking immediate and decisive steps to prevent the spread of this parasite throughout our collection and making major changes to our husbandry and exhibition protocols going forward in order to protect our students, our visitors, and our staff from spreading this pathogen to additional lizards and reptiles.
We will use donations as follows: Our first goal of $15,000 will help us purchase animal feed and husbandry/maintenance supplies through the summer and into the fall semester, as well as begin quarantining and testing our reptiles for this parasite.
Reaching $25,000 would ensure we continue to maintain the Museum and to pay our Animal Care tech to lead the adult volunteers until the end of 2020. $42,000 is required to maintain the Museum and continue to pay our Animal Care tech until the end of the 2020-2021 school year. $55,000 will get us through the summer of 2021 and help us to pay summer camp counselors if it is safe again to host summer camp.
The Petaluma Wildlife Museum was created due to the generosity and passion of the community, and it is again up to the courageous and gracious donors of our community to keep the PWM – and its mission of environmental education and wildlife conservation – alive for the 2020-2021 school year.
For more information on our Museum or on Cryptosporidium, the parasite we are currently battling, please use the buttons above.