Panel to feature speakers from three nonprofits
The Goleta and Santa Ynez Valley libraries are hosting a panel called “Rescued: Bonds between Humans and Animals.”
The program will stream live at 2 p.m. Thursday on Facebook.
The panel consists of Robin Serritslev, the executive director of the Santa Ynez Valley Therapeutic Riding Program; C.C. Beaudette-Wellman, the board president of the Happy Endings Animal Sanctuary, and Ariana Katovich, the executive director of Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network.
“All three of these groups are to be celebrated for their work with both wild and domestic animals, and for the opportunities they offer for healing to both animals and humans,” library staff said in a statement. “We can’t wait to hear their individual stories and insights.”
The event is part of the libraries’ Book to Action reading program.
The program focuses on the book “Strays: A Lost Cat, a Homeless Man & Their Journey Across America” by Britt Collins. It’s about the true story of Michael King, a homeless man living in Portland who befriends a cat that changes his life forever.
One of the Thursday panel’s speakers, Mrs. Katovich, told the News-Press that as executive director of the Santa Barbara Wildlife Network, she sees first hand the connection between people and animals.
“We have so many stories about people caring for animals,” the UCSB graduate said. “Wildlife Care Network operates because of citizens’ connection to animals. People bring animals in that are hurt or whatever, and we get to see a wonderful side of people.”
The network’s mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and return to the wild sick, injured, orphaned or oil-impaired wild birds, reptiles, and small mammals in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties and to educate the public about living in harmony with wildlife.
With around 300 volunteers each year, Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network has already cared for approximately 3,500 animals so far in 2020. Mrs. Katovich said although the nonprofit had to hire more seasonal staff due to a lower number of volunteers, the organization has seen an 8% increase in animals this year. She added that she finds it amazing that with so much happening in the world (including the pandemic), people are still willing to leave their house and help animals that are in distress.
Similar to Wildlife Care Network, the Happy Endings Animal Sanctuary’s mission is to provide refuge to abused or neglected horses and other domestic animals and uplift the lives of disadvantaged youth by providing a life-changing rehabilitation experience benefiting both children and horses. The program helps the youths regardless of the families’ ability to pay.
The SYV Therapeutic Riding Program was founded in 1990 and offers lessons four days a week at the Santa Ynez Valley Equestrian Center.
In addition to hosting Thursday’s panel, the Goleta and Santa Ynez Valley libraries’ Book to Action program is organizing a donation drive for local organizations that help animals.
Until Aug. 21, the donation drive will raise money to provide essential supplies and materials to continue helping local animals in need by donating to Animal Shelter Assistance Program, C.A.R.E.4 PAWS, Santa Ynez Valley Therapeutic Riding, Happy Endings Animal Sanctuary and Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network.