Tree Toss is a special “open park” event; visitors can independently walk the path and spend time with the animals that interest them most. Visitors will also have a chance to create toys that will then be distributed to the Center’s animal residents during the event. “That’s my favorite part of the event,” says event coordinator Diana Saluga. “Seeing people from the community have the opportunity to create things our animals love.”
Tree Toss is a long-standing tradition for the Center. “Years ago, one of our board members approached Cranberry Tree Farm and asked if they’d be willing to donate their unsold Christmas trees for our animals,” says Mindy Stinner, founder and executive director of the Center. “At first the gathering was just our volunteers and a few family members. Each year the tradition grew, and more people wanted to come see the animals get their trees. Eventually we had to host two dates because the first kept selling out!” Keepers and volunteers will place these trees in the animals’ habitats at the beginning of Tree Toss.
“Every animal enjoys enrichment in their own personal way,” says Stinner. “Some of them are very cautious and approach new things slowly: sniffing them, poking them gently with a paw or a nose. Some can’t wait to race over and see what’s going on.”