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Shuswap’s Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge reopening after two-year break

Volunteer Day set for April 23 following by reopening for weekend visitors April 30
The Shuswap’s Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge will hold a Volunteer Day on April 23 followed by a reopening to visitors on April 30, 2022. (Photo contributed)

After a two-year closure during the pandemic, the well-loved donkeys at the Shuswap’s Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge will once again be welcoming their admirers.

Founder Shirley Mainprize announced in a media release that the donkey refuge is hosting its Volunteer Day on Saturday, April 23 leading up to the reopening of the refuge to visitors.

“We hope to see new and old friends here to help us get the refuge ready for our visitor season. We’d love help with painting, gardening, tidying the yards during this day where we invite everyone out to the refuge.”

Mainprize noted participants are encouraged to wear work clothes and pack a lunch. She said she is hoping to recruit some new faces for donkey grooming, gardening and to help with future events.

“The Memorial Garden is one of our big projects this year, and we do have a few volunteers on board for planning, building and plant care, but we are hoping there may be more people looking for an opportunity to get outside, make new friends and lend a helping hand.”

Following Volunteer Day, the refuge will be open for Donkey Visits on weekends starting April 30. Visitors will be able to drop in on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

For those concerned about social distancing, or just looking for a quieter day, Tuesdays are available to be pre-booked for up to 15 guests during a two-hour visiting block.

“We wanted to give visitors a chance to see the donkeys during the week, and our new Quiet Tuesday helps us to accommodate any guests who might be worried about a crowd,” said Mainprize.

This year the donkey refuge is also offering a new program for seniors which is partially funded by the New Horizons for Seniors, a grant from the federal government.

The ‘Grandma/Grandpa & Me – All About Donkeys Program’ is for a person 55 years or older and a youth from eight to 16 years to come to the refuge together and learn the basics of donkey care and grooming.

The program will run on Saturdays, May 14, 28 and June 11, and includes a donkey-care class, a vegetarian lunch and an optional walk with the donkeys in the afternoon. Preregistration is required. You’re asked to go to for more details on this and other events.

Read more: Mammoths roam Shuswap donkey refuge

Read more: Shuswap donkey refuge closed to the public due to COVID-19
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Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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