Guest Column: Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary needs your help!

By Beth Randall

How about a LOCAL project that can be built and operated with NO taxpayer/public funds, create new jobs, bring thousands of new tourists, showcase eco-friendly building and operating techniques, complete a caring mission that will be featured in national and international media, all this up and operating within six months to a year?!

Sound good?

Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary’s proposed “green” facility can do all this, now! IF we can place first or second in the 250k level of the Pepsi Refresh Everything Contest. As of this writing, we are in 78th place out of several hundred entries. With the support of the community, voting once a day every day, we can bring this exciting project to life! Vote at You do have to sign in first.

You also get 10 votes per day (one per project) so you can still vote for the other local projects in the contest (Rockford Park District, Barbara Olson Center) which, by the way, are NOT competing with Critter Camp because they are in different levels!

The proposed building will be located on Route 20 between Freeport and Rockford. Critter Camp’s wildly popular tours bring an average of 1,000 people each year to its current location in a private home in German Valley with little to no advertising. People have come from Texas, Canada, even overseas to take our educational tour and meet the more than 300 abandoned, abused unusual pets that make Critter Camp their home. The new facility will likely see 10- to 20,000 visitors per year, people who would not otherwise have come to the Northwest Corridor.

We will be able to care for thousands of small, homeless discarded pets, often literally—we have taken in pets that were found in Dumpsters and trash cans, sometimes still in their cages. The facility will also provide education regarding many different types of pets, what to plan for, what to expect, and how to determine whether or not you should opt for a hamster, rabbit or parrot. We will even hold spay/neuter clinics for small animals like rabbits (reproductive cancer is the leading cause of premature death in pet rabbits!) and likely expand that to include dogs and cats as well. The facility will use passive and active solar and wind power, composting, a greenhouse and garden for fresh food for the animals, and more.

Critter Camp is supported by private donations and corporate grants; we do not receive any government or public funding. So again, PLEASE VOTE every day: Share with your friends and family. Help us bring this innovative project to the Northwest Corridor! Together, we can do this!

Beth Randall is director of Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary, 824 Church St., German Valley, IL 61039, phone (815) 266-1342. website: E-mail:

From the Aug. 18-24, 2010 issue

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