Volunteers work to keep director-less Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary thriving

The world may be filled with animal lovers, but it takes a special breed of people to commit their lives to them.

At Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary, that devotion can be seen in five dedicated individuals who have sacrificed their time to keep the sanctuary afloat after more than 30 years.

“Every nonprofit struggles,” said Sandra Salinas, board member of the sanctuary. “Right now, we’re just trying to get things done. We’re focusing on reintroducing the sanctuary to the community and getting the community to support us again.”

The newly elected board — composed of Salinas; Bruce Eilerts, a biological resources manager and wildlife biologist; William Gilcrease, son of founder Oscar Gilcrease; president Taylor Andrews; and vice president Christina Salamone — is currently operating without an executive director.

Salamone became involved with the sanctuary in 2009 and not just because of her love of animals.

“Bill Gilcrease is my grandfather-in-law,” Salamone said. “My goal is to fulfill Bill’s dreams: to have a self-sustaining nature sanctuary that provides lifelong care for all of its inhabitants and for Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary to become a sanctuary not only for its residents but for our community as well. I want people to visit us and say, ‘Wow. This is the best place possible for these animals.’ “

The sanctuary relies on an endowment from the Gilcrease Orchard, private donations, grants and fundraisers to make ends meet.

Board members focus on providing quality care to animals in need and providing ever-expanding educational and recreational activities for the public.

The biggest challenge is funding, the cost of feed, vet care, and paying the employees, according to Salamone.

“For me, it all started when I went to tour the sanctuary with Bill, and the donkey bit my hand,” Salinas said. “He wouldn’t let go, and it just felt like a car door slammed on my hand. It was so funny and I said, ‘That’s it. I love this place.’ “

Salinas was first nominated to be on the board in 2005.

Since then, she’s tackled financial problems and found ways to keep the sanctuary afloat.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges the sanctuary has faced was the fire that occurred on March 19, 2010.

An electrical wire snapped on a windy night, which caused a blaze that destroyed a peacock habitat and bird housing, Salinas said.

The outcome resulted in the death of 200 birds and the Gilcrease family dog, Zapato.

The sanctuary staff eventually came to terms with the losses, and with the help of community members, they began rebuilding. Now it is home to more than 300 animals, including hundreds of birds, ranging from household pet parakeets to several exotic species of parrots.

The population also includes many farm-raised birds, such as emus, ostriches, chickens and peacocks, and waterfowls from swans to various types of geese.

Despite not having a director, the board recently hired a bird care supervisor to take care of its hundreds of birds.

The sanctuary is not just for birds; other residents include giant tortoises, goats, rabbits, llamas, donkeys, miniature horses and pigs.

It continues to take in animals on a case-by-case basis.

One of its more famous residents is Bambi, a deer who showed up to the sanctuary when she was a baby with her umbilical cord still attached, Salinas said.

“Mr. Gilcrease gave her milk from a nursing goat and showed her how to feed from the goat,” Salinas said. “She survived, and she’s a very good educational species for children to learn about wild animals.”

The sanctuary traces its roots to 1920 when the Gilcrease family of four moved from Reno to the Las Vegas Valley.

Leonard and Elda Gilcrease used an inheritance Elda had received to buy a 1,500-acre parcel of land upon which they hoped to build a new home and a new way of life. Along with their two sons, Bill and Ted, the family came to settle into traditional ranching life, according to the sanctuary’s website, gnslasvegas.org.

Over the years, the Gilcrease ranching operation came to include livestock, pastureland with various crops, and several large orchards.

In 1970, William Gilcrease officially founded the Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary at 8103 Racel St.

In January, the board hopes to start rebuilding the duck pond to create a better system for filtration.

The nonprofit is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Monday and by appointment Tuesday and Wednesday. It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

General admission is $4 for adults and $2 for children 2 to 12. Children younger than 2 and active military personnel with an ID are admitted free.

Committed volunteers are welcome from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

A Winter Wings Celebration is planned from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 12. The event is set to feature arts, crafts and vendors.

“There are people who have lived here for 30 years and never knew we existed,” Salinas said. “Our goal right now is trying to figure out how to recreate ourselves for a new generation.”

— To reach North View reporter Sandy Lopez, email slopez@viewnews.com or call 702-383-4686. Find her on Twitter: @JournalismSandy.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
NFR Day 6 Highlights
Highlights from the 6th go-round of the 2018 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. (CBS Sports Network/PRCA)
Las Vegas Bowl Teams Talk Shop at Maverick Helicopters
Arizona State, Fresno State talk to the media at Maverick Helicopters.
NFR- Will Lowe
NFR Bareback Rider Will Lowe talks with Aaron Drawhorn about his 15 years at the NFR, starting to ride at age 7, and renewing his wedding vowels this year in Las Vegas before night 6 of the National Finals Rodeo.
Veterans Village
Veterans Village and Veterans Village II were created to assist homeless veterans get back on their feet. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holiday party cocktails
Veterans Village II Unveils Model Container Home
Veteran's Village II unveiled a model container home. The organization will be building 10 of these container homes to house veterans of the village. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
NFR Day 5 Highlights
NFR Day 5 Highlights
NFR- Kory Koontz
NFR Team Roper Kory Koontz talks about his years at the event since 1992, his dynamic with a 23 year old partner Dustin Egusquiza, and how he contines to perform with diabetes with Aaron Drawhorn outside of Thomas & Mack before round 5 of the National Rodeo Finals.
Meet the woman behind the Las Vegas Bowl
Melissa Meacham-Grossman is the associate executive director for the Las Vegas Bowl. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NFR Highlights Day 4
NFR highlights day 4
NFR Introduces Golden Circle Of Champions
For the first time, the National Finals Rodeo has partnered with the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo to offer the Golden Circle of Champions. The event brings in 20 children and their families from around the country that have previously or are currently fighting life-threatening cancer.
NFR Time Lapse 2018
Watch Thomas & Mack Center transform from a basketball court to an arena fit for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. Video courtesy of Las Vegas Events.
RJ's Mark Anderson on the UNLV loss
Review-Journal sports reporter Mark Anderson recaps UNLV's loss at Illinois. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Joel Ntambwe on performance against Illinois
UNLV forward Joel Ntambwe talks about the 18 points he scored against Illinois. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Amauri Hardy on loss at Illinois
UNLV guard Amauri Hardy talks about Saturday's loss at Illinois. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Marvin Menzies on loss at Illinois
UNLV basketball coach Marvin Menzies talks about Saturday's loss at Illinois. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Baby Roman's mother and his doctor talk about his medical condition
Baby Roman's mother and his doctor talk about his medical condition. Roman was born Dec. 13, 2017 and has been at Sunrise Children Hospital with a rare heart condition since. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
NFR 2018: Unique Gifts At Cowboy Christmas
Before you head over to the Thomas and Mack for NFR, be sure to check out some of the unique and one of a kind items at Cowboy Christmas!
NFR: Dale Brisby
Day two of the National Finals Rodeo has started and Premier Vegas Sports host Cassies Soto interviews social media influencer Super Puncher Dale Brisby.
103-year-old celebrates birthday at gym
Joe Rosa of Las Vegas celebrated his 103rd birthday celebration at 24 Hour Fitness in Summerlin Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. After being the victim of a hit-and-run crash, Rosa's medical team told him he would never walk again. Rosa credits physical therapy and a personal trainer at the club for his return to health. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Henderson native Mason Clements finished second in NFR bareback go-round
Mason Clements discusses his second-place bareback ride on opening night of the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec 6, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Marvin Menzies on where UNLV stands at this point
UNLV basketball coach Marvin Menzies talks about where UNLV stands at this point in the season. (Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Public memorial service for Jerry Herbst
The Mob Museum
Saddle bronc rider Joey Sonnier earns spot at NFR after overcoming years of drug addiction
Joey Sonnier started saddle bronc riding at 18, but at 20 he began using methamphetamine to cope with the work of the rodeos and became addicted. At 39, after years of addiction and a low point that pushed him to rehab, he's qualified for the National Finals Rodeo. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Core Arena opens at the Plaza downtown in time for NFR
Core Arena, downtown's first permanent outdoor equestrian center, opens to the public at the Plaza. The arena will be used for events throughout the year, including the 10-day 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas
MountainView Hospital celebrates the opening of the new Sunrise Health GME Simulation Center.
MountainView Hospital celebrates the opening of the new Sunrise Health GME Simulation Center. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
NFR Preps Livestock for the Limelight
NFR’s Jed Pugsley discusses the care that goes into preparing the rodeo’s livestock for Las Vegas’ big event.
Grand Menorah lighting begins Hanukkah
Rabbi Shea Harlig led the ceremonial lighting of the menorah to begin Hanukkah at the Fremont Street Experience. There were also performances by the Desert Torah Academy's choir and the Dancing Dreidels. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Perla Gumm has spent the past few years collecting toys for kids for the LV Rescue Mission
Perla Gumm has spent the past few years collecting toys for kids for the LV Rescue Mission. It's something she started even before the rescue mission was her beneficiary; she just felt a need to collect toys and teamed up with them later. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Tony Sanchez wraps up the UNLV season
UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez wraps up the season. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like