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.

Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Star Trek fans on show’s enduring popularity
Star Trek fans at the Star Trek Convention 2018 talk about why they think the show has stayed popular across the years Thursday, August 2, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nonprofit provides clothing for homeless
Sydney Grover of Can You Spare A Story?, talks about how she founded the non-profit organization. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Family remembers deceased mother
Family members of Adriann Gallegos remember her. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Restoring classic Corvettes to perfection
Members of the National Corvette Restorers Society Convention talk about what it takes to earn the NCRS Top Flight Award for a restored Corvette at South Point in Las Vegas on Tuesday July 17, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Clark County recount votes in commission’s District E primary
Clark County staff begin the recount requested by candidate Marco Hernandez in the democratic primary for the County Commission's District E seat on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Long-running local hip hop producer wants Vegas rappers to shine
Las Vegas Hip Hop producer and co-owner of Digital Insight Recording Studios Tiger Stylz reflects on 30 years of music production in the city. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Construction for new 51s ballpark underway
New home of the Las Vegas 51s is planned to be finished by March 2019 in Summerlin according to team president Don Logan. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like