Hollywild Animal Park, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit located in Wellford, S.C., that shelters and cares for “nearly 500 non-releasable animals native to five world continents” has been awarded an Americorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) team to work on an infrastructure project.
From Jan. 11–March 14, a team of eight to 10 individuals from across the United States, collectively putting in 2,500 hours of labor, will work “to improve the infrastructure of and area around a pond in the park to reduce erosion, strengthen the resource and create an educational focal point for indigenous wildlife,” according to a press release. The area, which is located near the park’s new education center, requires both aesthetic and structural upgrades, including new signage, a new bridge and a redefined and rebuilt boundary.
The team members — young adults between ages 18–24 — are part of a service-learning group that will travel to four different work sites across the country over the course of 11 months. During their time in the group, team members are provided “a living allowance,” and, at the end of the program, are awarded “$5,775 toward college expenses.”
Jack Spoon, a Hollywild board member and retired Milliken executive, proposed applying for the Americorp NCCC grant over a year ago. Together, he and executive director Kim Atchley worked on the application process, which involved meeting with program representatives in South Carolina, Missouri and Kentucky and undergoing two separate application stages. Once their application was approved, on Dec. 16, a program representative visited the park for a six-hour on-site visit. On Jan. 3, the specific “dynamics of the team awarded to Hollywild will be reviewed in depth with the team’s leader during a conference call.” The team will arrive on Jan. 11 to begin their work.
“This is a national award and a very big accomplishment for us,” said Atchley in a press release. “Our internal team of staff and volunteers has been working to reclaim areas of the park that had been underused or fallen into disrepair. Having an outside team come in and focus on a big project like this saves us an incredible amount of money and time. With our current resources, it might have been years before we could have afforded to hire the labor to do this project.”
During the length of the project, team members will stay on-site at the park. Inman First Baptist Church has partnered with Hollywild to allow the team to use their shower facilities. The park is also reaching out to local businesses to request “hospitality donations” and supplies. Although the team will be using reclaimed and reused materials for the new construction when appropriate, “fencing and water-impervious lumber or decking to build the educational stations” are also needed.
Parties interested in contributing materials or hospitality donations can call Hollywild at 864-472-2038 or email [email protected].