Eureka Springs, Ark. - Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge [TCWR] will celebrate 28 years of rescuing big cats in May, but due to COVID-19, the organization is temporarily closed to the public for the first time since its inception.


To stay connected to the community and raise funds to support their animal residents, TCWR will be hosting an online anniversary celebration Tuesday, May 5, in conjunction with #GivingTuesdayNow.


TCWR supporters are likely familiar with “Giving Tuesday,” an international day of giving that typically occurs the Tuesday immediately following Black Friday and Cyber Monday during the holidays. The #GivingTuesdayNow initiative was created to boost nonprofits who have been affected by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge typically sees peak numbers in Spring and Summer. The funds raised from admission, events, and gift shop sales during this time provide crucial support to the nearly 90 animals who call the refuge home all year long. Because of the temporary closure to protect team members, guests, and animals from the virus, TCWR is attempting to find creative ways to both support their animal residents and keep their community of supporters from feeling isolated and disconnected from those very animals whom they love.


Tuesday, May 5, promises a day of online celebration. Refuge team members will be flooding their Facebook (facebook.com/TurpentineCreekWildlifeRefuge), Instagram and Twitter (both @turpentinecreek) with live videos so “guests” can “visit” from their living rooms, as well as games and engaging posts to foster connection between those who may be feeling sad or isolated.


The organization will also be hosting an online auction the same day through Bidding Owl (https://bit.ly/ShopWithTurp) featuring unique items such as “paw-paintings” and memorabilia made from former big cat enrichment toys. Bidders will also have the chance to win virtual experiences, such as private tours and one-on-one video chats.


In honor of #GivingTuesdayNow and TCWR’s 28 years of providing forever homes to abandoned, abused and neglected big cats, the refuge invites supporters to make a symbolic donation of $2.80, $28, $280 and so on during the May 5 event. Donations are welcome any time before or after at tcwr.org/donate.