A club with SAIT has united their green thumbs to raise money for a good cause at Cobb’s Adventure Park.
Cobb’s has an Exotic Animal Rescue and Education Foundation, along with a petting zoo, with kangaroos, wallabies, alpacas, tortoises, and much more.
However, the exotic animals that are rescued by Cobb’s are from people that realize they aren’t fit to take care of the animals.
“We had somebody drive up when we were open and just throw a rabbit over the fence and walk away,” said Cameron Gall, SAIT instructor and Enactus SAIT faculty advisor.
“Every year, 40 animals get dropped off here because people can’t look after them.”
Enactus SAIT wants to raise $28,000 as part of their Flora and Fauna campaign for Cobb’s Exotic Animal Rescue. The campaign is the Kangaroo’s Garden Centre, which will sell flowers and plants.
The Cobb’s Exotic Animal Rescue and Education Foundation is where the proceeds from the Kangaroo’s Garden Centre will go.
Furthermore, the vet bills and food bills that Cobb’s has to pay for their rescues is upwards of $240,000 dollars a year, according to Gall.
“The idea of this is not to just do it this year. We want to do bigger and better next year,” said Kayla Arthur, Enactus SAIT president and project manager of Flora and Fauna.
“I want to grow it and I want to do more with it.”
Exotic Animals tended to
Cobb’s is owned by Mike and Maureen Sheppard, who have been friends with Gall for many years.
The Sheppards also own Halloween & Entertainment Expo (HEX), Screamfest, Pumpkins After Dark, The Horror Festival, Cetus Automotive Repair Centres, and Firebolt Engine Installation Centres.
In addition to all the different animals at Cobb’s, there are 48 wallabies and kangaroos that have climatized to the winters of Alberta.
“This farm here has been around for eight years,” said Gall.
“Mike started this because [Maureen] is not allergic to kangaroos but allergic to everything else.”
Despite the increase of animals entering their care, the Sheppards went into SAIT and visited Gall’s classes to talk about their journey with Cobb’s.
“It’s really inspiring to talk to them,” said Arthur.
“They were talking about their journey and how all of this started and how all of it went. It was fascinating. And it was so inspiring to listen to them.”
Arthur was approached by Gall to lead the project after the Sheppards talked about wanting to set up a garden centre. While it could have been done at a different date, Arthur ran with it.
“They (students) decided that they wanted to put this whole business together this year,” said Gall.
“And they had to find the product, source the product, create the marketing, create the Facebook campaign, staff it, figured out how to set everything up, and solve all the problems that we’ve had.”
Plants for sale to support animals
Arthur hand-picked all the plants and flowers for sale in the Garden Centre, and she did this to align with the climate of Alberta, but to also align with UN’s 17 sustainable goals.
The plant selection are there to support native pollinators. Pollinator populations have been adversely affected by climate change, according to Arthur.
“I put the spin on it to make sure all the plants helped to support native pollinators,” said Arthur.
“Their stability really helps. It helps with our food. It helps with our ecosystems, it helps with everything.”
All the plants that Enactus SAIT are selling are paid for by Cobb’s, with their own finances of $3,600 being used for marketing and advertising of the event.
In addition, when customers purchase more than $100 in plants, they will receive a 50 per cent discount on the entrance fee into Cobb’s Adventure Park. This can be claimed anytime after purchase when they are open.
Cobb’s Adventure Park is open on the weekends, while the Garden Centre will be open throughout the week.
The event runs from May 21 – June 26, 2022.
“While it’s great to raise money for a charity, part of what Enactus does is also try to make a bigger impact,” said Arthur.
“Let’s use this to do even more good, rather than just raising money.”
Alejandro Melgar is a second-year graduating student in the online-print journalism stream. He is the editor-in-chief of The Emery Weal and is a contributor. You can find his work on LiveWire Calgary and on his website here.