Coral Springs gala to help injured, orphaned wildlife

The Sawgrass Nature Center is offering people in the community a chance to enjoy an evening of fun while doing their bit to help injured wildlife.

Metamorphosis Gala, the facility’s biggest fundraiser of the year, will take place Nov. 20, 6 p.m., at Heron Bay in Parkland. The money generated from the event will be used to support the activities and programs of the center that rehabilitate injured and orphaned native wildlife.

“We hope to have about 170 people at the event,” said Allan Rose, the center executive director. “We raised $30,000 last year; we hope to do even better this time. The city has backed us in everything that we do; we are also looking to have great support from the business community.”

“We have a lot of supporters; they are generous because they know the money is used for a good cause,” said Wendy Wangberg, president of the board of directors of the center.

“We get people from all over South Florida; last year, we even had a couple from Tampa.”

Ron Magill, wildlife expert and communications director of the Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens, will be the chief guest at the event. Among the other highlights will be a blind and a live auction. A part of the live auction will be a six-day safari to South Africa for two people; the value of the safari is $5,950 without the airfare. Among the other items will be an autographed print by famous painter Guy Harvey.

The center will present the “Shining Star” Award this year to Coral Springs Construction Project Manager Ron Stein for his contributions to the facility.

“Ron has done a lot for us; he connects us with the people who provide us services,” said Rose. “He and his wife both volunteer at the center as well.”

The center is now preparing to open a new habitat that will house a gopher tortoise and a burrowing owl. A burrow, for children to simulate burrowing, is also being readied.

Artist Jan Kolenda, who is currently busy working on a gopher tortoise exhibit near the new habitat, has seen the center grow over the last few years.

“They are adding more habitats; their programs are developing. I see a big change in the last couple of years. I teach nature-inspired pottery classes, as well as tile-making classes two times a year at the center.”

“This has been kind of a transitional year,” Wangberg said.

“We have a new ways of looking at things now. There are a lot of things in the works. We hope we will continue to get a lot of support from the community.”

Tickets for the gala are $85 each, and $75 for nature center members.

The fundraiser will take place at Plaza del Lago in Heron Bay, 11535 Osprey Trail, in Parkland. For tickets and information, call the nature center at 954-752-9453, or visit Sawgrass

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