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And how should a beautiful, ignorant stream of water know it heads for an early release - out across the desert, running toward the Gulf, below sea level, to murmur its lullaby, and see the Imperial Valley rise out of burning sand with cotton blossoms, wheat, watermelons, roses, how should it know?

~Carl Sandburg, Good Morning America, 1928
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Written by Marjorie Holt   
Friday, February 25 2011


Back to Nature Wildlife Refuge & Education Center

A popular wildlife refuge is facing an uncertain future in the tough economic times.

Curator Debbie Helsel said bills are piling up, and times are tough for the nonprofit organization.

"We have between a month and two months to be honest," Helsel said.

The Back to Nature Wildlife Refuge has been caring for all kinds of wild animals in Orange County for 22 years.

"Not only is it our job, but it's our life. We rely on these animals just as they rely on us," Helsel said.

The wildlife refuge is now faced with the unthinkable.

"If the public doesn't help support what we do, there is a great possibility that it could go away," Helsel said.

"It's (been) increasingly tough to keep our donations coming in," Kelly Geckler said. "The number of animals we are getting is increasingly greater."

Geckler talked about her around-the-clock job of rescuing, rehabilitating and educating. She said her place of employment provides an important service to the residents of Central Florida.

"Every day, we get phone calls and emails about concerns about wildlife ... they have found or that they have seen injured," Geckler said. "They need our help, and from there we take over."

Orange County has previously helped Back to Nature with land deals and leases. The refuge is aiming for an ultimate goal of $500,000 to move to a new facility off Narcoossee Road.

For now, sanctuary workers just hoping to keep the lights on over the next few months.

"We know there are people out there that can help us. They just need to find out about us," Helsel said.



Please pass this on even $20 will help them stay open and continue their wonderful work



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