In response to the devastating wildfires across Australia, The Country School and the Wildlife Rescue of East Hampton have joined forces to host Cocktails for Koalas. The fundraiser for WIRES, Australia’s largest wildlife rescue organization, will take place on Friday, February 7 at The Clubhouse in East Hampton.
“As a wildlife rescue responder and rehabilitator, I feel the devastation to Australia’s wildlife, due to both drought and wildfires, has reached a grand scale. Rescue and rehab teams are overwhelmed and necessary resources and medical supplies are greatly needed,” Dell Cullum, Wildlife Rescue of East Hampton Founder, explained. “When a disaster strikes at home or across the globe, many people come out in force to aide those who need help and comfort. This time, disaster has fallen upon Australia’s precious and abundant wildlife, and they are in desperate need of the same level of help. Thankfully Australia’s wildlife information, rescue, rehab and education organization WIRES is on the scene helping thousands of injured or displaced wildlife species.”
“It’s amazing to see what a group of moms on a mission can accomplish!” Kiley DeMarco, Country School mom/committee member, shared. “From a single idea, a quick meeting at school drop-off, we each volunteered our strength and with Deena’s support, the event was born. What’s going on in Australia is truly devastating; it’s so easy to sit back and say ‘this doesn’t affect me and what can I really do about it?’ Well, you rally a group of passionate people and suddenly, we’re doing something about it, first as a handful of moms, then as a school, then as a whole community.”
From 6 to 8 p.m., attendees will enjoy appetizers, drink specials, music, a silent auction featuring amazing items from local businesses, and more. There will also be complimentary childcare at The Country School (7 Industrial Road, Wainscott) during the event.
“At the Country School, we create an environment where children learn the importance of empathy and compassion. Helping children develop these character traits at an early age will build a better world tomorrow,” Deena Zenger, founder of The Country School, explained.
The world has watched in horror as wildfires have caused devastating destruction throughout more than 7.3 million hectares (17.9 million acres) across Australia’s six states, according to CNN, and taken the lives of 28 people. The tragedy has affected more than 1 billion animals in Australia, ecologists at Sydney University have estimated.
“However, although WIRES is well staffed with amazing and dedicated volunteers, the amount of patients needing help is staggering to even Australia’s largest wildlife rescue & rehab (nonprofit) organization. Supplies have run dangerously low, holding / recovery rooms are full, and volunteers are exhausted yet still, many are continuing to work tirelessly in an effort to minimize the overall loss of Australia’s beautiful wildlife,” Cullum noted. “I feel that all life is connected, particularly between human and animal. Wildlife Rescue of East Hampton is proud to co-host this fundraiser with the Day School, mainly because we’re helping the cause itself, but also because the Day School’s curriculum is based upon positivity, compassion and empathy, and they are extremely animal friendly.”
WIRES received 20,000 calls in December alone, a 14 percent increase from the previous year, and volunteers took part in over 3,300 rescues. Proceeds from Cocktails for Koalas will help WIRES to continue to assist wildlife in distress through rescuing, medical treatment, food, rehabilitation, and shelter. WIRES also offers shelter and supplies to relief volunteers.
“For those who have painfully watched or read about Australia’s drought and wildfires and the millions of animals that were affected, then wondered how they can help, well this event is the absolute perfect way. 100% of all the proceeds will go directly to WIRES, and this is where your kindness will make the biggest impact. In fact, lifesaving,” Cullum concluded.
Admission to Cocktails for Koalas is $30.
To RSVP for the complimentary Cocktails for Koalas childcare, email Deena Zenger at [email protected] or call 631-537-2255.
The Clubhouse is located at 174 Daniels Hole Road in East Hampton. For more information about Cocktails for Koalas, visit www.eventbrite.com. For more information about Cocktails for Koalas, visit www.wires.org.au.