Home → About the Maine Wildlife Park → Friends of the Maine Wildlife Park
Friends of the Maine Wildlife Park
Who We Are
In 1991, the state legislature proposed closing what was known as the Gray Animal Farm, a facility housing injured and orphaned Maine wild animals located at the site of a fish hatchery in Gray, Maine, operated by Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department.
The proposed closing generated a huge show of support for the Animal Farm from the community and petitions with over 30,000 signatures were presented to the legislature to keep the Farm open. At the same time, the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department discovered unused revenues that would cover the cost of the Farm until plans could be made to find a way to make it self-sufficient.
The Friends formed a cohesive group of volunteers, working with Inland Fisheries and Wildlife staff to help defray state costs and bring more people to the Farm to learn about Maine wildlife. Fundraising efforts began in earnest and the Friends became a 501(C)3 non-profit organization solely in support of the Gray Animal Farm now known as the Maine Wildlife Park.
What We Do
As the Park has grown over the years, so have the number of volunteers and the number of jobs that they can do. We count bears and moose and skunks as our friends, and we do our best to see that their lives are as comfortable and fulfilling as possible.
To do that, some of us plant and maintain gardens. Some welcome the hundreds of visitors to the Park each day and take their ticket money. Some run the Snack Shack--a completely volunteer supported store with shelves stocked full of snacks to delight both old and new. Some write fundraising letters or quarterly newsletters. Some show visitors around the Park and talk about the animals and birds that live here. Some do a little of everything.
Nobody takes a salary, although many of us work hard enough to earn a substantial one. Our rewards come in a different form: the knowledge that we are doing something worth doing, with a bunch of other people worth knowing.
For the animals! None of the wild creatures that populate the Park can survive in the wild—not for long, anyway. A few of the animals, and many of the birds, are permanently incapacitated. Several of the birds have damaged wings and can't fly well enough to make it on their own.
Most of the animals were abandoned or taken from their parents at such an early age they had to be raised by humans, and as a result could never learn how to survive without human help.
That's why the Friends of the Maine Wildlife Park are always looking for volunteers. If you'd like to join us for any amount of time during the spring, summer or fall season, or if you just want to learn more about what we do, check out the volunteer page.
Support Wildlife: Donate Now
A big part of our job is raising a significant portion of the money it takes to keep the Park such a happy place to visit.
Almost all the birds and animals live here in the Park because they couldn’t survive in the wild. Some are injured in ways that won’t heal. Others came to us from private homes or other places where the animals became too accustomed to humans to survive in the wild. To live out happy lives, they need your help.
Your financial contribution works in many ways.
- It helps build their homes, the best can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
- It helps provide veterinary care when the animals need it most.
- It buys the flower seeds the Friends plant to create our beautiful gardens.
- It buys the food supplies for the Snack Shack.
- And so much more.
Hundreds of generous people send us gifts and bequests. Those gifts have made the Park a place where kids can learn about Maine’s wildlife and where grownups can spend pleasant hours away from the pressures of everyday life.
We’re very, very grateful for your gift, whether it’s ten dollars or ten thousand dollars. And we know the wildlife that lives here is grateful, too!