Pictured: Volunteers in front of the Africa Barn at The Elephant Sanctuary. Hayden Bass, shown sixth from left.
Every year, The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee hosts Volunteer Days that bring volunteers from all around the country to Lewis County and The Sanctuary. These day-long volunteer service opportunities can include making enrichment for the elephants, painting barn stalls, clearing brush from fence lines, and planting fruit trees. This year, more than 200 volunteers are scheduled to attend 14 volunteer days. Some travel from as far away as New York or California, and some come from right here in Hohenwald.
Through the Lewis County Education Foundation, The Elephant Sanctuary awards scholarships to graduating seniors from Lewis County High School. In addition to submitting an essay application and taking part in an interview with The Sanctuary’s education staff, award recipients are asked to participate in an on-site volunteer day at The Sanctuary. This year, three students, Hayden Bass, Trinity Runions, and Jessica Fall were the recipients of this scholarship. Hayden Bass shares his experience volunteering at The Sanctuary:
“I had the privilege to volunteer one Saturday, in the month of May, for The Elephant Sanctuary. It was an eye-opening experience. We met up at The Discovery Center at 8:00 a.m. and sat in on a presentation by Todd Montgomery. It was so neat to see all the people from different backgrounds that came out to help volunteer. There were couples from Oregon, Memphis, Nashville, etc. I loved meeting people that I now consider friends. After that, we went out to beautify The Discovery Center’s Outdoor Classroom by pulling weeds and putting out mulch. We then carpooled to The Elephant Sanctuary to help make the elephants some enrichment activities. Following that, we painted barn walls and a couple of barn stalls. I’m thankful for The Elephant Sanctuary for giving me this opportunity to help out. I learned about the purpose of The Sanctuary and one of the many things that brings so many people to the place I call home.”