A Year of Memories

A Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all. I thank you for all your enthusiasm for and support of Fossil Rim this past year.

It has been a good year in many ways. Visitor numbers are up nicely on last year by about 12% thanks to the word-of-mouth effect from our visitors, volunteers and members but also to excellent work from our Marketing/PR/Membership Department on the internet and our Tourism Department on customer care and appreciation.

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Somervell County Free Day. Visitors who work or live in Somervell County get free admission if they bring two cans of food per person to give to the Somervell County food bank. Fossil Rim collected over 1,500lbs of food and everyone had a great time!

Education camps and programs have also experienced an uptick as the Education Department’s outreach efforts gain momentum in the public, private and home school environments.

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The Lorax program focusing on the responsible management of natural resources. Presented by education staff and interns to siblings of children who have serious or terminal illnesses from Cooks Children’s Hospital.

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Mark Phillips from Education shows children fossils that were found on Fossil Rim’s property.

On the conservation, research and animal front much positive has occurred, with healthy animals, many births including three cheetah litters, a newly arrived African cat species (to be announced soon), the launching of a new initiative with primary involvement from Fossil Rim to foster exotic hoofstock sustainability especially on private ranches, continued fieldwork in North Africa with the Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF) and its scimitar-horned oryx reintroduction program to the Republic of Chad, the best ever production of 351 Attwater’s prairie chickens for release beating the previous 2008 banner year by 23%, and finally in postgrad research projects with colleagues at Tarleton State University, Texas A&M and the Smithsonian Institution to mention just a few.

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On October 1st, a litter of 5 cheetah cubs was born at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. This litter consists of 2 males and 3 females. The cubs are doing great and just turned 10 weeks old. The cubs mother, Meadow, is a 4 year old female and this was her first litter. She has proved to be a wonderful mother. The cubs father, Bruce, is a 9 year old male and this is his 4th litter.

The sable antelope is one of the four hoofstock species being prioritized in a new initiative to create sustainable wildlife populations through cooperation with the private sector.

The sable antelope is one of the four hoofstock species being prioritized in a new initiative to create sustainable wildlife populations through cooperation with the private sector.

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The Chad Oryx Reintroduction Project is a joint initiative of the Government of Chad and the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi (EAD).

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2014 was the best ever production of 351 Attwater’s prairie chickens for release beating the previous 2008 banner year by 23%.

Our Finances, IT and HR Departments, mostly not in the limelight by the nature of their behind-the-scenes work, have nevertheless made significant contributions in financial and personnel administration, training and orientation of new personnel, in our enjoyment of fast and reliable communications with as well as enquiries and reservations from the outside world and internally and, very significantly, in Fossil Rim’s virtual operational financial self-sufficiency from on-site generated revenues. Great strides have been made by our Development Department, with recent events involving Fossil Rim in a big way at Gilley’s in Dallas with Willie Nelson and other country stars, and at the Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco with the Texas Legends basketball team.

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Nov22-86 Fossil Rim Jersey Night with Texas Legends. November 28, 2014

Our participation in this past September’s North Texas Giving Day for only the second time produced a record contribution of over $36,000, with the best of it being staff contributions of over $3,000 from their own pockets, which leveraged another $3,000 matching donation from a Board member!

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Of course, not everything goes well, and we experienced that in mid-February when our rustic 30+ year old gift store burned down late one cold night from an electrical fault.

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RS25264_IMG_1743 Fossil Rim Nature Store fire. February 2014.

Mercifully, there were no injuries to staff or visitors or animals or the outstanding firefighters from the Somervell County Fire Department, nor damage to any other of the nearby buildings – always a silver lining somewhere in a disaster! So, with help from insurances, individual donations, grants awarded by foundations, and wonderful support from our vendors, a new gift store is nearing completion along with an expansion of the Overlook parking lot and a re-organization of the entry and exit routes to the Overlook. All told it’s a $1.3m project and should be completed on budget and schedule, by the end of January. Our Support Services Department is project managing this with outstanding attention to detail, budget and schedule. We had to raise about 35% of this. Thanks to generous individuals and foundations, we are almost there but are still in need of around $70,000. So, please consider Fossil Rim as a beneficiary during your Christmas time of kindness and generosity – every $1 helps.

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inside New Nature Store in construction. Hopeful to have a grand opening early 2015.

Once again, our many dedicated volunteers have come up trumps, and supported Fossil Rim operations with their own labor and time in so many different ways. They lead most of our guided tours, helped with the education camps and programs, and are Fossil Rim’s energetic ambassadors out there. We are thankful to them.

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Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elf on Dream Day, an annual event to give a memorable day to children and families in the Glen Rose area.

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Volunteers helping promote Fossil Rim on North Texas Giving Day in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square.

In addition to all the above, we had another great year for intern training. Some 14 interns in animal care, 2 in IT, and 7 in education spent 3-4 months each at Fossil Rim gaining hands-on real life experience doing the job and learning from their supervisors. We also hosted 7 vet preceptors in training during the year. We are proud of Fossil Rim’s intern and vet preceptor programs, some of which have been running for close to 30 years now.

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Fossil Rim interns dressed as the Powder Puff Girls at the Children’s Animal Center’s Halloween Extravaganza event in October.

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Intern assisting veterinarian Holly Haefele on an addax neonate exam.

Lastly, our nine member Board of Directors has diligently and enthusiastically supported our mission and operations all through the year. Their strengths and experiences continue to be a wonderful asset to Fossil Rim. We are grateful to them.

On behalf of the Board, our staff and volunteers, I wish you a peaceful and joyous Christmas, and a prosperous New Year.

 

Dr. Pat Condy

Executive Director

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