Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

First Responder Days

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

The sanctuary is no stranger to relying on the kindness of our community’s first responders. In 2012 we were faced with the terrifying Taylor Bridge Fire, a huge wild fire that threatened and destroyed many homes in our area. Last year another smaller fire broke out on a nearby property.

We know that wildfire is a risk during the summer in this area, and the chimp house was built with that in mind. We have emergency plans in place and now have a sprinkler system that surrounds the building. Still, for each of these events, we were very fortunate to have the Kittitas County Fire Department protecting the chimpanzees’ home. We are incredibly grateful for their service to the community. This year we arranged a couple of special visits for the county’s first responders to come meet the chimpanzees and get more information on our building and property. Last weekend Kittitas County Fire District #7 came out.


Of course, Ellie/Buttons had to say hello to some of her old friends:


And today we welcomed District #1 from Thorp. As soon as Jamie saw the black rugged boots everyone was wearing, she took off on a walk around Young’s Hill and we all accompanied:

Most of the other chimpanzees also came out to see what was going on.

Today’s amazing group from Kittitas County Fire District 1. It was so nice to meet everyone in a non-emergency setting!:






Saturday, May 13th, 2017

It’s finally here! Our biggest fundraiser of the year, our annual Hoot! Gala and Spring Fling celebration! And while the humans are on their way to one of the most unique and exciting parties in the city, they aren’t the only people partying. The chimps are having their own celebration with a dinner of field roast and roasted sweet potato on a bed of lettuce and cabbage, sparkling cider, and a huge forage with sweet onions, corn on the cob, and fresh coconuts:

On this one day of the year, we have to get the chimps settled in earlier than usual so that staff working in the chimp house have time to get spiffed up and head to the gala. Routine and the comfort and security of knowing what to expect are important to the chimps and we don’t want to veer from that more than necessary or have them getting bored with a little more time on their hands, so a sure fire way to keep everyone active, happy and engaged is to set out an exciting forage cut into teeny, tiny pieces.

Annie sitting in a field of forage:

Burrito was beside himself, as usual when there’s food involved (that’s Jody behind him):

Jamie likes to drag a table around with her during forages for easier collection:

She decided to eat the field roast first and save the rest for later:

While Jamie was occupied elsewhere, Burrito bravely decided to steal her leftover dinner “boats.” I braced myself for Jamie to scream at the top of her lungs (her tactic when someone is touching – or even thinking about touching – something she doesn’t want them to), but she must have decided she found something else worth her attention and Burrito scooped them up without issue and food squeaked to celebrate:

Annie mid food grunt (you can just make out Negra’s ear as she sits in the sunny window below Annie enjoying her dinner with a view):

Jody, ever the adventurous foodie, was collecting corn cobs:

Foxie and Missy were ladies of the loft for this one and out of sight of the camera.

Anna, myself and volunteer, Helen, put the chimps’ dinner out a couple hours ago and Jamie is still foraging!

The chimps are completely silent as I write this so I just went to check on everyone. And who did I find, but this guy, fighting off a food coma in the last sun puddle of the day:

Somehow he mustered enough energy to still be an adorable goof:

But it was so hard:

There are some crazy amazing items of this guy (and more!) up for auction tonight. To all of you who have helped sponsor this amazing celebration, volunteers who have helped plan this party of all parties, to all those working to make it special for our guests, those who are attending the gala and making it so much fun, those who will be raising your paddles high or who have been pre-bidding online, and those of you cheering us on from home, there aren’t enough words of thanks to each of you for making everything that you do, possible. You make this sanctuary for these seven amazing chimpanzees a home. A home filled with love, comfort, joy, adventure and healing. And we hope a home for others, who are awaiting their day in their own sun puddles.

Hoots of love and gratitude from all of us to all of you! Have a fantastic evening and check in tomorrow for our celebration of Jody’s birthday and Mother’s Day! Yep, that’s how we roll in the chimp house…party, after party. Hopefully, Burrito is revived by then…

HOOT! Sponsors: Merritt and John Atwood

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

This is the seventh in our series of blog posts celebrating sponsors of the HOOT! 2017 Spring Fling gala.

Past posts celebrated Poppoff, Inc., Martha Faulkner Real Estate, Darwin’s Natural Pet Products, Jennifer and David Roers, Tracy Headley, and Pam Lehnert & Marc Warner.


Today is in honor of HOOT! sponsors Merritt and John Atwood.


Merritt shared how she learned about the sanctuary and why she supports the chimps.


“I first heard of CSNW in 2010 when I saw an article in the Seattle Times  (I think). Always an animal lover, I wanted to help.  What a great mission: to care for chimpanzees who had been caged up for years and used for biomedical research.”

And she has been a loyal donor ever since!

Merritt spends much of her time helping animals. She was a long time volunteer at the Humane Society in Bellevue, WA. Then, after moving to Whidbey Island, she became a supporter of Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation (WAIF). She is now in the 9th year on their board and is as committed as ever to bettering the lives of animals.

Merritt hasn’t visited Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in person, but she follows along on social media, as I know most of you out there do too.

When presented with one of the most challenging questions there is: Who is your favorite chimpanzee?, her response was: “It’s really hard to say which chimpanzee is my favorite.  Maybe Burrito for holding his own with all the ladies,  and looking as though he is enjoying himself immensely!”

Based on the video posted yesterday of Burrito playing with Foxie, I would say the assessment of his enjoyment is pretty accurate.

In true animal-lover form, rather than sending me a photo of herself and John, Merritt shared photos of her beloved companion animals.


This is sweet Nelson, who came from WAIF and passed away last year:


And this is Henrietta, who the Atwoods brought to their home in 2009 from Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue. She is about 12 years old now:

I have absolutely loved doing these HOOT! sponsor posts. It’s uplifting to me to share information about caring people and to be able to thank them for their generosity in this way, and I’ve learned new things about each of them in the process.

Big thanks to Merritt and John for your support of the Cle Elum Seven chimpanzees and for all that you have done for animals in your local communities – you have made a tangible difference in so many ways.


The 2017 HOOT! Spring Fling is just a few days away! There’s still time to support the event with your donation, and there are just a few seats left if you’ve been procrastinating buying tickets. Anyone can also preview auction items and put in absentee bids on three items right here.

hoot logo

HOOT! Sponsors: Poppoff, Inc.

Monday, May 8th, 2017

Today is in honor of HOOT! sponsor Poppoff, Inc.

This is the sixth in our series of blog posts celebrating sponsors of the HOOT! 2017 Spring Fling gala.

Past posts celebrated Martha Faulkner Real Estate, Darwin’s Natural Pet Products, Jennifer and David Roers, Tracy Headley, and Pam Lehnert & Marc Warner.


Poppoff Logo

Poppoff, Inc. is a family-owned concrete contracting business based in Washington, though they work all over the world.


Gay Dorsey, wife to Mike Poppoff, was the first to become aware of the chimpanzee sanctuary. She learned about the chimps when former executive director Sarah read her fashion blog “Not Quite Palm Springs” and decided Jamie should be featured because of her wardrobe of cowboy boots, scarves, and tutus (yes, Jamie used to wear tutus quite a bit – we are happy that her fashion sense has evolved since those days).

Gay had no idea that there were chimpanzee living so close to her Yakima-area home, and when Sarah invited the Poppoff family for a visit, Gay fell in love with the chimpanzees immediately. Her favorite chimp is Missy because she’s fun-loving and friendly.

Missy with sunflowers

Gay later served as a dedicated board member for the sanctuary, which she described as being, “an eye-opening, educational opportunity.”

Not long after that initial introduction and visit, the Poppoff’s graciously offered their professional services to help with the construction of the greenhouse “human area” when we converted the chimps’ original outdoor space into a greenhouse.


greenhouse construction


Here is Matt Poppoff (right), who now helps to run the company, demonstrating his dedication to the sanctuary by working on a cold day:

matt working


When Matt first visited the sanctuary he thought it was so cool that there were retired lab chimps in his own “backyard” of Cle Elum, then he gained even greater respect for Jamie because Jaime spit on Matt’s sister Julie during a visit – rising Jamie to the rank of Matt’s favorite chimpanzee of the group (a spot previously held by Burrito because Matt lives with three women and gives props to Burrito for living with six!)


A few years later, Mike (Poppoff Sr.) and Matt arranged for a Poppoff, Inc. crew to install sidewalks at the chimp house. The staff and volunteers were incredibly excited about these sidewalks, and we are still so thankful for them. I personally have been known to go into a zen-like trance when shoveling or sweeping the sidewalks – something that is just not possible when dealing with dirt pathways.

The main purpose of the sidewalks was not so much to bring me personal peace and mindfulness, but to allow us to be able to wheel a stretcher carrying an immobilized chimpanzee from the building to the back of the trailer, where our current veterinary clinic is located. We’ve done this three times now for necessary medical procedures, and the sidewalks have made all of the difference in the world.



When I asked Mike, Gay, and Matt why the have chosen to support the sanctuary and the HOOT! event, this is what they had to say:


Gay: “We love supporting the sanctuary because we know how you & J.B. manage the donations to stretch as far as possible. We know our donations will be wisely and well spent with the well-being of our chimps being the first and only priority, and we are so excited to see the expansion of the sanctuary!
Matt: “We we always do and it’s an amazing cause even if we cannot attend the event.


Mike: “You have given these chimps much better lives than they had for decades. It is so neat to see them grow and become much happier at the Sanctuary. This is all because of you and your staff’s unwavering dedication to do what is right for the chimps. I know that every dollar that we donate to CSNW is used wisely and is not wasted on things that are not needed. You guys spend the money you receive very wisely. I don’t know how you do it all with such a small budget. CSNW is not a money crunching machine like many non profits are. And it’s nice that you are soooooo appreciative to every donor that helps. We are very glad to be able to help out.”


And that made me cry a little.


Thank you, Gay, Mike, Matt, Amber, Julie, and everyone at Poppoff, Inc. for all of your past support, including your Chimpanzee Champion level HOOT! 2017 sponsorship. We are over-the-moon grateful for all you’ve done for the sanctuary and the chimpanzees here.


Speaking of HOOT! – there are three items available online for absentee bidding that are part of the auction items available at the gala event next week.


Anyone anywhere can now place their highest bid on these three things right now:





HOOT! Sponsor: Martha Faulkner Real Estate

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

Today is the fifth in a series of blog posts celebrating sponsors of the HOOT! 2017 Spring Fling gala.

Past posts celebrated Darwin’s Natural Pet Products, Jennifer and David Roers, Tracy Headley, and Pam Lehnert & Marc Warner.

Today is all about Martha Faulkner who uses her real estate business to support the causes that she cares most about.



All of Martha’s pets have been adopted from Homeward Pet. Photo by Julie Austin Photography for Pet Connection Magazine.


Martha started as a donor and supporter and is now also on our board of directors.


In her own words, here is how and why Martha is connected to Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest.

I first become involved with CSNW after a friend referred me to their blog.  We had been discussing my interest in expanding my giving plan for my business (  I am a Real Estate Broker with RSVP Real Estate, and I donate 10% of my commission to the animal rescue/sanctuary of my clients’ choice. I spotlight 6 different local animal organizations.  After reading the blog and the plight of the Cle Elum Seven I knew this was the type of organization and cause I wanted to support. I went to the HOOT! gala 3 years ago and was hooked.  I had a blast and got to know more about the sanctuary and a bit about each of the chimps and their stories of recovery at the sanctuary after years of maltreatment in medical laboratories. 

My interest and commitment to CSNW is reinforced by all the great work done by Diana and J.B. and the wonderful staff and volunteers. As a member of the board of directors I am able to see firsthand all the effort and work that goes in providing a home for the Cle Elum 7 to heal.  I’m also motivated by all the advocacy to support the plight of the chimpanzee’s throughout the world.


When asked what motivated Martha to support HOOT! 2017, she said:


Besides the fact that this is truly a terrific event, I gladly participate in any opportunity to support the Chimps and the continued success of Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest.


martha ad


And who is Martha’s favorite chimpanzee?

I love them all, but Negra really pulls at my heartstrings. She has come so far in the safe and loving care of the sanctuary.


negra with pine cone


Thank you, Martha, for all you do for Negra and her family and for other animals. You are an inspiration to others who are looking for ways to support the causes they believe in.

If anyone in the state of Washington is looking to buy or sell their home, please do get in touch with Martha. She works all over western Washington, but if you’re on the east side of the state, she can refer you to another fabulous broker.

HOOT! Sponsors: Darwin’s Natural Pet Products

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

I am so  happy to be sharing information about HOOT! sponsors so everyone can learn the different ways that people have discovered the sanctuary and why they have decided to contribute their financial support to seven chimpanzees living in Cle Elum.

Today is the fourth in a series of blog posts celebrating sponsors of the HOOT! 2017 Spring Fling gala.


Past posts celebrated Jennifer and David Roers, Tracy Headley, and Pam Lehnert & Marc Warner.


Today, with so much gratitude, we celebrate the extreme generosity of Darwin’s Natural Pet Products.

The format for this post is a letter from Darwin’s founder Gary Tashjian:

At Darwin’s Natural Pet Products, we’ve built our business around supporting the connection between people and animals. We’ve always been inspired by the quote from Mohandas Gandhi that “the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” 
That’s why I was so excited to discover Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest’s booth at the University Street Fair in Seattle a few summers ago. Chimps (and all primates, for that matter) have a special relationship with humans, and the way we have allowed them to be treated is, I believe, inconsistent with our values. I was happy to find an organization here in the Northwest with people who not only felt the way that I did about this issue, but dedicated themselves to doing something about it. I knew that Darwin’s needed to support their efforts in some way.
After visiting the sanctuary and learning that the chimps’ diet consists primarily of fresh vegetables, I realized that Darwin’s had a unique opportunity to help support the sanctuary’s efforts, as we use fresh vegetables in our dog food recipes as well.
We reached out to Charlie’s Produce, who we work with to supply the vegetables that we use for our dog food, and asked them if they could help. Charlie’s was very supportive of our efforts, and together we put together a program that enabled us to provide an array of fresh vegetables to the chimps, at no cost to the Sanctuary.

fresh produce
We are very happy to be able to do our part to help these chimps enjoy a healthy diet, and to live out the rest of their lives in a safe and nurturing environment. Darwin’s is proud to be a supporter of the sanctuary’s efforts.

Gary Tashjian
Darwin’s Natural Pet Products


Big thanks to Gary and Darwin’s (and Charlie’s Produce) for the literal ton of produce for the chimps over the years and for being a Chimpanzee Champion Sponsor of HOOT! 2017!




Burrito sends his thanks too!

Four Reasons to HOOT!

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

Here are four reasons to join us at HOOT! on May 13th at Sodo Park in Seattle.

These photos were taken today as the chimpanzees explored and enjoyed their home. Take a moment on this Earth Day to appreciate their happiness.

Their sanctuary life is only possible with the support of so many people out there, and our annual gala plays a big role in raising funds for their care and our exciting plans for the future.

If you haven’t gotten your tickets to HOOT! yet, don’t delay – buy them now! If you are unable to attend, we’ll miss you, but you can still take part by making a donation. We’ll also have just a few items available for bidding online – details coming soon.


hoot logo


Annie eating fresh spring grass:

annie eating grass


Burrito taking a brief break from foraging for lunch:

handsome burrito


This is a very contented face on Jamie:

Jamie happily sitting


Jody has the best drooped lip face!

Jody with drooped lip

Happy Earth Day! Thank you for helping us grow!





HOOT! Sponsor Tracy Headley

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

This is the second in a series of blog posts highlighting sponsors of the HOOT! 2017 Spring Fling gala. You can see the first in the series here.

We are sharing HOOT! 2017 sponsors so everyone can get to know the people behind the generosity.

So, today is all about Tracy!

Tracy Headley is a Happy Hour Sponsor, which is fitting, because she brings happiness to us at the sanctuary.

She first became involved with Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest when her friend Shawn (on the left in the photo above) invited Tracy and her partner Bruce (on the right in the photo) to the sanctuary. Shawn had won a visit to CSNW at another auction and thought Tracy and Bruce would be interested in joining him. In Tracy’s words, “That day started my love affair with seven unique and wonderful chimps.”

In more of her words, Tracy shares what that love affair has been all about:

The blog posts have allowed me to watch the chimps grow to live a life closer to what they should have lived all along.  This past year I have delighted in watching Annie, at 42 years old, discover her moxie. To see the look on her beautiful & serene face as she explores Young’s Hill-joy!  I have learned so much about chimps, and these seven in particular, from the wonderful blog posts.

Tracy is generous throughout the year, always giving donations for chimpanzee birthdays and other fundraising drives, but here is why Tracy specifically chooses to support sanctuary events with her donations:

This is our 5th year attending, and 4th year as a sponsor.  I try to budget for HOOT!, and my sponsorship is part of my budget.  It allows me to give some of my donation early, hoping that it can help with some of the party planning costs.  Plus, it is the best party of the year.

I asked Tracy who her favorite chimpanzee is, and I just love her answer:

I want to be more like Foxie.  She is fun, silly, intuitive, and a loyal friend.  I LOVE Foxie. Really there is something to love and admire about all seven.  I think I am more like Jody.  I like things orderly, and I care deeply about the well being of my family and friends. 

Here’s a photo of Foxie and Jody out exploring together.

We agree, Tracy does care deeply about the well being of her friends, and that shows in the support that she has given to the sanctuary over the years.

Thank you, Tracy, for being such a great friend to all of the chimpanzees and the humans at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest!

HOOT! Sponsors Pam Lehnert & Marc Warner

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

This is the first in a series of blog posts highlighting sponsors of the HOOT! 2017 Spring Fling gala.

We thought it would be fun for everyone to get to know the people behind the generosity and learn how they became involved in helping Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest.

Pam Lehnert and Marc Warner are Happy Hour Sponsors (learn more about sponsorship levels and details for individuals here).

Here is Pam’s description of how and why she and Marc became involved in the sanctuary:

In June, 2008, there was an article in the local Cle Elum/Roslyn paper announcing an open house for a soon-to-open chimpanzee sanctuary. Marc and I immediately made plans to attend, as we thought this was likely the only opportunity we would have to see this private facility. Little did we know that this would be the first of many trips to Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest as we became involved as volunteers – and that the names Negra, Jamie, Missy, Annie, Jody, Foxie and Burrito would become part of our extended “family tree”!

Having a home in the area, we were fortunate to be able to get to know not only “The Cle Elum Seven”, but the wonderful humans involved with this organization as well. One fateful night, J.B. and Diana were at our cabin having dinner when the subject of doing a fundraising event in Seattle came up. After taking a deep breath, I admitted to Diana that I had some experience with auction events – and as they say – the rest is history and we have been involved with CSNW events ever since.

I always say that the chimps brought us to the sanctuary, but it is in large part the staff and volunteers who have kept us involved. Their willingness to share their knowledge and selfless dedication never ceases to amaze us. Marc and I feel lucky to have been a part of this special group from the beginning and look forward to supporting Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest during this exciting time of growth… and further expanding our family tree.

Pam glossed over the countless hours that she has spent making CSNW events what they are. From planning to decorating to editing to organizing, Pam has been an integral part of events, and she and Marc have also helped the sanctuary in many other ways too, including some back-breaking physical work, creative building, food preparation for humans and chimpanzees alike, and many, many other endeavors.

They also have a very friendly rescued pup named Toby:

Big thanks to Pam and Marc for choosing to sponsor the HOOT! 2017 Spring Fling and helping to make this event a success before it even happens.

See all current sponsors on the HOOT! 2017 event page and find out how you too can be a sponsor!


Happy International Primate Day!

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

September 1st is International Primate Day everybody! I honestly didn’t know such a day existed until recently, but I’m glad it does. The term “primate” is a biological classification, which of course encompasses humans, but I think this day was meant to celebrate the non-human variety. There are a lot of terms that get thrown around interchangeably when we talk about chimpanzees, some of which are accurate, and some not so much. I think one of the most common mistakes humans use when they talk about chimps is to call them “monkeys.” Chimpanzees are in fact large bodied apes. One good way to determine if you are looking at an ape vs. a monkey? Look for a tail. Chimpanzees and other apes don’t have tails and are generally larger than other primates.

I’m grateful to know all the special primates in my life like Burrito, who was kind enough to pose for photos in the portrait studio this afternoon.




If you are interested in helping support the seven non-human primates that call Cle Elum home (and the future developments at the sanctuary), check out the online auction that is happening NOW!