Archive for the ‘Volunteers’ Category

On Duty

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

Boss Jamie has a long list of (mostly) self-imposed duties, including (but not limited to) monitoring the whereabouts and activity of all living beings on her domain. No matter where she is, she always knows where you are.

She’s also responsible for ensuring strict compliance with all rules and protocols. She oversees all volunteer training. This afternoon she showed Level III trainee Caroline how we groom.

Constant vigilance can be tiring, so she allows herself short breaks before resuming her work.


Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

Like most of us, the chimpanzees eat 3 main meals a day with the occasional snack between meals. Maybe a bit differently from most of us, the chimpanzees’ meals primarily consist of fresh produce. We are extremely lucky to receive a regular donation of amazing fresh produce from Darwin’s Natural Pet Products. Our volunteers stock our fridge every couple of weeks with their generous donations. To supplement the regular donations from Darwin’s, staff members also shop at our local grocery stores. Since Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, I can think of no better Valentine to send these 7 chimpanzees, than a gift card to keep their fridge stocked and their stomachs full! We do most of our shopping at our local Safeway and Fred Meyer stores. If you’re like me and want to skip the post office trip, you can also find Safeway gift cards on our Amazon wishlist!

The way to a chimp’s heart:

Quiet Moments

Sunday, February 11th, 2018

Another beautiful February day is in the books and the chimps couldn’t be happier! Jamie and I spent quite some time with each other today. While our amazing volunteers cleaned, Jamie and I went for a nice slow and mellow walk. The sun was shining down, the view was amazing, and you couldn’t ask for better company. All the chimps were out ripping around Young’s Hill, meanwhile Jamie and I just sauntered around. Jamie looked so relaxed and at peace (if Jamie is relaxed I know I have done my job that day). Afterward, we went in and groomed her boot, she relaxed some more and I began to knuckle rub her arm and groom her with a brush. These are the nice little moments I will cherish forever.




Foxie carrying her doll:


Play All Day (while the humans work)

Friday, February 9th, 2018

Lately, Missy and Annie have been doing what they do best – playing all day!

Meanwhile, the humans have been busting their butts to move caging, glass, and other material from the former Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute (CHCI) at Central Washington University before its demolition.

The building had sat largely empty in the years since Tatu, Loulis, and many of the staff and students associated with Friends of Washoe moved from campus to the Fauna Foundation in Canada. When the university determined that the building would be torn down to accommodate construction of a new dorm, they agreed to remove as much reusable material as possible and donate it to CSNW for use in our upcoming expansion. (Click here for a video from local news channel KAPP about the donation). But a jump in the timeline for the building’s demolition meant we had to get the material out with little notice. Thankfully, an emergency call to our local supporters on Facebook was met with an enthusiastic response, and just days later we had trucks, trailers, and lots of manual labor lined up and ready to help. In only a few hours, we loaded thousands of pounds of caging, steel doors, and 270-lb chimp-proof windows…

…and then unloaded it all at the sanctuary.

Alan, an CSNW intern, made the mistake of volunteering on the day that we needed to manually unload the nearly 4,500-lb of glass from the trailer. He is young, however, and likely had the use of his arms the next day, unlike some of us.

Our expansion project has been full of frustrating setbacks throughout the permitting process – lately around the location and design of a new driveway we are required to put in – but we are getting closer! And when we do break ground, we will do so knowing that we will be putting this material to good use and saving thousands of dollars in the process. It is a small but significant part of CHCI’s legacy, and a great way to remember and honor the chimpanzees that taught us so much.


Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

We continue to be amazed by this spring-like winter we’re having in Cle Elum. Today’s sun has made the greenhouse nice and toasty for the chimpanzees. Volunteer caregiver Jake found the chimps in a grooming huddle up on the platform when he brought lunch out this afternoon, but they were happy to take a break to eat.

Whatever the Boss Says

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Volunteer caregiver Becca swung by the sanctuary today to drop off some produce for the chimpanzees. It was supposed to be a quick visit but as soon as Jamie spotted her, she recruited her for a couple of runs (runs!) around Young’s Hill. After the perimeter runs, a grooming session in the greenhouse was in order. Jamie eventually requested that Becca hand over the boot she was wearing, so she had to hobble back to the chimp house on one foot. We’ve learned to submit to Jamie’s rule and not complain too much.

Happy Birthday, Lynn!

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

Dawn Garcia and Jo Arroyo sponsored a day of sanctuary for the chimpanzees and one of their (and our!) dear friends, Lynn Williamson! They shared this lovely message about this lovely woman who we are all thrilled to celebrate today:

“Happy Birthday Lynn Williamson! We knew this gift, sponsoring the chimps for a day in your honor, would be exactly what you would want. Lynn has been a dear friend for decades. She was a champion for the Cle Elem Seven upon her very first meeting years ago. She adores them and as a dedicated volunteer, has favorite stories she shares about each one, but we won’t tell if she has a favorite! Lynn has a huge heart for not only the chimpanzees but all animals. She is very compassionate about captive wild animals, doing her part to make them comfortable and enriched. That’s one of the reasons she volunteers with CSNW; DIana, JB and the chimpanzee caregivers ensure the chimps have the best life possible. Lynnie is a gentle soul, loyal, fun and a sometimes silly, best friend. Seattle BFF, enjoy your happy day! with big love, Dawn and Jo”

Thanks, Dawn and Jo, for sponsoring today for the chimps and Lynn! We so appreciate your big, compassionate hearts.

Lynn, we’re so happy to celebrate you today and hope your heart is full of all the good things. Thank you for all you do for our fellow animals of the world. We’re all lucky to have you here. Happiest of birthdays from all the primates at the sanctuary and whether you choose to relax or kick up your heels (or both!) we hope it’s the best one yet!

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Sunday, December 24th, 2017

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the chimp house not a creature was stirring… besides a few chimps;

The stockings were stuffed by a few kind volunteers;

In hopes for field roast and boots galore soon;

The chimps are all nesting comfortably in their blankets;

While they save energy for the big day that lies ahead.

The chimps are so excited for tomorrow! Today we did a lot of preparation for our Christmas party. We have 4 bins stuffed with stockings, blankets, toys, dolls, books, and boots! Staff have been busy organizing and checking all the enrichment and volunteers have been busy stuffing stockings and wrapping presents. Unlike some Christmas shoppers, we are stress-free thanks to all of our donors who gave the chimps gifts! Today, Christmas Eve was full of relaxing and building the anticipation for Christmas Day! There were many grooming parties, nesting, and games of chase! It was a little too cold to go on the Hill unfortunately, but we kept ourselves occupied…

Burrito played chase with volunteer caregivers to pass the time:

Foxie and Jamie played games of chase and napped most of the day:

Jamie collecting blankets to make her nest:

Missy and Annie wrestling:



Seventh Day of Thanks, Featuring EVERYONE and Jamie

Monday, November 27th, 2017

Today is the seventh day of thanks highlighting seven different donors and their seven ways of donating + the seven chimpanzees at the sanctuary!

For a recap of the first five posts, day one featured legacy donor Bruce Davidson + Burrito, day two featured event donor Kathy Cochran + Annie, day three featured recurring donor Julie Olson + Jody, day four featured challenge and competition donor Monica Best + Negra, day five featured wish list donor Vicki Fagerlee + Foxie, and day six featured major donor Karen Emmerman Mazner + Missy.

Today I’m featuring stock donor Joan Z., but I have a difficult time thinking about all of the donors that were not featured this week, so really today is featuring everyone.

Joan recently offerred to put up a matching challenge for Giving Tuesday by way of transferring stocks to the sanctuary, and I’m going to talk more about that generous challenge tomorrow.

Really quickly, though, I want to be sure that everyone knows that transferring stocks to the sanctuary is super easy. All the information you need is on the donate page, and you can just send us a quick email or give us a call to let us know when you are making the transfer.

There are potential financial benefits to you for transferring stocks rather than cashing them in (if you’ve held them a year or more). Talk to your broker about the details, but, in a nutshell, you can avoid capital gains tax by transferring stocks to nonprofits rather than cashing in the stocks, so you’re able to potentially give more to the sanctuary. Pretty cool if you’re in the position to be thinking about these things! Our current policy is to cash in the stocks when we receive them, so we get the donation within days. Big thanks to Joan and everyone who has donated securities!

I have barely scratched the surface of all of the ways that people give to the sanctuary! I could have profiled hundreds of people. I think that’s the beauty of Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest – each person finds their own way to support the chimpanzees and it takes everyone to give the chimpanzees the sanctuary home that they deserve.

Some people give their time by volunteering in the chimp house, as board members, or as event volunteers. Shawn, for example, is our first maintenance volunteer. He comes out on weekends and helps J.B. with all kinds of maintenance projects in the chimp house and around the property.

Others donate their professional services. Lori and Kathleen, who both live many states away, donate their graphic design services to create beautiful and compelling graphics for campaigns and events.

Some donors have arranged fundraising events on their own or asked their friends and family to donate to the sanctuary rather than give gifts for birthdays, weddings, and holidays.

There are a lot of ways to give! And most of you choose to give in several different ways. It’s a beautiful thing. Donors are the heart of what makes this sanctuary possible.

Jamie, the boss, can be hard to please, but I believe she would give a head nod of approval if she understood all of the ways that supporters contribute to her health and happiness and the long-term stability of the sanctuary. She plans to be around for many more years and demands that each day be a full one – as it should be.

jamie with boots

jamie with barrel

Jamie on fire hose


jamie inspecting trees

Jamie on twister

jamie givingtuesday


Third Day of Thanks – on Thanksgiving! – Featuring Julie & Jody

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

This is the third post for our week of thanks highlighting seven donors that represent seven different types of giving, while also highlighting the seven chimpanzees.

If you missed the first two, day one featured legacy donor Bruce Davidson + Burrito and day two featured event donor Kathy Cochran + Annie.

Today we are featuring Julie Olson who has been giving a monthly donation to Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest continuously starting in December of 2008 – that’s 107 (and counting) donations!

I really love to learn how donors have come to know about the sanctuary. This is what Julie shared about how her support  began:

My sister first made me aware of the chimps by showing me the KOMO news story. I sponsored Jody for awhile as a gift to her and pretty soon I was hooked! I sponsor Burrito now and I never miss a day checking up on how the chimps and caregivers are doing.

I thought Julie’s story was particularly appropriate for Thanksgiving because her donations to the sanctuary started as a gift for a loved one.

Like Julie, many of our monthly donors give through our Chimpanzee Pal program, where you can choose one of the chimpanzees (may I suggest Jody?) to sponsor as a gift for someone else or for yourself. You can even choose to sponsor the whole family! Alternatively, some monthly donors choose to give through our general donation page, and we make it an option for special fundraising campaigns too, like the upcoming Giving Tuesday campaign!

We are so incredibly grateful for monthly donations and want to send a big thanks to everyone who gives in this way. Having that steady stream of income to rely on for the day-to-day running of the sanctuary and care of the chimpanzees provides a sense of security.

As someone who also donates to other organizations, I also like to give monthly donations partly because it’s an easy – you sign up once and everything goes through automatically unless there’s a change with your credit card or bank.

I know that Jody has directly benefited from Julie and others’ monthly gifts. Just one look at a “then” and “now” photo shows what a sanctuary life has provided for her.

Jody Before

Jody on the day she arrived to Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest


Jody relaxing

Jody relaxing in the pool


Jody knows just what she wants and she lives her sanctuary life with a solid sense of independence but motherly concern for her chimpanzee friends. If I were a chimpanzee, I would definitely want Jody to be a part of my family group.

She’s not as concerned with spending time with the humans as some of the other chimpanzees at the sanctuary, which is another thing I love about Jody. She does, however give us humans the best bouncy greetings and is always eager to share her excitement about parties and meals with her caregivers. I’m about to go up to the chimp house now, and I’m willing to bet that we will share in an excited breathy-pant as Elizabeth and volunteers Patti and Grace are setting up the Thanksgiving party.

Elizabeth will be posting about the Thanksgiving festivities later today, but I’ll leave you with a few more photos of Jody.

Jody eating a banana


This last photo, taken by Elizabeth last year, is the November 2017 calendar photo. I forgot to mention in our last e-newsletter that our 2018 calendar is now available for purchase!


Happy Thanksgiving!