Posts Tagged ‘Construction’

Special Visitors and New Stuff for the Chimps

Monday, October 26th, 2015

Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest has held several online auctions over the last few years, filled with fun items to bid on. Some of the coolest and most popular items have been donated by Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day (this year he gave a personally-signed guitar to the Summer Biddin’ online auction).

The Armstrong family has been following the lives of the Cle Elum Seven for a while (proving something that doesn’t need proof: Burrito is irresistible), and Billie Joe’s wife Adrienne, who also owns Atomic Garden in Oakland, and her sister-in-law Jessy have visited the sanctuary a few times – always wanting to directly help out while they are here!

This past weekend, Adrienne, Jessy, Billie Joe, and Jessy’s husband / Adrienne’s brother Steve, owner of Familia Skateshop in Minnesota, all came out for a visit and to lend a hand. Susan Holmes McKagan, Billie Joe and Adrienne’s friend and model, fashion designer, and wife to bassist Duff  McKagan also came out for the afternoon on Saturday.

We learned a few things over the two days they were here, including the fact that chimpanzees love Billie Joe. Jamie was extremely excited when he was willing to run with her around the hill, and invited him to do so several times. She didn’t even insist on him wearing cowboy boots:

walking around the hill

Billie Joe Armstrong running with Jamie

Billie Joe and Jamie taking off

And a few of the chimps listened while he played an acoustic guitar. Here’s Negra lending an ear:

Negra listens to Billie Joe Armstrong


Adrienne brought some rare brown-haired troll dolls, which Foxie immediately adopted

Foxie with new brown haired troll doll

and brought on a walk around the hill with Adrienne and Susan:

Adrienne Armstrong and Susan Holmes McKeagan walking with Foxie


The main task for the weekend was putting up a new structure on the hill that consisted of two tall log posts and a few metal bars that were to be installed between them for the chimps to climb on and swing from.

JB, Steve, and Billie Joe constructing

JB testing the bar structure


Not surprisingly, Jamie and Missy were the first to inspect and play on the structure after a forage was put out for everyone to enjoy:

web_aa_set_out_forage_bar_IMG_7864 copy

Missy on new bar structure

web_Jamie_top_of_bar_structure copy


The chimps didn’t have all the fun, though. The humans did a little “chimping around” during their breaks from manual labor:

web_Jessy_climb_tower_IMG_7856 copy

Billie Joe Armstrong walking across the shaky bridge

web_relaxing_on_the_bridge_IMG_7860 copy


The new bar structure is really neat, and there’s no doubt that the chimpanzees are going to enjoy it, but I was equally excited that Adrienne and Jessy got the holiday tree from last year planted on the hill:

holiday tree on Young's Hill

The tree has been living in a pot in the greenhouse since last December, and the chimps, especially Jody, have been periodically snacking on it:

Jody biting tree

Jody eating tree bit

I’m really curious how that little bedraggled tree will do on the hill – I have high hopes!


As a well-deserved thank you for all the Armstrongs have done for the chimpanzees, both this weekend and in the past with their donations, they got to watch the chimpanzees enjoy the fruits of their labor from the observation deck looking out onto Young’s Hill:

watching the chimps


What an awesome weekend for everyone!


Negra’s Condo?

Friday, October 12th, 2012

We have been calling the structure that J.B. is building on Young’s Hill “Negra’s Cabin,” but volunteer Denice decided the more appropriate name is “Negra’s Condo.” Take a look at the photos and tell us what you think.


J.B. has been working on the cabin/condo for a few days straight now. Today, volunteer Seana was serving as J.B.’s construction apprentice.


These two photos scream condo, don’t they?

jb seana construct negra's condo

jb seana construct negra's cabin


Do the addition of the logs make it more cabin-like?

negra's cabin under construction


Negra's cabin under construction, greenhouse in background


Negra checking on the construction progress:

negra watching cabin construction

Negra close up watching cabin construction

negra arms crossed after watching cabin construction

Not much longer, Negra!

Thanks to everyone who contributed to our 4th Anniversary Fundraising drive, which made Negra’s cabin/condo possible!


Progress on Negra’s Cabin

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Just a quick update to let you know that, despite a minor setback from the Taylor Bridge Fire, we are making progress on Negra’s Cabin. The “cabin”, which will actually be a three-sided shelter with a transparent ceiling and walls, is the result of your contributions to our fourth anniversary fundraising drive. The shelter will provide a comfortable space for the chimps on the cold, windy, and wet days of spring and fall. We also hope that it will help chimps like Negra learn to spend more time out on the hill, as some chimps need a little more time to get comfortable being out in wide open spaces.

Our rough vision for the cabin:

And that vision slowly being realized:

We are building this with Negra in mind, but I am starting to think that Jody will be the first to move in and make a nest in a fluffy bed of straw. Hopefully, in a few weeks, we will get to find out.

Shed in the Rain

Friday, March 30th, 2012


Today is caregiver Jackie’s birthday and you can wish her a happy birthday on Facebook. While Jackie was celebrating her day, I really felt like it was my birthday at the sanctuary because construction on “my” shed has begun!

At the Out of the Box 2011 auction in October, 16 people (in some cases, couples) donated towards my “adoption” and what I was really wanting, in my heart of hearts, was a shed to store all of the event set-up and tabling materials, merchandise and other various sanctuary stuff that has crept into the garage and the part of the house that J.B. and I rent from the sanctuary. I was dreaming kind of big, but Keith LaChappelle, Audrey & Jim Spencer, Jack & Sue Mulcahy, Max Carriveau, Jeani Goodrich, Julie Harding, Anika Lehde, Pam Lehnert & Marc Warner, Jessica Martinson & Lisa Cossette, Helen Payton, Dot & Allan Rothfus, Felicity Wood, Cathy Parker, Connie Robertson & Bill Lamm, and Barbara Boekholt gave towards my “adoption” and Jim Spencer even offered up his time and skills to build the shed.

And now it’s becoming a reality! Jim, who traveled all the way from Whidbey Island, Doug Bucklin and J.B. have spent the last two muddy and rainy days outside all day making my storage dreams start to come true. It has been especially heartwarming to see this happening and remembering Barbara Boekholt’s donation in particular. Barbara was Julie’s mom and she recently passed away. She was not well enough to attend the auction last year, but she sent Julie with a check just for my “adoption.”

This shed is no small-deal. We have a lot to store! It’s almost 200 square feet and it will have two windows (we’re using the windows that we removed from the chimp house (minus the caging) when we replaced them with chimp proof glass).

In the first photo below, you’ll noticed some very large logs. J.B. was also “adopted” at the auction and his project was to build new structures on Young’s Hill. Guess what those logs are for?!


Jim leading the crew with J.B. and Doug following instruction:

logs in front of shed construction


J.B. waiting for the word to start using power tools, Doug and Jim making sure things are level:

shed first wall


J.B. standing in front of the shed at the end of today:

JB in front of shedJ

Young’s Hill Update

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Our volunteers are amazing. Over the last two months, they’ve turned out every weekend and often during the week to help work on the hill despite the rain, wind, and sometimes frigid temperatures. Thanks to them, we’ve finished putting the posts in and have begun preparing the posts for the electric wire.

Currently, we are working on fastening the black plastic insulators to each post. They are fairly easy to install, but there are over 6,000 of them! Doug took materials home to finish making all of the brackets for the tops of the posts – our volunteers are even doing homework.

Sarah managed to photograph a rare moment when Anna was not working last weekend. Anna installed hundreds of insulators and got our irrigation system for the bamboo up and running.

The welders are almost finished with the gates and tunnels, and this weekend, volunteer Ken will begin digging the foundations for them. Below you can see the steel plates that will be embedded in the concrete to support the gate posts. This 8′ tall by 22′ wide section of fence will sit at the corner of the enclosure closest to the driveway. It will allow us to access the enclosure with a vehicle and, because the lower section will not be electrified, it will be the main place where caregivers can interact with the chimps when they are out on the hill.

Volunteers have also been helping with quality control to ensure that all playground equipment meets Missy’s standards.


Young’s Hill & 3rd Anniversary Fundraising update

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

There are still 104 posts on Young’s Hill available for “adoption.”

I know everyone who follows the blog wants to be a part of Young’s Hill and this is your chance! For just $50 you’ll get an engraved plaque with your name, a dedication or message of your choice on your fence post.

Check out the plaques so far on our 3rd Anniversary Fundraising page.

plaques (small)

We’ve been making a lot of progress on the hill habitat construction thanks to volunteers. J.B. would love to hear from you if you want to know more about volunteering. Email him:

Here are a few photos taken by volunteers Audrey Spencer and Lynn Williamson who braved the wet and cold weather last Saturday to help make the dream of Young’s Hill a reality:


Audrey making sure the fence post is level (this could be your post!) while Jim and Lucas work in the background:

Audrey Jim Lucas fence posts


Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest founder Keith holds a post steady as volunteers Lynn and Jim fill the hole:

Keith Jim Lynn fence post


The weather got progressively worse as the day went on. We have some dedicated volunteers! Here’s J.B. on the tractor with Keith, Lucas, Jim and Andy adding more fill to a fence post hole.

Andy Jim Lucas Keith JB fence post construction

Thanks so much to everyone who has helped with this project!

Work Party Success!

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Big thanks to Jim, Audrey, Brian, a super hardworking group from Seattle’s Northwest Animal Rights Network (NARN), and all of Saturday’s volunteers, we finished setting the poles for the primary fence yesterday!

J.B.’s secret hope is to get all of the poles in for the secondary fence next weekend, so now is the time to contact him to volunteer.

Take a look at some photos of the work yesterday:

working hard

posts being put up

Here’s one of my favorite new features of the hill – we’re calling this Missy’s tunnel:

tunnel on hill

Below is a photo of Karl, one of the NARN volunteers, testing out a firehouse swing. The chimps are going to have so much fun on the hill!

Karl swinging on hose image

Young’s Hill getting closer one pole at a time

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

Last week Keith, CSNW’s founder, and volunteer Laura helped J.B. set some poles for the fence around Young’s Hill. We are building a double fence system with a total of 220 poles, so J.B.’s going to need a lot of help in the coming weeks! If you are interested in doing some physical labor volunteering now or in the future, please contact J.B. – he’d love to hear from you.

Here’s a photo of the first set of poles that went up:

first double poles

Today Denice and some terrific volunteers from Seattle University’s Animal Advocates and the Seattle Animal Defense League are setting more poles. As a big bonus to all of us, they brought vegan donuts from Mighty O in Seattle!! Mighty O donated donuts for last year’s Out of the Box auction Dessert Dash and they were recently crowned the Food Network’s Donut Champions, so this is no small treat for us humans.

Anyway, enough about delicious vegan donuts. Back to the hill. Below is a photo of today’s volunteers setting posts.

volunteers setting posts

And here’s a photo of Negra and Annie. Negra was watching the poles going up. With the two greenhouse panels off, the chimps can see all the work being done on the hill.

Negra Annie looking to Young's Hill

It’s not all about poles, either. If you received our recent e-newsletter, you know that all of the topsoil left over from digging the trench for the primary fence was utilized to make some mounds on the hill. To put these mounds in perspective, here’s a photo of J.B. and Jackie on one set (imagine them as chimps!):

JB Jackie on mounds

More progress on the hill

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Eleven posts down, only 209 to go!

We’ve also been adding to the climbing structures…

Signs of progress

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Today, our excavator laid the driveway that will lead up to the gate on Young’s Hill, the chimps’ new 2-acre enclosure. Tomorrow, we’ll begin digging the 1,200 foot long trench along the primary fence line. Spring is finally here!