DENTON (10/23/07) The North Texas men’s and women’s track teams were busy this weekend, volunteering for two different organizations. Half of the team helped out with a Habitat for Humanity project, while other student-athletes made a visit to the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary.
The North Texas athletic department continued its involvement with Habitat for Humanity, which helps builds homes for lower-income families. The Mean Green volunteered for the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary, formerly known as the International Exotic Feline Sanctuary, for the first time.
The student-athletes helped out at the IEAS by raking leaves around and inside the feline habitats. They also cleared out trees and brush in the bear habitat. The workers at the IEAS said what the athletes did in one afternoon takes them a whole week.
“This was the first time any North Texas group has worked with the IEAS,” said George Talbot, Volunteer Coordinator for the Sanctuary. "I think one of the volunteers must have been a long jumper ... I've never seen anyone jump back so fast when she realized that Sabrina (a female lion) had headed down to more closely inspect the volunteers’ activities."
Assistant track coach Laurie McElroy helped coordinate the project because of her special love for exotic animals. “Animal welfare is something that many people are very passionate about and I wanted to give our athletes an opportunity to volunteer, make a difference, raise awareness, and experience something completely unique all at the same time. Most people never see these types of animals anywhere other than in pictures, on TV and in zoos. It was great seeing the athletes’ reactions to the individual stories of each of the animals. This is definitely an organization we will continue to work with in the future.”
The purpose and goals of the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary are to provide a permanent sanctuary for exotic animals that have been abused, abandoned, neglected, confiscated, or previously owned by people unwilling or unable to provide for these magnificent beings. Additionally, IEAS educates the public through school programs, tour lectures, support for conservation programs, and public appearances about the value and worth of these sensitive, intelligent and perceptive animals, so that their future, as an important part of our world, is insured.
The North Texas Athletic Department seeks to provide opportunities for Mean Green student-athletes, coaches, and administrators to interact with the local and regional community in an effort to extend goodwill, to help fulfill specific needs, and to "give back" to our valued constituents. Past projects have included reading to children at various schools and after-school programs, neighborhood beautification projects, Habitat for Humanity and others.
Mean Green Involved In The Community