Hollywild adopts “Moving Forward” motto after “All Clear” USDA inspection

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The typical view from a safari bus. (photo submitted)

The typical view from a safari bus. (photo submitted)

Hollywild Animal Park reports the results of its latest routine USDA inspection and has adopted “Moving Forward” as a daily motto for staff. Hollywild reports that a routine inspection of the Park resulted in a report stating: “No non-compliant items identified on this inspection.”

During the day-long inspection, a USDA inspector completed a walk-through of the animal areas, public access, and staff-only areas. The inspector also checked on the three items noted on the February report, which were previously detailed and released to the media.

Those ‘facility’ items, 1) sealing the outdoor wood along a fence line for the wolf/hybrid, 2) perimeter fence issues relating to a downed tree and some gaps in the fence line, and 3) an area of erosion around a drainage pipe, were cleared and no new issues were noted.

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“As is customary, our inspector shared ideas for our future development plans, which is always welcome. We really appreciate the USDA’s partnership in our ongoing effort to move Hollywild forward,” said Executive Director Kim Atchley.  “This excellent report comes as a result of the great effort put forth by our entire team,” she added.

Since hearing very clearly from our community, after our community forum held in February, that what Hollywild offers is considered valuable and that the community wants us to keep working to meet our funding needs to be here for the long-term, we’ve been working tirelessly to do all it takes. So, our team has adopted a “Moving Forward” mindset.

Notable highlights to the Moving Forward effort:

• We’ve already raised $40,000 and have a fundraising task force ready to launch their targeted efforts very soon. We have a long way to go to meet our funding needs, but we know we can get there with the passion of the community behind us.

• Since we opened in March, and expanded to being open daily in April we have seen an increase in our visitor numbers compared to this time last year.  It has been very rewarding to hear the positive comments from returning visitors and season members who have already noticed some of the improvements we’ve been making.  And, we’ve had a vast number of first time visitors, including some from as far away as Utah, Minnesota, and even Australia.

• We are starting to get reservations for our whole new line-up of day camps scheduled for June and July and designed strategically for age-level interest and animal interaction, led by our education coordinator, Julie Schmidt.

• We’ve shared our vision for the future at numerous civic group meetings with more being scheduled.

• We’ve been “adopted” by a new media partner, Community Promotions/Hub City Marketing to produce a re-design of all our digital assets including a new website which will be launched soon, and multiple new partnership plans.

• We have had volunteers and donors contribute to the efforts to repurpose an unused building and turn it into an education center which will be open later this year.

“Those are just a few of our milestones since February. We’re feeling a change here and look forward to even more community engagement throughout the year. For those wanting to jump in and help, a great way to get connected is first to come and see what we’re doing!

Another great way to be a part of our Moving Forward team is by donating through the Support Spartanburg County Initiative. Donations can be made to Hollywild through supportspartanburgcounty.org with the added benefit that dollars donated can connect to a pool of matching funds, creating more impact for every dollar donated. Giving to Hollywild through this initiative can also be designated as “in honor” or “in memory” of a loved one. The online platform can process gifts from $10 and up. With this, every person can truly make a difference,” Atchley added.

Hollywild is currently open weekdays from 9 – 2 p.m. and weekends from 10 – 5 p.m. Weekday hours will extend to 4 p.m. in the summer months. The park will be open from 9 – 5 p.m. on Memorial Day.

– article submitted by Kim Atchley