Author: Don Obrien

Nonprofit Children’s Nature Retreat in Alpine facing COVID Financial Distress

Friesian horses at the Children’s Nature Retreat in Alpine. Photo courtesy of the retreat

Giving back to others is always good, but when you can give back to both animals and humans, that is even better. Local humanitarian Agnes Barrelet, is doing just that in Alpine, heading up the non-profit Children’s Nature Retreat. Now the retreat needs our help.

The Children’s Nature Retreat is in a rural area of Alpine. It is a haven for all kinds of animals, including two zebras, three Friesian horses, African cows, camels, mules, donkeys, rabbits, mini horses, mini goats, mini pigs, ostriches, sheep, llamas, alpacas, a bison. tortoises and more. There are over 202 domesticated livestock and exotic animals with 24 species and 64 breeds from around the world.

They all live comfortably on a beautiful 20-acre property. There are several animal enclosures, including Barnyard Alley, Tortoise Landing, African Grasslands, and Mini and Big Farms. For example, in African Grasslands, you will see the two zebras with several ostriches.

One thing that struck me was how friendly most of the animals are, which makes this place especially suitable for children. Barrelet opened the retreat in February 2017, with the goal of providing a place in the countryside where both children and adults can come and experience the beauty that nature has to offer as well as interact with the animals and learn about them. The place is serene and therapeutic.

 Barrelet wanted children to feel a connection to nature that would last. Before the pandemic, the retreat was working with local schools and supporting organizations to help fund free field trips for schools and children that normally would not be able to pay for them. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, the retreat has lost a lot of its usual funding, including daily visitors, and is now in financial trouble.

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