Santa Paula Times

Above, Steve Mehren holds on to the Ocelot that he brought for the Gateway students. Below, a Gateway student reaches out and touches an American Alligator. Photos by Brian D. Wilson

Gateway students see wildlife up close

February 18, 2004
Santa Paula News
By Brian D. Wilson Santa Paula TimesStudents at the Santa Paula campus of Gateway High School got to see and touch some wild animals last week.Saving Wildlife International, a newly formed nonprofit conservation organization is presenting wildlife education programs free to Southern California area schools.Steve Mehren, Executive Director of SWI says they decided to waive their usual $300 fee because of State budget cuts. “We are the only local organization to do so,” Mehren said. “This fee helps cover our costs, so we made a calculated judgement to forgo the income in order to continue providing the services to the schools.”
To help subsidize these free shows SWI is asking businesses and individuals to sponsor shows. SWI believes that environmental education should be taught in as many contexts as possible.The animals used in Saving Wildlife International’s presentations come from a variety of sources including similar rescue and conservation organizations, zoos, government agencies and individuals who no longer could care for their exotic pets.