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129 Reviews
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December 6, 2014

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December 6, 2014

I started as an intern in February 2014 and have stayed on as a volunteer because I love this place so much. I have an hour drive to there but I don't mind it at all. I have learned so much from the staff and animals that I will keep with me. I can honestly say I love every single animal there. They all have their own personalities which I love to share with guests. I plan to help out there as long as I am able to. I highly recommend this facility to anyone who wants an amazing learning experience whether through visitation or volunteering.
October 2, 2014
1 person found this review helpful

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4 previous reviews - show all
May 8, 2013

Tucked away in the sleepy little town of Albion, Indiana lies one of Midwest America's best-kept secrets. The Black Pine Animal Sanctuary (BPAS) is a non-profit organization that remarkably cares for ... more

October 2, 2014
1 person found this review helpful

I have been a volunteer at Black Pine Animal Sanctuary for five seasons; in all those years, I have NEVER - NOT ONCE - heard a negative comment about Black Pine from any of our visitors. Visitors leave here absolutely mesmerized by the facility, its phenomenal staff, its legion of volunteers, and its 100 exotic animals. Those who criticize this excellent organization obviously have their own agenda (usually a profit motive) because Black Pine does an excellent job of caring for animals that have been neglected, abandoned, mistreated or abused - often by private owners. Black Pine also excels in educating people about the "pros" and "cons" of keeping an exotic wild animal as a pet, or as a 'product' to be used for one's own comfort, convenience, pleasure or profit. Tigers, lions, leopards, primates, reptiles, bobcats, wolves, and even exotic birds thrive at Black Pine because of the ultimate care and attention they're given, often having come from tragic circumstances. Black Pine takes no government funds or taxpayer dollars; it is supported strictly from it admissions revenues, private donations and the sale of merchandise in its gift shop. An occasional grant or generous individual or corporate donation helps Black Pine expand, but its resources are limited and the staff does a superb job of managing its nickels, dimes and quarters. If you want to observe something truly, genuinely focused on caring for unwanted animals, I invite you to visit Black Pine before we close at the end of this month. Black Pine is open Saturdays on Sundays through October from 10 -3. There's no political agenda, no protests or 'preaching'; Black Pine is a compassionate, caring facility where neglected animals come for "the rest of their lives". Any true animal lover will recognize Black Pine for the superior work it does. Not for profit......all for the animals.
May 8, 2013
2 people found this review helpful

Tucked away in the sleepy little town of Albion, Indiana lies one of Midwest America's best-kept secrets. The Black Pine Animal Sanctuary (BPAS) is a non-profit organization that remarkably cares for about 95 exotic animals that have been confiscated, abandoned, neglected, mistreated or abused. From South American macaws and cockatoos to reptiles, primates, llamas, bears, tigers and lions, BPAS operates on a "shoestring" budget with only one full-time paid employee and two part-time paid staffers. All the rest of the people you encounter at Black Pine are volunteers, absolutely dedicated to the care and welfare of the animals who come to BPAS "for the REST of their lives". Black Pine is a 'retirement home' where animals aren't sold or traded; they don't breed animals or exploit them for commercial purposes. Nestled among acres of tall pine trees, it's the perfect setting for all these beautiful creatures. My personal 'favorite' (if I absolutely had to pick just 'one') is "Betsy", a tiny black bear who suffered at the hands of an atrocious practice called "bear baiting". Betsy was chained to a post so her owner could charge his hunting buddies to release their dogs and teach the dogs how to 'attack'. Defenseless, and unable to escape the torment, Betsy now suffers traumatic injuries: she's blind, crippled and endures permanent trauma from years of unspeakable abuse. Black Pine has been able to provide Betsy (and five other black bears) comfortable surroundings, appropriate medical care, and a healthy diet, so that she now enjoys an excellent quality of life. The staff, Board and volunteers at Black Pine live by one simple motto: "our animals come first". I implore you to plan a 'road trip' this summer to visit Black Pine; it's an experience you that will tug at your heartstrings, and make you appreciate the value and importance of exotic animals to our planet!

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

April 5, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

Quietly tucked away in a sleepy little town lies one of the best-kept secrets in northern Indiana. Black Pine Animal Sanctuary (BPAS) is home to about 90 exotic animals, all of whom have been abandoned, abused, mistreated, neglected or confiscated by authorities. From tiny little reptiles like Louie, the bearded dragon, to Mufasa, a handsome 562-lb. lion, BPAS is where these animals come "for the rest of their lives". The sanctuary is a 501c3 non-profit organization that does not trade, sell or breed any animals. Think of Black Pine as a 'retirement home' for these animals, none of whom can ever be returned to their wild, natural habitats, and none of them who would want to go back to the lives they endured before coming to BPAS. Albion, Indiana is a village of a few thousand citizens. Yet, this tiny community gives Black Pine its full, unwavering support and commitment. Without its many volunteers (many of whom live in or near Albion), the one full-time and two part-time paid staffers would never be able to continue in their mission, fully dedicated to the health and well-being of this band of unusual animals.
You'll meet 'Peaches', a cockatoo who has gained national notoriety for her 'colorful' vocabulary. Thanks to an enormously generous donor, Black Pine now houses six beautiful black bears, including little Betsy, who was once used as 'bait' in a 'bear baiting' arena that left her blind, crippled and in need of constant medical attention. Nala, a gorgeous 20-year-old African lioness, was a young cub in a private home before becoming Black Pine's first permanent big cat resident. Gus the gator started his life in a college dorm where students kept him in the dormitory's bathtub until Gus outgrew it, and had to be given new quarters at Black Pine. Chui and China were only a few weeks old when they came to Black Pine, victims of the multi-billion-dollar illegal exotic animal smuggling trade. You'll thrill to the spectacular sight of our nine - yes, nine! - tigers!
Situated on 18 acres of elegantly wooded property outside of town, BPAS has gradually, over the years, become recognized as a leader in the "business" of rescuing these exotic animals from the hands of neglectful 'pet' owners, or have suffered untold abuse at the hands of people putting profit before humane treatment of these creatures.
As a volunteer tour guide (and a member of the Board of Directors), I have come to appreciate BPAS as one of the leading exotic animal sanctuary in the United States. In fact, many experts in the field have told us that they consider Black Pine to be one of the very best sanctuaries in the country. This spring, or summer, take a leisurely drive to rural Noble County, Indiana and see for yourself what a learnign adventure your visit can be! Black Pine takes no government money or taxpayer dollars; it relies strictly on money from gate admissions, donations, and sales of items in our gift shop. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the sanctuary is open to the public from 10-5 seven days a week. If you come up on any Sunday morning at 11 o'clock, I'll personally give you a guided tour and you can 'meet' our residents and hear their stories, some humorous, some interesting, some tragic.
For more information, visit www.blackpine.org.
We've had guests from almost every state in the Union, as well as England, China, Canada, New Zealand, and other parts of the world. Where ever you're from, please know that you're welcomed anytime (even during the winter by appointment). So, if you find yourself in northern Indiana with a little time to spare, be sure and visit Albion, Indiana and the Black Pine Animal Sanctuary. There's a quaint little bed-and-breakfast nearby, and many others things to do in the immediate area.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

October 16, 2012

Professional Animal Retirement Center, d/b/a Black Pine Animal Sanctuary, takes in exotic animals that have been abandoned, confiscated, neglected, mistreated or abused. Our 85+ animals include lions, tigers, black bears, gray wolves, red foxes, primates, reptiles, exotic birds, 'pasture' animals (donkeys, llamas, pot-bellied pigs, etc.) and spotted leopards. Experts in the exotic animal field have told us we're one of only four or five such sanctuaries in the U.S.A. where they would even consider bringing an animal. With the exception of one full-time paid employee and two part-time employees, all others at the sanctuary are volunteers. I've volunteered as a tour guide for three years, and also serve on the fund-raising committee and the Board of Directors. As with many of our volunteers, this has become a 'passion' for me as we take these desperate animals in for the "rest" of their lives. We don't swap, sell, trade or breed animals; Black Pine is their 'retirement' home, and they're all well taken care of by our platoon of volunteer veterinarians. For more information, please visit our website: www.blackpine.org. Also, see the Fort Wayne (IN) Journal-Gazette's 'Metro' section of today's paper (10/16) for a front-page report on the two tigers that were just moved to Black Pine last Sunday (and two more are arriving next Sunday). We take no taxpayer dollars or government funds, relying strictly on volunteers, admissions, gift shop purchases and donations - large or small. Voted one of Indiana's top ten "summer gotta do" road trips, Black Pine is a stimulating, educational and inspiring experience for animal lovers of all ages. Come see us whenever you're in the northeastern Indiana area!

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

February 3, 2011

Black Pine Animal Sanctuary in Albion, Indiana (www.blackpine.org) is an awesome 'retirement' home for exotic animals that have been abused, mistreated, neglected or abandoned. With one paid full-time employee and one part-time employee, there's still a desperate need to feed and house the 80+ animals that reside here. Tigers, lions, llamas, reptiles, chimpanzees and exotic birds all make up the population of this remarkable refuge, staffed primarily by dozens of volunteers dedicated to the care and protection of these animals. As a volunteer 'tour guide', I have told these animals' "stories" to countless visitors, all of whom walk away with a better understanding of the plight of these animals - and so many more like them around the nation. I urge you to consider gifting Black Pine with your $5000; it would be a worthwhile investment, just as my volunteerism has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life!! Thank you!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

...its obvious care and compassion of these animals. Black Pine has helped educate numerous visitors about why it's important to "respect all creatures, large and small". We teach young children about the need to preserve, protect and care for these species, many of whom are becoming extinct due to man's inhumanity toward them.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I'd encourage the organization to do more 'outreach' programs to help attract visitors to the sanctuary and to educate the general public about the need for such facilities. We should be speaking to local service clubs, community organizations, schools and businesses about how they can participate in and contribute to this worthy, well-managed organization.

June 27, 2014
1 person found this review helpful

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June 27, 2014
1 person found this review helpful

Living only 20 minutes away, I had no idea what a treasure we had so close...After my first encounter and tour I have now volunteered and hope people will get on board. For me it was almost a spiritual experience... and hearing the heartbreaking stories of these animals...makes me want to do more... the staff is wonderfully supportive and dedicated to these animals...it is not a ZOO...these lucky souls can live out the rest of their life feeling loved and cared for...after being abused and used...hope we can show them that not all humans are barbarians... Can't wait to work with the staff and help make a difference... GREAT PLACE...please go and see for yourself... We need more places like that!!!

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

wish that they could get better funding and support through the county and city...!!!

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

April 5, 2013
2 people found this review helpful

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April 5, 2013
2 people found this review helpful

Wow, this place rocks. I have been helping out there for two years now. They take awesome care of the animals and provide careful training to all the volunteers to keep everyone safe and happy. I drive 75 miles one way to work all day for free and I am happy to do it because of the way the staff treats everyone. They stretch every dollar to the max while still making the sanctuary a beautiful place to visit and comfortable for the animals. This place far exceeds some of the zoos I have been to. I can't say enough good things about it, but I think you get the point by now.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

November 12, 2012
1 person found this review helpful

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November 12, 2012
1 person found this review helpful

Thank goodness there is a place like Black Pine! My sister and her husband were in dire need of finding an appropriate home for a beautiful little fox, and Black Pine came to the rescue! I hear that it is a quality facility with top-notch staff. I hope to visit there this spring. As an animal advocate myself, I want to thank Black Pine for what they are doing to provide excellent habitats for their animals and excellent care for them.

More feedback...

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

October 25, 2012
2 people found this review helpful

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October 25, 2012
2 people found this review helpful

Black Pine Animal Sanctuary will always be a part of who I am. In the fall of 2010 I began volunteering with Black Pine Animal Sanctuary, knowing little of what this non-profit was going to offer me! After graduating from college, I was still looking for the right career path, and found Black Pine as a place to escape the never-ending job search. After giving several school field trips/ private tours (to generous donors), learning more about the need for exotic animal sanctuaries, joining the fundraising committee, and familiarizing myself with the animals (of course) and staff, I began to see Black Pine as an opportunity! I started my Internship in December 2010 and was given many opportunities to learn more about non-profit management, fundraising, and donor relationships. I learned so much in this short time and cannot thank the volunteers and (Lori Gagen) for their knowledge and support! After my internship ended, I still continued to volunteer and applied for the part-time keeper position. In August 2011, I began my short career at Black Pine and will never forget the lessons and memories given! The staff and volunteers at Black Pine Animal Sanctuary are all hard-working, amazing individuals! The facility itself is very exceptional. The animals come first, their care consist of clean waters, diets (keepers very informed on what is best for each animal), clean habitats, medications, spacious and enriching living quarters, but most all unconditional love! I wish I could spend as much time as I had at Black Pine, and savor each moment I get to go back! Please support Black Pine Animal Sanctuary!

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

October 20, 2012

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October 20, 2012

I work as a "volunteer" in the course of my employment as a clinical Rehabiliation Service Provider for children with emotional and learning disabilities. In this capacity, I have worked with children in this wonderfully therapeutic setting known as Black Pine Professional Animal Retirement Center. The children learn to care for the animals by preparing their diets, provide enrichment activities for the animals, and learn to understand commitment, responsibility, and to better identify their own feelings. Feelings? Yes, feelings! Simply misting the tropical birds on a warm summer's day, helps a child understand what doing something nice for someone means. That's right - a happily chirping Macaw helps a child learn this important fact of life. In this same way, the Cockatoo that moves away from the gentle spray of water is saying "I don't like this." Again, the child learns. I have a child client who created her own Black Pine scrap book. This simple scrapbook is now a part of her toolbox of coping skills; she keeps it with her at all times and this helps her deal with crippling anxiety. When she is at the Park, she blossoms and this carries over into her life outside as well. Another child (in foster care) was blessed with a person visit to the wolves; simply calling to Nanook and having Nanook respond to him is a memory he is so proud of - something he can call his own. There is no better therapy.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

October 18, 2012

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1 previous review
February 3, 2011

I have been a volunteer at Black Pine Animal Sanctuary for 15 years and have personally witnessed many truly amazing miracles with the exotic animals we have rescued. Animals that had been previousl... more

October 18, 2012

I have volunteered for this organization for 17 years. It is absolutely the most caring facility I have ever been associated with. Black PIne cares for these exotic animals "for the rest of their lives" and the animals show us trust and caring in return. It's absolutely amazing the bond Black PIne volunteers have with these animals, especially considering some of the horrible conditions some of them have had in the past. I highly recommend this facility to everyone.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

February 3, 2011

I have been a volunteer at Black Pine Animal Sanctuary for 15 years and have personally witnessed many truly amazing miracles with the exotic animals we have rescued. Animals that had been previously mistreated by humans show us how forgiving and trusting they can be while in our care. Black Pine is a one-of-a-kind truly wonderful sanctuary.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The response of the exotic animals that we rescue.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would find a way to obtain additional funding so that Black Pine could rescue more animals.

October 17, 2012

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October 17, 2012

I visited off season last year for my birthday and based on the atmosphere and hearing why many of the animals had been placed here I immediately inquired about volunteering. Shortly after that I met with the director and have been hooked ever since. I drive almost an hour to get there. I work late nights at my job yet look forward to going in to volunteer each week even though Im tired. I started in the middle of winter yet dont mind working there in freezing temperatures or sweltering heat. Thats the unbelievable part. Everyone does it and gives their all for those animals. We truly love and care for them. When one gets sick or injured we worry as if its a family member. Alot ofbyloodsweat and tears is collectively put into our sanctuary.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Expand. More land and more habitats. They would benefit from increased public awareness via billboards, media and public appearances such as conventions or festivals. More outreach outside of the local area to attract new visitors.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

its humbling. I have learned to put someone elses needs before my own . I find I dont mind making personal sacrifices to be able to help the animals. I have developed sort of an ambassador role on my own .Always talking up the sanctuary and sharing photos and stories about the animals. Promoting special events and fundraisers etc

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Proud to be a part of such an amazing, dedicated and respected crew.

October 16, 2012

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October 16, 2012

Excellent place! Professional, well run, nothing but the best in mind for the animals! I can't imagine a better sanctuary for these exotic animals that have been taken out of their element. My wife and i just got involved and plan to do so for a long time.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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3 hours of volunteer time for this nonprofit will...

Help with groundskeeping, preparing animal diets, housekeeping, maintenance projects, fundraising and awareness projects. Volunteer