The 11 best volunteer opportunities for animal lovers in Palm Beach County

Having a pet for a couple of hours a week sure is a lovely idea. And it’s not too far-fetched. You can volunteer. It’s as simple as that. Do good for the community, get some good karmic energy and play with dogs and cats all day.

Okay, well, that’s oversimplifying the position; it’s not all fun and games. It is serious work in need of dedicated individuals.

 

First, where you can volunteer in Palm Beach County:

Central PBC

West PBC County

North PBC County

South PBC


Puppies waiting to meet their families at the Countdown to Zero event at the Palm Beach County Convention Center (Contributed).
Puppies waiting to meet their families at the Countdown to Zero event at the Palm Beach County Convention Center (Contributed).

Next, what you need to know

At most rescue agencies, there is a critical need for volunteers. Some rescues run almost 100% off of volunteers.

The hours you’re needed can vary depending on the organization, but at Peggy Adams, for example, volunteers must commitment to at least four hours a week.

Did someone say, “Puppy cuddler?” Yep. That’s kind of think in animal shelters, and volunteers can definitely do that, and then some. 

Animal rescues need help bottle-feeding cats, walking dogs, and yes, picking up poop and cleaning out cages. You can also help by being a shelter tour guide and by showing the pets off to potential adopters.

Another form of volunteering is fostering. As a foster parent, you can learn all about the dog, rehabilitate it if need and provide it with a loving home until the agency is able to find the dog a furever home.

But volunteer positions aren’t just about directly helping with the animals. You can help indirectly, too. These organizations are businesses, and it takes a lot of pieces to keep them afloat. If you have skills in marketing, graphic design, photography or customer service, there’s a place for the animal lover in you to really help. Without these tasks being filled, finding furever homes for some of these animals would be near impossible.

Remember, volunteering is a serious commitment — almost like getting the actually pet. Not only does the organization take the time to train and trust you, but the animals learn to trust you as well.

Can’t get enough? Did you know you that you can turn your pup into a therapy dog?

Five furious bike trails in Palm Beach County

It’s hard to believe it, but you can actually go mountain biking in Florida (sort of)! Sure, we have plenty of nicely paved bike paths around the wealthy properties in Palm Beach County, but if you’re looking for a bit more adrenaline, you better check out these trails:

Daryll McKenzie, heads down the hill with riders behind him during the Sandblaster Mountain Bike Race Series at Dyer Park. (Greg Lovett/The Palm Beach Post)
Daryll McKenzie, heads down the hill with riders behind him during the Sandblaster Mountain Bike Race Series at Dyer Park. (Greg Lovett/The Palm Beach Post)

Dyer Park’s “The Hill” in West Palm Beach: This climbing/descending trail is over 53 feet in elevation! Sounds crazy, right? An actual hill in Florida where you can bike and test your endurance. The bike path is made out of crushed shell rock and is approximately 2.4 miles long and about 2 feet wide. Even though you will ride through native forests, most of the trail is exposed to the sun, so wear appropriate clothing and apply sunblock.

When: Everyday, sunrise to sunset.
Where: 7301 Haverhill Road West Palm Beach, Florida 33412
Cost: Free
Contact: (561) 966-6600pbcparks@pbcgov.org

Check out part of the trail captured by this GoPro camera:

. The Dyer Perimeter in West Palm Beach: Most use this 4.7-mile bike trail as a conditioning activity before facing “The Hill” at Dyer Park. “The way is mostly smooth, so beginners won’t have any problems,” according to Rei’s MTB Project. It’s not a boring trail, though. According to the MTB project, it has several miles of twisty single-track trails in the woods that loop around the park. So why would you need a mountain bike? There are broken branches and trunks you’ll want to bike over.

When: Everyday, sunrise to sunset.
Where: 7301 Haverhill Road West Palm Beach, Florida 33412
Cost: Free
Contact:(561) 966-6600pbcparks@pbcgov.org.

Pinehurst MTB Trail in Greenacres: Get technical and use all of your mountain bike’s gears. This trail is not as high in elevation as the Dyer Park trail, nor as fast as the Dyer Perimeter. On this one, you’ll get to sharpen your skills by controlling your balance, going over obstacles and shifting gears constantly. Get ready for plenty of log piles, sharp turns and sudden drops. It’s a good, quick workout packed into 4 miles according to Rei’s MTB project.

When: Everyday, sunrise to sunset.
Where: 2400 Pinehurst Dr, Greenacres, FL 33413
Cost: Free
Contact: (561) 966-6600pbcparks@pbcgov.org

Note: There is no parking on the actual trail, but there are two parks nearby with plenty of parking, restrooms, water, and pavilions: Okeeheelee Park and Greenacres Freedom Park.

4. West Delray Trail in Delray Beach: If you’re more into scenery and wildlife, this one is for you. This trail is a really pretty ride through canopied tropics, lakes, and swamp land inside West Delray Regional Park. It’s also fun because it has many technical elements such as turns, rocks, mounds and tree branches. 

There is a variety of wildlife  including squirrels, birds, butterflies, and lots of bugs as well, so wear repellent.

When: Everyday, sunrise to sunset.
Where: 10875 W Atlantic Ave, Delray Beach, FL 33446
Cost: Free
Contact: (561) 966-6600. pbcparks@pbcgov.org

photo cypress creek south
Habitat restoration work and trail improvement continues in Cypress Creek South, a new county natural area and preserve in Jupiter. (Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post)
  1. Cypress Creek Natural Area in Jupiter: Shell rock road through the Cypress Creek Natural Area. There are a few boardwalks that overlook the natural area and splinter trails for “foot traffic only.” The trail goes 2 miles west and ends at Mack Dairy Rd. http://www.singletracks.com/bike-trails/cypress-creek-natural

Hurricane Matthew: Kravis Center in West Palm Beach cancels two upcoming shows

Hurricane Matthew Update: The Kravis Center for the Performing Arts announces the cancellation of “Goodnight Moon” and “The Runaway Bunny” originally scheduled for Oct. 6 through Oct. 8, and “Songs of Freedom” on Oct. 6.  Guests who purchased tickets will be receiving an automatic refund.

To get the latest updates on Hurricane Matthew, check out WeatherPlus blog. 

Original story: As part of their 25th anniversary, the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts presents Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny Oct. 6 to 8 and Songs of Freedom on Oct. 6 in West Palm Beach.

The first two are animal puppet shows are based on classic Margaret Wise Brown children’s books with scenic effects and music that attract kids ages 2 to 7.

 

The Deets:

WhatGoodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny

When: Saturday, Oct. 8 at 10 a.m.

Where: The Kravis Center is located at 701 Okeechobee Blvd. in West Palm Beach, FL.

Cost: $12 per person.

Contact: Call 561-832-7469 or visit the official website at http://www.kravis.org/

Hurricane Matthew: status of Fall Family Fun Fest is ‘to be determined’

Hurricane Matthew update: The status of this event is “to be determined.” Get the latest updates on Hurricane Matthew on our WeatherPlus blog.

Lots of families will be at Fall Family Fun Fest at South Florida Science Center and Aquarium this Saturday. More than two hundred say they’re going to attend on Facebook and a couple of thousand are thinking about it.

For the sixth time, the center hosts children of all ages to enjoy themed crafts, face painting, bounce houses, live science demonstrations and carnival-style games.

The Fall Family Fun Fest will feature face painting. Here, Carl Duhaney sits still for an artist at last year's festival.
The Fall Family Fun Fest will feature face painting. Here, Carl Duhaney sits still for an artist at last year’s festival.

People seem most excited about the Every Kid’s Dream petting zoo that will be on site from 11am – 3 pm.

And if that’s not enough, just think: This awesome event is included when you pay regular admission to the science center, which means, you’ve also got the science center to explore.

Purchase tickets for adults and children here. 


The Deets:

What: Fall Family Fun Fest

When: Saturday, Oct. 8 from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

Where: South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, 4801 Dreher Trail N, West Palm Beach, FL 

Cost: $13 for adults, $9 for children 3-12, $11 for seniors and free for members.

You won’t believe these 10 crazy facts about secret life of your pets

A scene from "The Secret Life of Pets." (Illumination Entertainment/Universal Pictures)
A scene from “The Secret Life of Pets.” (Illumination Entertainment/Universal Pictures)

“The Secret Life of Pets” is out to somewhat mixed reviews. It might make pet owners and non-pet owners wonder about animals and their behaviors.

Here are some not-so-secret, but still interesting, facts about the lives of pets:

1. Dogs tilt their heads when something catches their interest and they want to hear it well.

2. A garter snake is prolific: It can give birth to 85 babies.

3. Cats knead (or press) their paws when they are content.

4. Iguanas can hold their breath for up to a half-hour.

5. Rabbits bite or dig at your feet when they want your attention or when they want you to move out of their way.

6. Dog urine is dangerous: It’s been known to corrode metals.

7. Ferrets like chasing games.

8. A goldfish can live a long life: Up to 40 years.

9. Guinea pigs toss their heads up in the air when they are annoyed at being petted.

10. An adult cat is Olympic-worthy: It can run up to 12 miles per hour and sprint at about 30 miles per hour.

Sources: Internet sites

Palm Beach County: 5 invasive species invading our county!

Nile monitors, native to the Nile Delta in Africa, can reach 5-foot and 15 pounds. The semi-aquatic lizards are meat-eaters with a fierce some bite.

Nile monitors, native to the Nile Delta in Africa, can reach 5-foot and 15 pounds. The semi-aquatic meat-eaters with a fearsome bite are known to breed in the canal along Southern Boulevard. (FWC)

Iguanas are tearing up our gardens while Nile monitor lizards are breeding in the C-51 Palm Beach Canal along Southern Boulevard.

Invasive exotic species abound in South Florida and Palm Beach County has its share.

The Burmese pythons breeding in the Everglades haven’t migrated this far north, but wildlife officials are concerned about the spread of tegus,  a large black-and-white lizard found in substantial numbers west of Miami and spotted a few times in Palm Beach County.

Read more about South Florida’s invasive species.