One of the attractive resources of the Idyllwild community is the Nature Center and the surrounding Riverside County Park. We volunteered weekly there for eight years doing a variety of chores but for much of the time most of our work was caring for the museum animals.
One major issue when we first started volunteering was the amount of mice, rat and chipmunk droppings all over the museum. Many weeks there were live mice found in the bird-seed containers. The kitchen counters and drawers were disgusting and a health hazard.
The park interpreter at the time had the idea to adopt a cat from ARF to see if that would help with this problem. She got permission and Sunny was adopted from the rescue. Sunny became the star of the Nature Center, not only for taking care of the rodent problem, but also for being a favorite of many of the visitors.
Often, when we were there, the first question asked by guests was, “Where is Sunny?” She is just one of those animals who loves attention and makes visitors, especially children, feel welcome. Dogs are allowed in the museum and she isn’t a fan of dogs, and so when dogs arrive, she spends her time in the office. But her usual spot is by the entrance.
We no longer volunteer on a scheduled basis, but still do trail maintenance work for the Nature Center and also drop off food for the turtle and tortoises. Sunny is still a high point for us and we look forward to seeing her at her post.
We were shocked to see her picture in the Town Crier “Creature Corner” recently, listed as needing a home. We now find that someone “in charge” at the park’s department has decided she needs to go.
Apparently, a person in Idyllwild has threatened to sue the county for having a cat on the Nature Center premises for various, ridiculous reasons. We don’t understand why one person has more input than all the other visitors, volunteers and staff at the Nature Center. One vocal person should not be able to force the removal of a beloved member of the Nature Center community.
Sunny is an asset to the Nature Center, first as a vermin eradicator and, more importantly, as the official greeter to all visitors.
Mary and Stephen Kenyon