Celebrate the 20th anniversary of Noah’s shelter


Buy a home for the hedgehog shelter

by Liesbeth Spanjers

Hull – With the help of sponsors and a partial discount, Stichting Opvang Noach at Aaltenseweg 21a in Halle has made a major expansion. “This house, Aaltenseweg 21, is very close to our shelter and in order to continue to ensure peace for the animals, we wanted to buy it ourselves,” said Toon and Petra Lesterade. They rent a house in the Foundation’s shelter and live there with their son, Shakib. In December 2022, the 20th anniversary of Noach’s reception will be celebrated.

In 2021, the Foundation received a bequest. “It’s very special to get money from someone, because they think you’re doing a good job. We felt supported and we felt it was a responsibility to do something good for the future, for the environment and for the animals!”

If there was talk of their neighbors from No. 21 wanting to move in, the foundation’s plan was to be able to largely fund the home purchase with a bequest. However, she wanted to keep the house in the family, so the foundation bought a six-hectare plot of land across the street. “With the exception of a plot of land set aside for a small car park for the guests of our Visitor Center, the plot is completely cultivated as a quiet area. Only the Ashterhoek Agricultural Landscape Association (VALA) comes in when necessary. No one else is allowed.”
Then put the house up for sale. “It cost us sleepless nights. But with the support of money we don’t want to mention, for which we are very grateful, we were able to purchase the property. Stichting Opvang Noach, however, had to take out a loan, and a good part of that debt must be paid off within five years.” .But we will succeed,” says Petra Wotoun combatively.

The income is the gifts and donations they receive, the proceeds of the sponsor’s stamps from Jumbo in their slip saved, the clothing collection and the efforts of the Friends of Noah’s Shelter. There are volunteers selling items for the benefit of the foundation and the items are also given away in the reception area.

Noah’s Shelter Foundation
The Board of Directors of Stichting Opvang Noach has consisted of four people since its foundation, including Toon and Petra. The establishment hunts local wild animals. “We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and have been doing it on a volunteer basis for all these years.”

Petra was born on a farm in Doetinchem. “I started small with an animal shelter at home in Silvolde, 35 years ago. Animals have no voice. Who else should? People take up more and more of their space. We are all responsible, but who else has that responsibility?” Petra worked as a volunteer at the Wisselink family’s animal ambulance, hedgehog and bird of prey shelter in Doetinchem as well as at the animal shelter. Irregular life! “And I found a crazy guy who wanted to go along with it,” Petra laughs at her husband, Ton.
In the early years, they both got a job in addition to volunteering at the shelter, but after Ton suffered a stroke and stopped working, Petra eventually made that choice. Since then they have been living entirely to shelter animals. “I’m proud of that. We have to leave something for it, but do it with a lot of love. But for the help to continue, it would be nice to have more support from the government, municipality or county. It’s a beautiful area where we live, we have to be Be careful with her.”

Petra eagerly takes care of the wounded animals that come in, receiving only regular help cleaning the pens. “But we are not a circus and we are not a zoo. They are flighty animals, shy by nature and therefore do not allow visitors into the shelter.”

Although Petra does everything possible to return found animals, including foxes and birds of prey, to nature after care and rehabilitation, preferably to the place where the animals were found, this is not always possible. . “We also suffer misery if the animal cannot improve, but we have a high success rate.” People should always call first if they find an animal. “With good faith, you can also do the wrong thing. Elk or hares are still brought in. This is good faith, but the mother is always nearby.

Reception and education
It is already much more crowded in the shelter after a storm, when the nests fall from the trees, for example, or during warm periods, when swallows and sparrows literally fall in search of coolness. “Because the climate changes, the seasons change, wild animals also suffer from mountain bikers and stray dogs, fishing lines or barbed wire left behind. We also see more shot games.”
Information films for the groups are shown in the visitors’ room. “We tell (school) children about our shelter, and we inform professionals such as animal ambulance personnel about catching and moving animals.”
After the closure of shelter sites in Enschede and Almelo, animals are now coming to Halle from a larger area. “The hedgehog sanctuary in Harlow is also closed. In the house at Aaltenseweg 21 we are thus making a separate hedgehog shelter, where Noah’s rehabilitated hedgehogs can go for final care and get used to life outdoors. We can involve more people in this without disturbing the peace Like the volunteers and interns who follow the animal care course. There’s been a lot of demand for that for years.”
Ton and Petra want to create an experience. “If an injured animal is found and one of the children says, ‘We have to take it to Noah, then we have done well.'”

On December 11th from 2 to 4 p.m. there will be a reception in the Visitor Center marking the 20th anniversary of Stichting Opvang Noach. Gifts are not necessary, donations are very welcome.



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