From left: Jamie Schoenherr, Ryan Mellott, Morgan Langan, Rachel Novotny, Steven Smith, Emily Kim, Brittany Tillman, Meghan Bissen, Amelia Evenson, Dr. Ashley Farmer-Hanson

From left: Jamie Schoenherr, Ryan Mellott, Morgan Langan, Rachel Novotny, Steven Smith, Emily Kim, Brittany Tillman, Meghan Bissen, Amelia Evenson, Dr. Ashley Farmer-Hanson

April 5, 2017

Ten Buena Vista University students participated in an AWOL (Alternative Week of Off-site Learning) trip during spring break, enabling them to volunteer their time and service with a focus on treating injured animals in Hubert, N.C.

The BVU participants volunteered at Possumwood Acres, a non-profit wildlife sanctuary that specializes in the rehabilitation, care and treatment of injured animals. The BVU participants’ first stop was Lynnwood Park Zoo in Jacksonville, N.C., where they helped sand zoo paths, feed monkeys and educate visitors about the animals.

Next, the group headed to Possumwood Acres where they fed and tended to sick or injured animals, helped with projects around the facility and learned the daily routines of the sanctuary. In addition, the participants had the opportunity to learn about and experience the culture of the area by taking a boat to Shackleford Banks, which is a barrier island located off the coast of North Carolina and is known for its wild horse population.

“I was impacted by the passion I saw from the people in charge of the service sites. Their passion stood out to me and drove my desire to serve. It also encouraged me to find my passion in life.”

Emily Kim

“The experience allowed me to use my abilities to serve others,” said Emily Kim, a junior biology major from Fairmont, Minn. and one of the student site leaders for the trip.

Others students who participated in the animal advocacy AWOL trip were Ryan Mellott, a senior biology major from Westminster, Colo.; Morgan Langan, a senior environmental science major from O'Neill, Neb.; Rachel Novotny, a senior biology major from Carson; Brittany Tillman, a freshman biology major from Durand, Mich.; Meghan Bissen, a junior biology major from Harlan; Amelia Evenson, a junior chemistry education major from Lake Mills; and Steven Smith, a senior history education major from Blairsburg.

Advisors for the trip included Dr. Ashley Farmer-Hanson, assistant dean for student life and director of civic engagement, and Jamie Schoenherr, instructor of exercise science at BVU.