Sweet work! Midland siblings raise $1,600 for Wye Marsh

·4 min read

Imagine a documentary where two Midland siblings pilot themselves across the world, saving animals and curing cancer.

That could be the futures of the Hunters – 10-year-old Olivia and 8-year-old Beckett.

A charity bake sale by the Hunter family was held in early September, with over $1,600 in proceeds raised for the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre.

“Every year they choose a local charity of choice to reap the benefits of their bake sale,” explains their mother Kate Hunter. “This year, they chose the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre, which is a cause very near and dear to their hearts.

“This year we exceeded our goal pretty significantly. We have raised over $1,600 for the Wye Marsh and so they’re very proud of their accomplishments," Kate adds. "They have a very strong connection to community and giving back, and we’re trying to instill those types of qualities in them. They’re pretty excited that they could help support a cause that they love."

As day-camp attendees, the Hunter siblings – with the help of parents and grandparents – decided to prepare many of the brownies, muffins, banana bread, and more in advance of the event held on their front lawn.

“We had lots of cupcakes,” says Olivia. “So many cupcakes.”

“We’re both 'dishmakers'; we both make a lot of dishes when we cook,” Beckett chimes in.

Knowing they were the recipients of the donations, Friends of the Wye Marsh also attended and with them came two additional guests: Kenny the American kestrel and Becker the great horned owl.

“They’re really nice and cute, and we both got to hold Kenny but not Becker because Becker has very sharp talons whereas Kenny feels like a chickadee on your finger, which was cool,” said Olivia.

Adds Beckett, “I think it was really nice that they were able to bring Becker because she may have been really grumpy but I think she enjoyed it.” The horned owl had suffered an injury a week prior, but had made the journey with the Wye Marsh volunteers.

The Hunters are no strangers to charity. Donating in annual drives had begun in the family in 2010 with two cousins Taylor and Cameron Baumann, with all four cousins becoming involved in later years.

“We did it with our cousins when we were littler and we started when we were super young,” Olivia explained. “We decided we would keep doing it while our cousins went to university, and so we kept the tradition going.”

Amanda Swick, marketing and communications coordinator for the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre, gave ample praise with large gratitude for the Hunters.

“Wye Marsh is incredibly grateful to Olivia and Beckett, as well as their family, for organizing this fundraiser,” Swick says. “As a not-for-profit charitable organization, the educational programming, animal care, and stewardship initiatives which take place at Wye Marsh are made possible through community support and donations.

“When our community takes the initiative to fund-raise on our behalf, as Olivia and Beckett did, we do our best to support the event in any way we can. In this case staff (Johanna Rumney and Jenny Hagerman) were on site with some of the birds of prey animal ambassadors to highlight some of what the fundraiser would support.

"The birds of prey at Wye Marsh are with us because due to injury or circumstance, they cannot survive in the wild and require specialized care. Thank you once again to Olivia and Beckett, and to everyone who came out to get a sweet treat in support of Wye Marsh."

When asked what futures the siblings would like to pursue, their answers might not have been too surprising.

“When I’m older,” Olivia says, “I’d like to be either a scientist or a veterinarian because I love animals, which is why we helped the Wye Marsh. I feel like finding a cure for cancer would be something that I’d like to achieve in my life.”

Beckett replies, “I think I either want to be a vet that helps animals or a scientist. I want to be three jobs: my main job would be a plane driver or something like that, and then I’d be a scientist and a vet. Me and my sister could both try to find a cure for cancer together.”

The Hunter siblings extended their thanks to those who donated and to the Wye Marsh for bringing the birds. The Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre is located at 16160 Hwy. 12 E. in Midland. Further information on programs, activities, hours of operation, and how to get involved as a volunteer is available on the Wye Marsh website.

Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca