Non-profit expands reptile rescue and education programs with new mobile unit

Updated: Mar. 26, 2021 at 5:00 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Fresh Start Rescue Inc , a registered 501c3 animal rescue, opened in 2017. The founders say they’ve tripled or quadrupled every year.

“We have a fairly large reptile community here. There’s no other place really locally to surrender animals to, animals that are reptiles. Animal controls won’t take them so the only other rescue is out in Raleigh — so there are only two in North Carolina — so we get reptiles from everywhere,” said Nicole Spencer Fresh Start Rescue Inc.

They plan to expand even more with the unveiling of a new Mobile Reptile Unit.

The trailer is 28 feet long with enclosures inside. It will be used in several ways but it’s main goal is to dispel myths and better serve Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs for youth.

“Reptiles are the most misunderstood animals of the wild kingdom, and in a safe environment, we dispel myths and explore the importance these animals have in nature’s diverse web of life. The main goal of this new Mobile Reptile Unit is to better serve STEM learning for our youth. Our live-animal experiential learning programs have shown to have transformative effects on children who are at-risk or with autism diagnosis. Over the past few years, we have developed and conducted over 100 classes and programs in Brunswick, Bladen, Onslow, New Hanover, Sampson, and Pender Counties, STEM nights in Duplin and even a COP camp in Wake county,” said Michael Spencer, Vice-President Fresh Star Rescue Inc.

The new mobile reptile unit will also be used for church programs, boy and girl scouts, home school science classes, and other programs designed for our youth.

“The trailer holds 28 animals. We’re going to have representatives of all different types of species in there. There’s a card on each one that gives some information about them. We can take the trailer to community events or schools any kind of kids’ meetings like scouts. We can do, we can even do disaster evacuation if needed,” said Nicole Spencer, Fresh Start Rescue Inc.

“We will be teaching basic reptile classes as well as care information and products needed for a happy and healthy reptile. The mobile unit can also be used for natural disaster evacuation, birthday parties, classes, adoption days, festivals and everything in between,” said Spencer.

Fresh Start Rescue Inc. is also raising funds to put a new building on the property in Willard.

“We’re going to house all the reptiles in that building as soon as it’s finished so we can consolidate them; it will give us more room than we have now. It will allow us to upgrade their enclosures and it will allows the public to come out and actually see them, see what we do, meet the animals before they adopt — that kind of thing,” said Nicole Spencer.

The new Mobile Reptile Unit will be unveiled March 27th at Waterline Brewing Co in Wilmington from 2 p.m. until approximately 6 p.m. in an all-ages celebration complete with food truck and band.

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