It’s no secret that spending time outdoors improves mood, health, and reduces stress. During Mental Health Month, Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter will welcome visitors to reap the benefits of the nature trails and interactions with wildlife residents at the sanctuary after a year in which being inside has become a self-isolating norm.
“Busch Wildlife Sanctuary has always wanted to be a sanctuary for people, just as much as one for animals,” said Amy J. Kight, Busch Wildlife executive director. “The fact that someone can step foot through our doors and instantly see the beauty of natural Florida along with our animal residents means so much to us.”
Thousands of people passed through the sanctuary in 2020, which included 30 organizations from rehabilitation centers, special needs groups, and other similar facilities.
Some youth groups, like the Jupiter Tequesta Juniorettes, left their mark on the sanctuary by planting a butterfly garden for visitors to enjoy.
For others, the wildlife refuge was a haven during a trying year. Rafael Laredo, administrator for The Open Doorway School, recently brought his students to the Sanctuary. The school focuses on providing a safe and unique educational experience for children with special needs.
“It is not often that special needs and at-risk youth are able to have a reprieve from their already difficult lives and situations; this year, it has been much worse. Covid has made it difficult for many locations to work with the school in order to accommodate the needs of our students, who are used to having field trips, outings, and real life engagement in their daily to day,” Laredo said. “The students were so glad, and grateful, to be able to both enjoy the time out, and to give back to a cause they are very close to.”
The Sanctuary is open for self-guided tours as well as private tours led by our staff Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.