Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose has launched a fundraising campaign to rebuild its gift shop, which was recently destroyed by a fire.
No people or animals were injured in the February 17 late-night fire. Firefighters responded quickly, but the blaze burned half of the store down and caused extensive smoke damage to the other half, said Warren Lewis, director of marketing for Fossil Rim.
The cause of the fire remains undetermined.
Lewis said Fossil Rim plans to rebuild its gift shop, including an expansion to provide more space in the store and its restrooms. The rebuilding is expected to take about six months. In the meantime, Fossil Rim will house the gift shop in a double-wide trailer.
The Nature Store is an important source of revenue for the not-for-profit 501(c)(3), second only to entry tickets, Lewis said. The 1,800-acre ranch is home to more than 50 native and non-native species, including 16 that are endangered. For visitors, the ranch offers wildlife tours, various education programs, and lodging.
Lewis said the total cost of rebuilding the Nature Store is unknown, but the expansion is expected to cost about $300,000. To raise the funds, Fossil Rim this week started a brick campaign. Individuals or groups can donate by purchasing bricks at the price levels of $100, $250, or $500. The bricks will be used to make a trail outside of the new Nature Store.
“The revenue that’s generated at the Nature Store represents a significant amount of funding that goes directly into the cost of feed and care for the animals,” Lewis said. “The whole point is that by contributing to this cause, you’re actually participating in our conservation efforts. Because we’re a not-for-profit, anything and everything that comes in here goes right into research, education, stewardship of the land, and conservation.”