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Critters' Trek on Saturday

A Critters’ Trek will be held Saturday at Cuvilly Arts & Earth Center in Ipswich, to support its barnyard animals. A Critters’ Trek will be held Saturday at Cuvilly Arts & Earth Center in Ipswich, to support its barnyard animals.
By Wendy Killeen
May 13, 2010

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Cuvilly Arts & Earth Center in Ipswich, a model of ecological sustainability and early-childhood education, will hold its first annual Critters’ Trek Saturday to support its barnyard animals.

The center, a ministry of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, is home to four sheep, a llama-alpaca mix, a herd of Nubian goats, two pot-bellied pigs, three horses, two donkeys, and a range of poultry.

“The animals are, in fact, the heart and soul of Cuvilly’s preschool and kindergarten programs,’’ said Sister Pat Rolinger, who founded Cuvilly. “The lessons students learn by observing and helping to care for the animals underline the importance of ecological sustainability, environmental diversity, and the interconnectedness of all life.

“Cuvilly wouldn’t be Cuvilly without the animals,’’ she added. “A pig is so much more than a pork chop, a sheep so much more than its wool. All the animals teach us so much.’’

The animals eat hundreds of pounds of feed and hay every year, need attention from veterinarians and groomers, and require straw for bedding, all at a cost of about $20,000 a year.

Participants in the Critter’s Trek can choose a 6-mile walk/run, beginning at 9 a.m.; a 25-mile bike ride, beginning at 9:15 a.m.; or a family-friendly 1.5-mile walk. All are on pre-set routes. Participants should arrive 15 minutes before their events to turn in pledges.

There is a minimum $30 in pledges required per person, which covers a free T-shirt and picnic lunch. After the trek, people can return to Cuvilly’s for food, music, neck massages, family activities, and a yard sale.

Cuvilly is at 10 Jeffreys Neck Road. Call 978-356-4288 or visit www.cuvilly.org.

CHALLENGING TIMES: Bob and Kerry Pottle of Billerica have been riding, volunteering, and raising money for cancer care and research through the Pan-Mass Challenge for years, having lost two relatives to the disease.

Now they are bringing the PMC BMX Kids Ride, a mini-bikeathon for children ages 2-14, to Billerica for the first time. The ride is Sunday at Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park.

In 1998, Bob’s 23-year-old sister, Cheri Pottle of Everett, died of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leaving her 1-year-old son, Jaalen, in his care. Now 13, Jaalen has been raised by the Pottles.

Five years later, in 2003, Kerry’s mother, Michele Baldinger, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Baldinger had been a volunteer massage therapist at the PMC for two years, which inspired Kerry to raise money and ride.

The next year, the Pottles switched from riding in the event to volunteering alongside Baldinger, who worked at the PMC until her death in 2007. This year, the Pottles wanted to give kids like Jaalen a way to become part of the PMC mission.

The PMC Kids Ride takes place from 9-11:30 a.m. at the park’s BMX track, 500 Treble Cove Road. There is a $10 registration fee and a suggested $25 fund-raising minimum. To register, visit kids.pmc.org. For more information, call 781-791-4507.

WHO’S WHAT WHERE: Brian and Phyllis McCarthy of Marblehead are cochairs of a committee planning the 16th annual Hospice of the North Shore Auction and Regatta in June. . . . The Leonard Florence Center for Living in Chelsea has been named Employer of the Year by the Job Training Alliance in recognition of its job-placement services for people seeking to enter the workforce. Jia Liang Deng, resident baker at the nursing home, had been honored with the Successful Program Graduate Award. Deng is a recent graduate of the culinary arts training program offered by Jewish Vocational Services, a member of the Job Training Alliance. . . . Fantastic Sams hair salon in Beverly is participating in HopeCuts, a national fund-raiser supporting research into breast cancer, pediatric cancer, diabetes, and HIV. The salon will be open noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, with employees donating their time to offer services at reduced prices. All proceeds benefit City of Hope National Medical Center and Beckman Research Institute in California. . . . About 90 Northern Essex Community College students, faculty, and staff joined 300 other volunteers from area organizations to participate in a citywide cleanup project in Lawrence to celebrate Earth Day. Under the direction of Niurka Aybar-Balbuena, the college’s associate director of community relations, they worked on various projects, from litter pickup to cutting up bamboo and large branches.

Items can be sent to wdkilleen@gmail.com.