By Kaitlin Montague
ATLANTIC CITY — On Saturday, May 3, the Marine Mammal Stranding Center is hosting its second annual “Run for the Animals” 5K. The Marine Mammal Stranding Center is a private non-profit organization that was founded in 1978 by Robert Schoelkopf, still current director, with just a few volunteers to help achieve his goals. Currently he and his wife, Sheila Dean, along with small paid staff, continue to work with the animals in need. The Stranding Center is currently located on the barrier islands of Brigantine, which contains New Jersey’s largest wildlife safe haven, though it was originally based in Gardner’s Basin in the inlet section of Atlantic City.
Currently, the Center has responded to over 3,900 strandings including whales, dolphins, seals and sea turtles that have washed ashore in this area over the years since its foundation. Although the Center is only responsible for strandings in New Jersey, it is occasionally asked to aid in the rescuing of animals in other states, as well. Since the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in a non-profit organization, most of its funding derives from donations, grants, memberships and fundraisers like this “Run for the Animals” 5K.
All proceeds for the event will benefit the Marine Mammal Stranding Center. Check in for the event is from 7-8:45am at Laguna Grill in Brigantine. There is a $28 registration fee that will include the run and a tee shirt. Register at raceit.com. Activities will take place after the race: awards, a silent auction, music, face painting, games and arts and crafts.
Because running isn’t appealing to all, there is also a one-mile dog walk on the beach and a pet parade that will benefit Beacon Animal Rescue. The registration fee is $10 and the dog walk will commence at 9:30am at the Laguna Grill. Register at beaconaminmalrescue.org. Pets should be dressed to impress for the parade! For questions about either event, please call (609) 266-0538.