Spring Into Action For The Chimps!

Announcements, Community
In this Issue:

Sustaining Former Research Chimpanzees

It is interesting to ask someone “what is sustainability?” Every person you ask will offer a different explanation of what it means to them. Broadly, “sustainability” is the need to create environmental, economic and social models that will allow both the human race and planet Earth to survive.
Betty enjoys a locally grown apple donated from Mercier Orchards.
At Project Chimps, we incorporate the principles of sustainability in many ways; making decisions about recycling, selecting eco-friendly products, purchasing locally, and more. One of the ways we seek to improve our sustainable practices is to grow and harvest our own food for the chimpanzees. Introducing Project Harvest.

Project Harvest will be a mini farm, carving out approximately 15 acres of our 236 to exclusively focus on high-volume producing varietals of fruits and vegetables.

Initial plans for Project Harvest include 11 planting beds, a small orchard, a new well, solar energy, and a robust apiary (bee hives) to ensure all the plants will be pollinated. The honey from the apiary will be humanely collected and shared with the chimpanzees too! You can help support this project, find out how here
Each chimpanzee at Project Chimps receives 5-6 pounds of produce every day; at least 7 different options are on the daily menu ranging from tomatoes, oranges, kale, sweet potatoes, and even onions. We receive donations in small quantities from local farmers and food distributors, but by and large, we must purchase the food with delivery trucks arriving three times each week. And that is just for 59 chimps!

With our plan to house more than 200 chimps, we realize that we need to find sustainable off-sets to the cost and delivery burden of our chimpanzee food supply.

In addition to Project Harvest, we are also tending to the edible trees and shrubs that grow on our property. These native and invasive plants allow us to provide the chimpanzees with daily “browse” clippings collected from the bamboo, sourwood, willow, and other plants that thrive inside and outside the chimpanzees’ forested 6-acre habitat.

Noel enjoys red cabbage currently purchased from a local store, soon we can offer her home-grown options! Photo by Crystal Alba.
By growing food for the chimpanzees right here on our own property, we will reduce our carbon footprint caused by transporting food from out of the local area. We will reduce our food costs, allowing us to use private donations in other areas. And we will be able to ensure we are not damaging the native wildlife that surrounds us by using only organic and natural pest deterrents.

Most important, we’ll be providing the chimps with a healthy and varied diet!

Our efforts to participate in the growing movements for food sustainability will be accomplished through our Project Harvest Committee; a group of passionate volunteers and funders who have already contributed their knowledge and early support to create the foundation of this farm area. While it is only on paper today, we hope to spend this summer grading and plotting with the goal to be planting by this fall.

We are well on our way to a sustainable food program!

If you are interested in supporting Project Harvest join our volunteer program or select a garden supply from our Amazon Wish List!

With warmest regards,

Ali Crumpacker
Executive Director

Join Us for One or More of our Spring Events!

Cheers for Chimps! Join us as Fannin Brewing Company unveils a new brew to benefit Project Chimps, Saturday, April 13th, from 2 to 8 p.m.

Each ticket holder will receive a limited edition Project Chimps 16oz glass, one pour of the new apple lager and one dish of our award winning Chimp Chili with live music from Gopher Broke. Reserve your ticket here.

Child paints rocks at Project Chimps
Our first-ever Chimps Rock! is on April 26th and 27th will feature two days of art and discovery for kids and kids at heart! Inspired by The Kindness Rocks Project, children and adults are invited to paint a rock with messages of inspiration after touring the sanctuary and enriching the lives of the chimps.

Tickets are only $10 for a child plus one adult.  Secure your tickets today! 
*Saturday is SOLD out*

Former Research Chimps Browse the Menu

At Project Chimps, we strive to enrich the lives of former research chimpanzees by giving them items that encourage their natural behaviors. In the wild, chimpanzees spend a majority of their day travelling and searching for food. Here at the Project Chimps sanctuary, our care team feeds the chimps a variety of fresh produce, the chimps don’t have to worry (like wild chimps would) where their next meal is coming from.

In sanctuary, the chimps’ daily diet of fresh fruits and vegetables are supplemented with a variety of healthy “snacks” that the chimps have to search for. In the sanctuary world, we call it “browse” – leaves and branches from trees and plants that in the wild, chimpanzees would be searching for and munching on all day long.

Samira chews on a bamboo stem in the mesh tunnel that connects her villa to the outdoor Peachtree Habitat at Project Chimps. Photo by Crystal Alba.
Chimpanzee digestive tracks are designed to handle a good bit of fiber, so the benefit of browse for gut health is substantial. On top of hoping the chimps have happy bellies, browse also keeps the chimps occupied and challenged. Members of our team gather stems and branches from native and invasive plants that grow on the grounds of our sanctuary in the Blue Ridge Mountains of north Georgia. Chimpanzee caregivers then lay the cut branches on the tops of the mesh of the chimps’ large group enclosures so the chimps must pull the leaves through the mesh to eat, mimicking the foraging process in the wild.

Read more about how browse supports the chimps health and happiness in this article by Chimpanzee Care Manager Laura Mayo on our Chimp Chatter blog.

To support foraging activities like this and chimp care directly, make a one-time or recurring donation today.

Project Chimps Onesie for $20!

Do you know a mother-to-be? A new Project Chimps fan in the family? Get them a onesie to show their chimp love!

Environmentally friendly phthalate-free soy based inks are used for the printing of this onesie.

  • 100% organic cotton
  • 95% Chimp design printed on front in charcoal.
  • Royal Apparel brand. Made in the USA.
  • Unisex fit, available in green and pink
  • Sizes 3 months to 24 months available

Get our onesie in green!Also available in pink!

Seeing the Forest for the Chimps

Meet Ryan Kennedy, Landscape Specialist at Project Chimps.
Don’t make him choose between plants and primates. Both are equally his passion.

Ryan Kennedy combines his expertise in horticulture with his passion for chimpanzees in the newly created position of Landscape Specialist at Project Chimps. On any given day, you’ll find Ryan bushwhacking through tall stands of invasive bamboo or climbing ladders to carefully prune native trees. His cuttings then become a major source of enrichment for former research chimpanzees.

Find out more about Ryan and how he helps the chimpanzees thrive in sanctuary on our Chimp Chatter blog.

Donate to Project Chimps Today

The Chimps are Springing Forward!

Announcements, Non Profit
In this Issue:
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The Chimps are Springing Forward…Slowly

We all know that daylight saving time can have an effect on us, but did you know it can also affect the chimpanzees?

On the second Sunday in March most of America “sprang forward” to accommodate the beginning of daylight saving time. And just as you might have been thrown off, the circadian rhythm of animals that depend on humans were also thrown off. If you live in a country that practices daylight saving, did you notice that your companion animals were less enthused to get up in the pitch black? Perhaps their appetite for breakfast was lower than usual?

Harley tries to sleep in and Amy slowly wakes up during the early dawn hours.
We’re all a little jet lagged

Just like you, your pets lost an hour of sleep and are still adjusting. Daylight saving time has an effect on wild animals and pets, leaving them feeling a bit ‘jet-lagged.’

Similarly, many wild animals set their routine to sunlight. They rise with the sun, and they prepare to sleep when the sun sets. These animals will simply adjust their behavior to mimic the sun.

The chimpanzees here at Project Chimps felt the change.

It’s too early for breakfast!

They know the sounds our team makes as they prepare breakfast; the human voices that float towards their sleeping heads as we approach the villas and the rev of a mule cart that is driving the bins of freshly prepared vegetables their way. Yet, the sun hasn’t peeked through their windows, the robins and wrens have not started their dawn song. Surely something is wrong! Perhaps the chimps think they are dreaming.

Before the time change, the chimps’ bedrooms were already lit with sunlight before breakfast, but this week the caregivers have to turn on the overhead lights to do their morning safety check and begin the breakfast service. Oscar curls up in his nest of donated wood wool and tries to sleep in. Kareem, normally the first to greet the caregivers and accept his veggies, sits in his nest and lazily yawns, not quite ready for the meal.

Oscar tries to sleep in the early dawn hours on his nest of donated wood wool.
Those silly humansOur days take a little longer to get moving while we wait on the sleepy chimps to accept that, yes, it’s really time to wake up even though the sun has not risen. And at the end of these longer days, they are amused that we think it’s time to wind down for dinner and start creating the evening’s nest. Surely, if they could talk, they would say, “the sun is still up, silly human!”

Just as humans eventually adjust to the time change, so will the chimps.

With warmest regards,

Ali Crumpacker
Executive Director

Villa 4 Chimps Now Live in Harmony

Thank you to everyone who participated in the poll to name Villa 4 last month!
More than 2,300 votes were received with the majority (over 700) of participants selecting Harmony Villa as the new name!
We love it too!

Join Us for One or More of our Spring Events!

Child paints rocks at Project Chimps
Our first-ever Chimps Rock! is on April 26th and 27th will feature two days of art and discovery for kids and kids at heart! Inspired by The Kindness Rocks Project, children and adults are invited to paint a rock with messages of inspiration after touring the sanctuary and enriching the lives of the chimps.

Tickets are only $10 for a child plus one adult.  Secure your tickets today!

Cheers for Chimps! Join us as Fannin Brewing Company unveils a new brew to benefit Project Chimps, Saturday, April 13th, from 2 to 8 p.m.

Each ticket holder will receive a limited edition Project Chimps 16oz glass, one pour of the new apple lager and one dish of our award winning Chimp Chili with live music from Gopher Broke. Reserve your ticket here.

Become a Discovery Days Exhibitor

Project Chimps hosts Discovery Days twice a year in May and September. Guests travel from all over the world to attend this event, which sells out months in advance. More than 500 ticket-holding guests receive behind-the-scenes tours our chimpanzee sanctuary.

You can help to fund a new life for former research chimpanzees by becoming a Discovery Days exhibitor or sponsor.

Reserve your space today!  
Booths start at just $50. Non-profits are free!

May Exhibitor Registration
September Exhibitor Registration 

Looking for Discovery Day attendance tickets? May is sold out, but tickets for September are still available here. You can also join us for Chimps Rock! in April.

Plush Chimps “Adopted” by Former Research Chimps

For Amy and Noel, the plush toy was a temporary “baby.” For Collin it was a projectile to be thrown against the wall. Former research chimpanzees react very differently to plush toys donated for their enrichment.

Their reactions are informed by the chimpanzee’s personality, age, sex and past experiences in captivity.

Project Chimps recently received a donation of 12 plush chimpanzee toys from MelissaAndDoug.com. The plushes were distributed to various groups of male and female chimpanzees now living in permanent retirement at the Project Chimps sanctuary.

Harley, a 10-year-old female chimpanzee, surprised her caregivers when she “adopted” one of the plush chimps as if it was her baby.

Harley in a moment of tender embrace with her donated Melissa and Doug plush chimp.
“Since her arrival from the lab in late 2017, Harley had never really played with toys or plushes,” said chimpanzee caregiver Crystal Alba. “At first she tested it by hitting and kicking it and then she adopted it as though it was a real baby chimp.”

What happened next was even more interesting. Read more on our Chimp Chatter blog.

To support enrichment activities like this and chimp care directly, make a one-time or recurring donation today.

Project Chimps Youth Tee for $25!

Actors Mallory James Mahoney and Bryce Gheisar wearing Project Chimps Tshirts
Do you have a young Project Chimps fan in the family? Get them a shirt to show their chimp love!

They’ll love wearing it at school and at home – or to one of our upcoming family-friendly events! All proceeds help to provide care, food and enrichment for the former research chimpanzees at Project Chimps.

Actors Mallory James Mahoney and Bryce Gheisar wore them on their recent visit to Project Chimps. Get yours today!

Get our youth tee in eggplant!
Also available in ocean blue!

A Head for Figures, A Heart for Animals

Sandi, Jill, and Mimi volunteering at Chimp or Treat last October where guests were invited to attend in costume to entertain the chimps and learn about the sanctuary.
Project Chimps volunteer Sandi Boone has always been an animal lover; and while she has a background in accounting, she may have never calculated that her love for chimps would multiply exponentially.

It’s difficult to not fall in love with all 59 residents of Project Chimps, but one former research chimp in particular is extra special to Sandi.

But who is Sandi’s favorite chimp? Find the answer and learn more about Sandi’s volunteer adventures on our Chimp Chatter blog.

Donate to Project Chimps Today

Stepp Blesses Backs with Packs

Community, Fannin County High

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – We all like the sound of making a difference in the community, but how many of us actually take action? Fannin County High School student, Cassie Stepp, took the initiative to put her own community service project into place.

Stepp is a junior at Fannin County High School who is currently juggling not only her high school classes but dual enrollment at North Georgia Technical College along with her project. The Fannin County junior came up with the idea of supplying backpacks, full of everyday necessities that we take for granted, to the homeless. She came up with the idea all on her own and named her project “Blessing Backs With Packs”. When asked how she came up with the project and what made her decide to do it, Stepp responded, “I was at church one night when our youth leader, Justin Minter, asked us, ‘If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?’ My immediate thought was to help the homeless. Since I cannot build homes, I started to think on it and came up with this.”

Putting the project into place took a lot of time, patience, and planning. Once Stepp knew that she wanted to make her project happen, she went to one of her youth leaders, Matt Meeks, to lead her in the right direction. “Matt helped me schedule meetings to get my project approved and moving along,” Stepp shared with the FetchYourNews (FYN) team. “There have definitely been challenges that I’ve had to overcome when scheduling the important meetings because I’ve been so busy, but I have managed to work through it.”

Knowing that putting the bags together would take a lot of money, Stepp hit the drawing board. “Starting out, I set a goal for $500 in order to make 10 bags,” Stepp explained. Cassie raised money from a bake sale, yard sale, and a raffle. She stayed up for hours the night before her bake/yard sale making desserts, rounding up things she no longer used, making signs, and pricing items. For her raffle, Stepp went to local businesses asking for generous donations to put in the baskets she would be giving away. “Altogether I raised $600, exceeding my goal by $100,” Stepp said.

Then, Stepp wasted no time purchasing the bags and the items to go in it. In the bags, she included: a piece of paper explaining what the bag was, socks, a lot of canned food, an emergency blanket, a small flashlight, pens, hygiene products, a Bible, a journal, a water bottle, and information about local shelters. When asking Stepp how many people she will have helped at the end of her project, she responded, “There are currently 34 homeless in Fannin, and I plan to eventually help them all. I established the goal of 10 bags as a starting point for my project to grow off of. I spent $400 on the 10 bags and plan to put the leftover $200 towards the other 24 bags after more fundraising.”

After asking Stepp when she thinks the rest of her bags will be complete and her project will come to an end, she answered, “I don’t plan for my project to ever come to an end. After I’ve helped everyone in Fannin, I want to expand my project into other counties to help more people.” Cassie is continuing to think of more ways to raise money for her project as she also works to become a non-profit organization so that Blessing Backs with Packs can grow.

Stepp has made such a big impact on the community from being asked one simple question from her youth leader. If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

“I would like to express my appreciation to all of the businesses who donated items for the raffle and helped me reach my goal. I could not have done this without them,” Stepp shared with the FYN team. The organizations include: Serenity Spa and Resort, Mason Tractor Company, Dairy Queen, April’s Attic, Blue Ridge Outdoor Adventure Wear, River Gypsy, Humble Pie, Blue Ridge Bird Seed Company, Chocolate Express, Blue Ridge Mountain Mall, Blue Ridge Fly Fishing, Fannin Lanes, Cohutta Mini Golf, Cohutta Feed and Seed, Taste of Amish, Blue Ridge Oil Change, X-Treme Print Graphics, Fannin County High School, Donna Gray, and Cheryl Stepp.


3rd Grade Solar Ovens


West Fannin’s third grade teachers Mrs. Grubb and Mrs. Shinpaugh are doing things a little differently this year. Their new schedule allows for a STEM block where they can co-teach science and math. By integrating science and math, students can make better connections between the two subjects. The integration of the two subjects also helps students see the relevance of mathematics. Recently, students used what they have learned this year in their science and math units to construct solar ovens from pizza boxes. The students worked in groups to plan and build their designs. The students had to measure lengths, measure angles, and record the measurements in their STEM journals.  After they constructed their solar ovens, they went outside to test them by cooking S’mores. The students gathered all the data and shared their successes and failures with one another. The students then received new pizza boxes in an attempt to improve their solar ovens after analyzing the data.  Making data-based improvements is a vital part to the STEM Engineering Design Loop.  Our third graders loved this STEM project. What a creative way to integrate science and math.



Mobile businesses are happening all around us and in every industry. The art world is no exception.

Artist Jenny King has been a fixture on the Marietta Square for almost a decade. At the end of the month, she will be moving her studio from the cozy spot above The Australian Bakery, to a shuttle bus conversion. “Leaving the Square was a tough decision, I love it there, the people, the community, but ultimately, transitioning into a mobile studio is in alignment with a project I’ve been working on for awhile now called Artist on the Lam.”, she explains.

Since 2009, King has contributed countless hours to help create the booming art scene present today on the Marietta Square. Her efforts include sharing her studio space with other local artists via Red Door Art Gallery & Studio, creating the charity event Trilogy, making the First Friday Art Walks more exciting for patrons with Mystery Themes, and even donating her services to The Winter Wonderland Experience by painting the mural at the ice rink, and that’s just to name a few.

She has strived to help bring the community together through art, so why move off the thriving Marietta Square now? She says that it’s simply the right time for her. “The Square is in a good place with some very talented and dedicated people to support it. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for the last 19 years, my boys are getting ready to go off to college soon and so now I’m looking forward to slowing down from the grind, logging some travel time while still being able to create art.”

Her new project aims to continue that spirit of building community through art, but on a broader platform. It’s described as “a video documentation of the creative process presented in an engaging format to nourish your mind and spirit.” She breaks it down for us like this: “If Bob Ross and American Pickers had a baby…it would be Artist on the Lam.”

Fellow artist Kirk Stansbury is an integral part of this endeavor as he brings a different style of art and perspective. His work uses many upcycled and repurposed materials he randomly finds and constructs into a folky and funky art.

“I’m excited about it on a number of levels.”, says Stansbury. “This is a new experience of the unknown. I’m looking forward to traveling to new places, the adventure, meeting new people, the things we’ll discover to create art. My only hope is to educate and inspire others while having a little fun along the way.”

The diversity of Kirk and Jenny’s styles along with their congenial personalities is sure to make this a dynamic production, which is on track to launch in 2018.

The heart of Artist on the Lam is to inspire people by shining light on what it takes to create art in a way that others may learn. “If even one person out there can take something from this, can learn something new, travel (even if only vicariously) to a place they’ve never been, but especially if someone connects with their inner artist from watching Artist on the Lam, we will know we have achieved our purpose.”

King is not quite ready to leave the Square completely however. Her art will be remaining as she partners exclusively with Markay Gallery. “The Light Series is an important body of work to me.”, says Jenny. “I went through some very difficult life changes over the last two years. I’m still going through it. This series has been very soul healing for me.” The collectors that are drawn to these paintings seem to appreciate the ethereal feeling of hope they experience when viewing her work as well.

Markay Gallery, located just off the Marietta Square at 26 Winters Street, is the newest venture to join the Marietta Square, its owner however, Amber Markay Byrd, has been a prominent figure in the community for the last decade and has had a significant impact on the growth and success of the arts in the area.

“Having met Jenny almost 10 years ago, I have loved seeing how she uses art to connect with people in such a special and meaningful way.”, says Byrd. “Her canvas is her page and her paint is the story. Her work is beyond beautiful, it’s a personal connection to behold. Having her on board as a Markay Gallery artist is an exciting new chapter for both Jenny and the gallery. We’re honored to represent her!”

Amber’s vision and forward thinking approach to connecting collectors to the kind of art that “you just can’t live without now that you’ve seen it” has catapulted Markay Gallery to the top of unique gallery experiences to acquire the best and brightest the art world has to offer.

Jenny King still accepts commissions for clients who value a personal touch when it comes to art. View all the services she offers at www.JKingArtworks.com.

To learn more about the Artist on the Lam project, please visit www.ArtistOnTheLam.com.

For more information on Markay Gallery, please visit www.MarkayGallery.com.

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