PUTNEY — After years of abandonment and a bad reputation at Santa's Land, a new face is interested in purchasing the property.
C.S Wurzberger of Marlboro, also known as the "Green Up Girl," has been devoted to animals since the fourth grade and has envisioned turning the property into a Zoological Park & Conservation Center. Wurzberger will deliver a PowerPoint presentation of her ideas at tonight's Select Board meeting at 5:30 p.m. at the town hall.
"If they handed me the keys tomorrow I am ready to hit the ground running and build a successful business for our community," said Wurzberger.
Her passion for animals grew from a class assignment in the fourth grade into a career. Wurzberger says she ran a petting zoo, Smiling Hill Farm, in Westbrook, Maine, where she worked closely with the USDA and oversaw 300 animals and about 45 employees. She's trained as an animal rehabilitator, where she bottle-raised animals such as little deer mice. She earned her bachelor's degree in liberal arts from Norwich University and went on to get her masters certificate in sustainable innovation from the University of Vermont. She's received online training for internet marketing and web development and has published a three-part series called, "Wildly Profitable Marketing."
"I remember the magic of what Santa's Land was in its prime, the happiness and joy it brought us as kids. I didn't believe in the whole Santa thing, so for me it was going to see the animal exhibits," said Wurzberger. "I remember the magic it used to have and would like to bring it back and even more."
Her plan is not to continue on with a holiday theme, but rather to send a conservation message. Wurzberger hopes to host a facility that will connect children and adults with rare and endangered animals that are native to the U.S. To achieve this, Wurzberger is looking for community contributions to reach her $535,000 goal that she says will pay for the land, required permits and massive cleanup. She will speak in greater detail about her ideas at the Select Board meeting tonight. Donations to support the project can be made at her crowd funding site at www.indiegogo.com by searching "Join Us in Building a Rare Breeds Zoological Park."
Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext 275.