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Yoga… Now With Critters!

Nancy Alkire Nancy Alkire Yoga… Now With Critters!Locke the Eastern screech owl and Kelly Mehring of Mat Happy Yoga in Hilliard.
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“Wild animals are magical. Being close to one can transform your thinking about the planet we share with them,” says Kelly Mehring co-owner of Mat Happy Yoga and volunteer at the Ohio Wildlife Center. “Melding my love of wild animals and yoga is one of my favorite things, and now the Ohio Wildlife Center has a beautiful barn, and we are going to try out some yoga there.”

Mehring is leading three sessions of “Yoga with the Animals” at the Ohio Wildlife Center’s Bonner Barn starting Sunday, January 21, 2018 at 9:30 a.m. Future sessions will be February 18 and March 18.

Located between Dublin and Powell, the Ohio Wildlife Center’s Wildlife Hospital cared for over 5,200 injured or orphaned animals last year. In 2016, they treated 51 turtles, 75 bats, and 307 opossums as well as hundreds of orphaned bunnies and squirrels.

“So many things can happen to a mother rabbit or squirrel,” Mehring noted sadly, “and then feeding the babies is a real job as they need hand fed many times a day.”

Mehring has been a volunteer at the Ohio Wildlife Center (OWC) for over 10 years.

“I have always been an animal lover, and then I found the OWC and loved their mission statement,” she says. “Since working with them I have had such great opportunities. One of the best things that I ever did was hand raise some orphaned fox kits.”

The OWC not only nurses animals to health for release back into the wild, but provides many educational events on site and in the community.

In 2016, the OWC opened the Bonner Barn as an education center and event space. Made from a 1891 historic barn and funded by the Barbara and Bill Bonner Family Foundation, the barn tripled the space available at for education at the OWC and hosts small weddings and other events.

“It is a gorgeous space,” says Mehring, “It’s great for sharing animal stories.”

Mehring will lead a 60-minute, donation-based yoga class open to all levels of adults. After class, some animal ambassadors and OWC staff will interact with the group. Based on how the three planned sessions go this Winter and feedback she gets, Mehring says more yoga may be offered at the OWC.

“I think yoga brings together people who love nature and are naturally affectionate to animals,” she says. “Events like these are a great way to show our yoga community that there are opportunities like the Ohio Wildlife Center out there.”

The Ohio Wildlife Center is located at 6131 Cook Rd., Powell, OH 43235. The first yoga class is Sunday, January 21 at 9:30 a.m. Other classes will be on February 18 and March 18. Suggested donations are $10-20 and go to fund programs at the OWC. To sign up visit ohiowildlifecenter.org/yoga. *Note: classes are currently sold out.

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