How many times have you heard the old adage that the more things change the more they stay the same? I’m not sure if it holds up, but it seems to ring true here in the chimp house.
When I was here last it was 2019 and driving up a few months ago for my first shift was jaw dropping. The sanctuary has always been beautiful, tucked away in the mountains around Cle Elum, and it has retained that beauty. Now, though, it is home to 9 additional chimpanzees and the sanctuary has grown so much. When I came to CSNW for my first ever intern shift, with fellow caregiver Chad, we had our volunteer orientation in a trailer outside of the kitchen. Where I am sitting now to write this blog did not exist – or, rather, it was outdoor space between the kitchen and the trailer. Now there is a lobby, a full bathroom (!), a clinic, and the new additions for chimpanzee space.
This photo is from the archives of my phone photos – a long ago trip around Young’s Hill, with the Cle Elum 7, in 2019 (don’t worry – my blog photos will get better, promise). If you squint you can see the original building plus Phase 1, since construction began a few months before I left.
A quick search through archived photos also produced this gem – Desert Fox, the O.G. clinic and meeting space. This is where we had our initial volunteer orientation and it will always be one of my first memories of CSNW.
This photo (thanks, Anthony!) has been used in previous blog posts, but it really lets you see how much has changed. After Phase 1, Phase 2 and 3 were added. It truly is amazing to see how the sanctuary has changed and to witness the positive impact of such a big change.
I think that’s what it comes down to- pulling up to the sanctuary now after a few years away, it’s hard to ignore how much of everything around me is new. For a while it was intimidating, until it started to settle in that what makes CSNW so special has remained through it all. Thank goodness some things never change.
Bonus Photo: Jamie enjoying her loot of mini peppers from the Easter forage yesterday.