Today is the Day of Caring, a day when thousands of volunteers from local businesses donate their time and talents to help schools and charities in our area. The Trident United Way organizes this annual blitz, and IPPL has taken part since 2004.

Until last year, the Day of Caring was always held in September and came to be regarded as a way to commemorate the tragedy of 9/11 by giving back in a positive way. This year, TUW decided to mix things up a bit. When the Day of Caring was in September, we would worry about heat waves and always stock up on extra bottled water for our volunteers. This year, we weren’t sure the thermometer would get much above 50 degrees F, so we had coffee and cocoa handy in the kitchen.

But we were more than ready for our volunteer teams. In fact, we started prepping almost two weeks ago. On November 3, we welcomed once again a group of volunteers from the Mount Pleasant Garden Club.

They arrived to lay the groundwork (literally) for this year’s Day of Caring. As one of our DoC projects, we wanted the volunteer team from the University School of the Lowcountry to plant a veggie garden for our gibbons. They had done this as a pilot project last year, but this time we wanted to up our game by doing a more careful job of preparing the soil in our raised beds.

The Garden Club women had suggested that we incorporate some high-quality compost into the existing dirt and offered to do this for us—an offer we eagerly accepted. They not only sifted out impurities from the compost (stray plastic bits and such) and dug it in well, they also laid a handy border of landscape cloth and mulch around the beds.

So when our USL volunteers arrived bright and early this morning, we were ready for them.


The kids were good workers and had the cool-weather veggies planted in no time: rainbow chard and swiss chard, white moon kale and green kale.

Our gibbons will love them!



When the students were done in the garden, they planted bulbs (daffodils and hyacinths) in some of our flower beds and along our long gravel driveway.

Our caregiver Samantha said the kids were all quite bright, were very interested in the gibbons, and had clearly read up about IPPL and our sanctuary. They loved the distinctive sounds that Tong makes and asked questions about things like gibbon coat colors. One youngster even knew what “brachiation” was.

We were also glad to welcome back a team from Hagemeyer.


These hardworking folks never disappoint.

They pruned overgrown plantings and raked away debris.

They re-painted the wooden climbing towers that our gibbons love to perch on.

They even washed the windows of our guest cottage and office building (for which I am personally grateful).


Because of the chilly weather, we wondered if the gibbons would have to stay inside the whole day. Fortunately it warmed up enough to let them out to enjoy the brisk mid-day air—as well as a view of unusually tidy sanctuary grounds and the sight of freshly planted veggie seedlings settling into the rich, dark earth.



  1. Carol Miller on November 14, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    I’m one of the ladies from the Mount Pleasant Garden Club who was there to prep the gardens for planting. We had such an enjoyable day, working while being serenaded by the gibbons! What a treat!! So nice to see the kids doing such a wonderful job. The veggies look great, and I’m sure the gibbons will thoroughly enjoy their fresh, home-grown meals!

  2. Fran Hummel on November 17, 2014 at 10:40 am

    What a wonderful experience setting up the gardens for the plantings for the gibbons. Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to tour your facility and see first hand the good work that you do. This was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had and I will always remember the fun and sharing we all felt that day.

  3. Sharon Strong on November 18, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    We got a lovely e-mail from one of the Day of Caring volunteers over the weekend. Melissa Warner wrote to us:

    Hello IPPL staff,

    Just wanted to email a quick “thank you” for the opportunity to volunteer at your most wonderful facility yesterday! I was a “tag along” with my daughter and her office-mates from Hagemeyer for the day’s experience and wanted to let you know that my experience was a positive one.

    The friendly and knowledgeable staff were prepared, with supplies and tasks organized and ready for us. Shirley and Sharon were warm and, we could tell, proud of their facility and the beneficial work being done there. The caretakers and landscape folks were pleasant and communicative. It made the “volunteer experience” a very easy one, and was a great day!

    The gibbons are most amazing creatures, to be certain! Those inquisitive faces and energetic gymnastics stunts have worked their way into my heart. I can understand why these interesting animals are the focus of your mission. The facility was impeccably clean and the health of your gibbons was evident. I was most impressed by that!

    Please keep up the wonderful work which you are all doing! This world needs kind and compassionate people who truly care about ALL of the life we are sharing.

    Thanks again,
    Melissa Warner