Blank Park Zoo
Blank Park Zoo

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Open Daily, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

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Knitting From The Heart

Posted on 10/21/2016 at 10:17 AM by Blog Author

Marija Pecuvcic came to the United States, following her daughter’s footsteps, in 1997. As Marija settled into her new home, she held on to things that reminded her of her home-country, Croatia. Knitting happened to be one these things. Learning at a young age from her mother, knitting was her way to let everything else slip her mind and meditate for the day. 

Marija, being the selfless person she is, does not just knit for herself but for others. She knits hats and booties for newborn babies, donating them to local hospitals. Recently, she began to knit slippers for residents at nursing homes and assisting living facilities. She does not stop at knitting items for people but for animals too.

In her humble home, Marjia feeds local wildlife, from songbirds and squirrels to the regular visiting duck. As she watches the squirrels chase each other up and down the tree, Marija's hands move in a frenzy, knitting countless multicolored nests. After creating a bundle consisting of 200 or more, Marjia gives them to the Blank Park Zoo for the animals. 

Knitting all of these items requires a lot of yarn, compelling Marija to find clever ways to obtain it. A majority of the time she uses old, knitted sweaters, unravels them and reuses the yarn to knit new items. She recently discovered thrift stores and was ecstatic to find balls of yarn costing around two dollars.

The Blank Park Zoo has received over 2,000 knitted nests since 2008 from Marija. The nests have been given to animals within the Zoo and to nature wildlife rehabilitators in Iowa and throughout the Midwest. The nests are used as beds for rescued wildlife such as bunnies and birds. The last package of nests and blankets received were given to the Animal Rescue League (ARL) for their cats and kittens. 

The ARL sends the nests home with the kittens and their adopting family, so they have something familiar as they get comfortable in their new surroundings. The ARL hosts events called Knittin for Kittens, allowing you to join the fun; knitting anything from nests to “snuggles” and mouse toys for the kittens. The Knittin for Kittens’ link is provided for more information,

Marija has made her home in the United States and has touched many lives with her selflessness and warm smile.  She does not see her knitting as work but as an enjoyable pastime.  The Blank Park Zoo animals and rescued wildlife around the Midwest are not able to show their appreciation for Marija’s selfless act. So, The Blank Park Zoo would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation for her kindness that has affected people and animals she has never met.

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