We’re delighted to welcome the Unexpected Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey’s Pinelands region to the Humane Stewardship Alliance. With 767 acres of swamps, bogs, forests, fields and lakes, this new HSA member’s land supports an impressive array of woodland warblers and other songbirds, several owl species, woodpeckers, common nighthawks, wood ducks and many other waterbirds. In addition to the healthy population of beavers managing its stream, pond and other wetland habitat, the land is home to deer, otters, mink, both red and gray foxes, cottontail rabbits, opossums, spotted turtles and countless other wild creatures.
Unexpected Wildlife Refuge was established as a land trust in 1961, when Cavit and Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci dedicated their 85-acre property to habitat preservation. Concerned about how rapidly habitat was being destroyed for development, they wanted to ensure the native wildlife of the Pine Barrens region would always have the safe and healthy habitat necessary to thrive. Over the years, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge expanded to 767 acres. It has always been protected as an inviolate sanctuary for wildlife. The Refuge also serves as a “living classroom” for the public to study nature and appreciate the importance of wildlife and habitat protection, and its staff works with individuals and communities to peacefully resolve conflicts with wildlife. Thus, its mission and management harmonize perfectly with the goals of the Humane Stewardship Alliance.
As a member of the HSA, the Unexpected Wildlife Refuge joins a growing number of other land managers who pledge to follow humane stewardship principles. Already having a long history of humane stewardship, the Refuge exemplifies the many benefits of living peacefully and compatibly with wildlife. “We welcome the opportunity to join this Alliance and network with other wildlife and land protection organizations,” says Janet Romano, a Council of Trustees member for the Refuge.