From childhood, the wonder of wildlife helps mold us. Birds, mammals and insects, storybooks filled with owls, bears and butterflies satisfy our curiosity and help shape our perception and character. As we develop and understand our world, nature creates an appreciation for life and beauty that often remains a positive force throughout our lives.
For over 25 years, Volunteers for Wildlife (a Long Island non-profit, volunteer organization), continues its dedication to preserve New York’s wildlife and natural habitats. Located at Historic Caumsett State Park in Huntington, Director Eileen Hagerman emphasizes, “We operate a Wildlife Hospital and Education Center and accept and rehabilitate sick, injured, and displaced young wildlife.”
Education programs about nature provide fascination and learning for everyone with a special lasting effect on children. Recently, the center lost two of its permanent residents, a pair of perhaps the oldest Barred Owls on record, Butter, 25, and her neighbor Barry who reached 28 years old.
Since a toddler, my son Jayson remembers Butter. While explaining and vocalizing an owl-call to him, this memorable scenario took place:
I mimicked, “The owl says, You cook today. I’ll cook tomorrow, and when the next day comes the owl says, You cook today. I’ll cook tomorrow, and again, the next day comes and, You cook today – ”
“Hey! Wait a minute,” Jayson interjected, “That Owl is never going to cook!” Soon after, I purchased a stuffed baby owl called Hoots, the first of a family of four.
For many of us, as the natural world interweaves and bonds with our other experiences, together they form an integral part of our makeup so that the admiration and joy of wildlife never fades.
Volunteers for Wildlife
Reabilitation and recreation Center
27 Lloyd Harbor Road
Huntington, NY 11743