Gathered around a campfire and greeted by Phoebe the skunk (scent glands removed!), Impact100 SJ members enjoyed an evening in nature with 2021 grantee Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge. Over a casual dinner, wine, and s’mores we learned that the refuge sees and treats over 6,000 wild animals annually and reorients animals that have lost their natural survival ability. The goal is to release them back to the wild when ready, but some become residents at the refuge if they are unable to return to their natural habitats.
Staff shared information about their educational programs for students and for scouts and other community groups before leading members on a night hike through a trail in their 171 acres of preserved Pinelands. The $50,000 grant from Impact100 supports the educational programs.
During the hike we learned about native plant species and the various owls and other wildlife in the area, and we met some of the resident critters. These residents each came with a story about their journey to Cedar Run and interesting facts with an occasional amusing anecdote.
While viewing the Bat house we learned that Bats eat about 1,000 mosquitoes or insects per night each.
Sassy, short for Sassafras, is an 18-year-older deer who was raised as a pet. She was brought to the refuge after being found with a collar and leash. She is so accustomed to people she can no longer live in the wild and seeks attention when visitors are near.
We also met Hoo-dini, a Great-Horned Owl with a fractured wing. We learned Great-Horned Owls weigh about 2.5 pounds but can squeeze 500 pounds of pressure and can eat a skunk. Hoo-dini earned his name when he slipped out of leather bracelets when trying to use him in programs.
Woodford Cedar Run Trails are open to the public 7 days a week. It’s a perfect place for a family-friendly, outdoor educational adventure.
Click here to learn more about the Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge residents.