Beavers at the Refuge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Dragonfly, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Black chokeberry, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Ruby throated hummingbird, photo by Leor Veleanu
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Beaver among yellow water lilies and pickerelweed, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Scrambled egg slime, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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White-tailed deer and wood ducks, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Eastern black nightshade, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Bumblebee and coastal sweetpepperbush, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Great egret, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Eastern mud turtle, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge is a protected natural habitat comprising 767 acres of pristine pine lands, forest, fields and bogs. It provides a refuge to animals and plants indigenous to southern New Jersey; a place where wildlife can live freely and naturally without fear of being harmed at the hands of human beings. We began as the home of Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci and Cavit Buyukmihci, who dedicated their land to habitat preservation so that native wildlife and habitat could thrive. We are a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) entity, federal ID 23-7025010.
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Ode to Hope: A Poem in Honor of Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci

by Sarah Summerville

The Season of Hope

I get in the truck at six in the morning
to watch for the hunters and give the base warning.
The ground is still frozen, it's too dark to see.
I sit at my station, in my hand, the CB,
on channel 13 with the squelch turned down low;
Darkness is lifting, the dash clock aglow.

This place is so sacred, the tenants so dear,
It makes my heart ache if they suffer with fear.
In a seat of great honor at the crossroads I wait
and vow to fulfill this incredible fate.
To protect and to nurture these innocent creatures,
they are my wards, but also my teachers.
I'll listen and watch, do whatever I must
to reach the goal of attaining their trust.

The woman who dreamed up this wonderful place
sits, unaccustomed, to working the CB from the base.
She sends out directions over the squall.
It's clear and it's soft; a dignified call.

I'm trying my best to do what is right,
but if I get lost, she shows me the light.
She's patient and constant and honest with me.
(I beat her at Scrabble, but then she beats me!)

Though, her level of worth, I hope to attain,
loyal to Hope I will ever remain.