Beavers at the Refuge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
1/ 10
Young eastern phoebe, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
2/ 10
Carolina grasshopper, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
3/ 10
Muddy Bog, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
4/ 10
Red-spotted purple, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
5/ 10
Young male northern cardinal, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
6/ 10
Northern red-bellied turtle, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
7/ 10
Black vulture, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
8/ 10
Blue dasher, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
9/ 10
Black rat snake, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
10/ 10
Canada geese, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge is a protected natural habitat comprising 767 acres of pristine pine lands, forest, fields, bogs, streams and lakes. 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.
Read more

Council of Trustees

Nedim C. Buyukmihci, President and Secretary
Ned is the son of Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci and Cavit Buyukmihci, founders of Unexpected Wildlife Refuge. He spent his high school years living at the Refuge and has been supporting the Refuge ever since. He is a vegan and a retired veterinarian.
Darwin Sawyer, Vice President
Darwin is a nephew of Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci. He has been actively involved with the Refuge since the early 1960s. He is a vegan and retired.

Janet Romano Schubert, Treasurer
Janet is a long-time animal activist and supporter of the Refuge. She is a vegan, musician and teacher.

David Sauder
David is a long-time animal activist and supporter of the Refuge. He had the honor of knowing Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci and patrolling the Refuge together with her years ago. He is a vegan, president of Animal Rights Activists of New Jersey, Inc., and a decades-long social worker.

Leor Veleanu
Leor is an attorney dedicated to protecting the rights of all species, including human and non-human animals. He is passionate about photographing wildlife, especially birds. Leor has been a vegan for over two decades.

Navin Sasikumar
Navin is passionate about animals and the natural world and connecting people to nature. He is a vegan and a software engineer. (he is in the foreground in the photo, looking for birds)


Jen Collins
Jen is a passionate advocate for the respect and protection of all wildlife, natural habitats and the environment. Her experience working with raptor rehabilitation has given her a unique insight into conservation and public education. She is a vegetarian, actively working towards full veganism.

Legal Counsel

William M. Gilson, Esq.