Beavers at the Refuge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Beaver, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Wasp with grasshopper, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Winged spindle, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Female northern water snake, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Twisted moss, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Eastern cottontail rabbits, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Winter fireflies, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Main pond, photo by Dave Sauder
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Eastern phoebe, photo by Leor Veleanu
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Black vulture, 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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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.


Michael Puleo
Michael is an avid naturalist, backpacker and forager. He is a long time animal and environmental activist and holds a B.S. in Environmental Science. He is a vegan.

Legal Counsel

William M. Gilson, Esq.