Beavers at the Refuge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Moss on Boundary Trail, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Moonlit main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Elegant spreadwing damselfly, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Racoon on trail camera near Wild Goose Blind, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Northern water snake in main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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House wren near Headquarters, photo by Leor Veleanu
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Luna moth male on porch at Headquarters, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Bleeding heart flowering near Headquarters, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Northern cricket frog in Miller Pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Fungi on fallen tree on Boundary Trail, 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.
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Beaver Tales from Unexpected Wildlife Refuge, June 2018

Here is our latest newsletter to keep you informed about just a few of the activities and issues concerning Unexpected Wildlife Refuge.

Jared White and companion Jack
Jared White and Jack

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge has new manager
We are pleased to announce that we have hired Jared White as the new onsite manager for the Refuge! Jared, shown here with Jack, one of his canine companions, is a long-time vegan and animal advocate. He comes to us with years of experience working with and caring for rescued non-human animals. His "love of the outdoors and co-existing in nature with wildlife" fit in with Unexpected's mission and core philosophy. In addition to looking forward to the physical challenges of managing the Refuge, Jared is eager to apply his skills in public relations and volunteer organizing to ensure that the wildlife continue to have a safe place to thrive consistent with their needs. You can reach him by telephone at 856.697.3541 or E-mail

Main pond, frozen and covered with snow, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Main pond frozen
Main pond with abundant lily pad growth, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo by Dave Sauder
Main pond with lily pads

Change means new opportunities
Much of the year, our main pond is a relatively open body of water, providing a home for many species of animals and plants. During the summer months, lily pads and other plants burgeon, creating a rich, green tableau. With this come new opportunities for others who depend on the lily pads for food and shelter. Here you can see just how dense the lily pads were in June. Contrast this with the situation just a few months ago, when the surface of the pond was frozen and covered with snow. Note the footprints and lens flare similar to those in a photo we shared a while ago.

Black vultures near headquarters, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo by Dave Sauder
Black vultures

Black vultures survey our headquarters
If you look closely, you can see several black vultures in this tree which stands near our headquarters. Although some people may not think these individuals are 'attractive', beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We think they are physically appealing, especially when watching their graceful soaring through the sky. Of course, they are a critical part of the ecosystem, helping maintain the cycle of life and death through their scavenging. We are not sure, however, what was their interest in our headquarters...

Walking stick on Refuge sign, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Walking stick

Walking stick and Refuge sign
Although this photo was taken many months ago, we thought you might enjoy seeing this walking stick on one of our signs. Walking sticks comprise just a few of the myriad of insects who live at the Refuge. It seems apropos that this individual chose to settle on a sign announcing protection of wildlife. (As an aside, you might notice that this sign was nailed to a tree, something that no longer is allowed at the Refuge. Our current policy is that all signs must be placed on posts independent of plant life. One of our long-term projects is to replace all signs attached to trees and we are always in need of volunteers to assist with this task. If you are interested in helping, let us know.)

Phellinus fungus on tree, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Phellinus fungus

Phellinus fungus on tree
There are numerous species of the genus Phellinus. These fungi grow on trees, as seen here on one of the many pine trees growing on Refuge land.

Our table at Lines on the Pines, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Lines on the Pines

Refuge presence at annual Lines on the Pines event
We once again were invited to and attended the annual Lines on the Pines event. Thanks to our Trustees Dave Sauder (pictured here) and Janet Romano, we made more people aware of the Refuge and our mission to protect wildlife from harmful exploitation.

Hooded merganser couple on main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Hooded mergansers

Hooded mergansers on main pond
This mated pair of hooded mergansers were seen a few months ago, swimming in the main pond. Although the female is not as colorful as the male, this one is showing the striking crest of feathers along the top of the head and neck. We hope we will be lucky enough to see and photograph their babies at some point.
Below is a series of photos showing a group of four individuals as they took off from the main pond.

Hooded mergansers on main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Hooded mergansers on main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Hooded mergansers on main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Hooded mergansers on main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

Raindrop creates upside-down reflection of surrounding forest, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Raindrop mirror

Raindrop creates upside-down reflection of surrounding forest
We posted this photo on Instagram a few months ago, but never got around to sharing it with those who might not regularly follow that medium. If you look closely, you can see that the raindrop on the end of this branch provided an inverse reflection of the surrounding forest.

Take Action To Help Wildlife

Below are just some of the current petitions available to help wildlife, whether living freely or imprisoned in circuses, zoos or other venues. We urge you to take the time to sign each and share with others.

Raccoon, Care2
This 'teacher' drowned these raccoons in front of his students. Voice your outrage about this horrific and unconscionable cruelty perpetrated against these raccoons (and the students who had to view this atrocity).

Starbucks and other companies provide plastic straws that end up not only polluting land and water, they also endanger wildlife like this sea turtle. We must eliminate all 'single-use' plastic regardless of what it is. Let Starbucks know that you disapprove of their practices that are causing serious wildlife and environmental pollution problems.

Whales may seem a far cry from the New Jersey Pinelands, but their fate is inextricably interconnected. Please sign and share. There is no justification for whaling: it is exceptionally cruel, immoral and biologically senseless.

We should be converting to a plant-based diet, but until then, we need to at least minimize 'collateral' damage to those not intended to be eaten. Mandating that certain habitats are off-limits for fishing is a start. Although it is too late for this whale shark and her baby who died after being 'inadvertently' caught, your support for this petition may help others.

No species should become extinct as a result of human activities. We share this world with others, not own it. Please urge the Chinese government to intercede on the behalf of green peafowl.

As you might guess, we are opposed to keeping wildlife in captivity. Adding insult to injury by using animals such as lions as 'performers' in circuses is particularly repugnant. We need to ban all captive wildlife use in the 'entertainment' industry.

The wildlife living at the Refuge need your help, too
As part of the vital and globally unique ecosystem that is the Pine Barrens, the Refuge is home to more than 40 endangered and threatened species. Please make a pledge to sponsor a Refuge habitat or choose to support one of the species of animals who call this protected land "home". You can easily do this through an automatic monthly PayPal donation. Either go to our Web site and choose the DONATE link at lower left or go directly to the page that has the monthly subscription link at the top.

Here are the choices you will have:

  • Wetland habitat: $30.00
  • Pine forest habitat: $25.00
  • Bald eagle: $20.00
  • Beaver kit: $15.00
  • River otter: $15.00
  • Eastern box turtle: $15.00
  • Red fox: $10.00
  • Your personal favorite: $20.00
  • All habitats and animals: $60.00
Muddy Bog, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Muddy Bog
Bald eagle, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Bald eagle
Beaver and lily pad, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
River otter, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge trail camera photo
River otter
Eastern box turtle, photo by Chris Tlapa
Eastern box turtle
Red fox, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge trail camera photo
Red fox

Helping wildlife and the Refuge in the future
We remind you to please remember Unexpected Wildlife Refuge when planning your will and estate. It is an easy, effective and lasting way to help the Refuge... and wildlife. When talking with your estate planner, just provide them with our name, address and tax identification number (23-7025010). This is one of the most important gifts the Refuge can receive. If you have already included us in your future plans, thank you!

Our newsletters are the result of a team effort involving people dedicated to protecting wildlife in general and furthering the Refuge in particular:

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge
Mailing address: P.O. Box 765, Newfield, NJ 08344-0765
Web site:
Telephone: 856.697.3541