Beavers at the Refuge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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American grass spider, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Autumn meadowhawk dragonfly, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Bald eagle on main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Black rat snakes mating, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Black vulture on Headquarters roof, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Blue toadflax, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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White-tailed deer in main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Swallows over main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Spicebush swallowtail butterflies, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Green-winged teal male, 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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Council of Trustees

Darwin Sawyer, 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, Vice President/Secretary
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.