Ross Lower School took a walk on the wild side this week with a visit from the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center. Home to Eastern Long Island’s only wildlife hospital, the nonprofit organization rescues roughly 1,000 injured birds, mammals, and reptiles annually. The visit was orchestrated by longtime organization volunteer Diane Marxe (grandmother to Isabella H. ’22 and Emme H. ’28), who was present to share in the children’s joy at seeing some of the group’s exotic bird rescues.
Although the group strives to fully rehabilitate every animal and release it back into the wild, those with injuries that leave them unable to adequately able to fend for themselves become permanent residents of the organization’s Hampton Bays sanctuary. Shelley Berkoski, the rescue center’s director of development, was joined by two volunteers who handled the animals and shared their stories with the captivated audience. The students were introduced to a red-tailed hawk, a fish crow, an Eastern screech owl, a great horned owl, and a peregrine falcon—the fastest animal on the planet.
All of the birds had been found roadside locally, most likely injured while hunting for food. Some have lived in the sanctuary for as long as a decade, and many find new purposes following their injuries. For example, although Jack—a fish crow—is unable to return to the wild, he is an invaluable companion to new crows in the community who need to live in a flock.
To show their support of the organization, each student will be decorating a wooden birdhouse in the coming weeks. The birdhouses will be made available for sale, and the proceeds will support the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center.