“How do you keep going when there are still so many stray cats and dogs?” we heard someone ask animal lover and activist Beth Ostrosky Stern, at the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons Get Wild Summer Gala, hosted by Molly Channing at the Channing Family Sculpture Garden. “We change the lives of the individual animals we help,” Ostrosky Stern replied. “I personally can’t make a dent in the big picture, but I can help the lives of a few.” With her TV appearances and ground swell support, we would argue Beth has made a significant dent. The message of helping one animal at a time is certainly the credo of the Wildlife Rescue Center, a full-time professional wildlife hospital staffed by licensed rehabilitators, biologists, animal behaviorists and volunteers.
“Most of the animals we see have been injured by cars, flown into windows, run into fences or attacked by cats,” Executive Director and Founder Virginia Frati told Hamptons.com. “We take all injured wild life, give them first aid, veterinary care and get their strength up so they can be released into the wild again.” The hospital, which seeks to make amends for taking away their natural habitat, began as a grass roots effort by concerned friends.
Volunteers walk the line between creating a healing environment and inadvertently domesticating wildlife. “Sometimes you think they know you’re trying to help them, but most of the time they’re just afraid of you,” Frati said. “So we feed them, medicate them, and let them rest. The worst thing you can do is to make an animal accustomed to humans. You don’t want them depending on us. You want them to fend for themselves. We do that by introducing natural foods and branches into their cages, and keep human contact to a minimum.”
“Sometimes you tell me they’re not injured, they’re faking it to protect their nest,” Molly Channing laughed to Frati, when talking to the crowd, which included Jill Rappaport, emcee Cindy Clifford, Howard Lorber, Leslie Alexander, Liz Brown, Jackie Rogers, Sylvia Channing and Missy Hargraves.
Anti-crime activist Curtis Sliwa said he was on hand because “two of the honorees, Ingrid Arneberg and Will Marin, are very good friends of ours and big supporters of The Guardian Angels in the City. We also have our own animal protection division, run by Nancy Regula, in Bohemia.”
Frances Cole Jones and Cornelia Guest were Honorary Co-Chairs. Mary Beauchamp, Liz Brown, Ingrid Edelman, Jane Gill, Linda Lambert, Maryann Marston, Dianne Marxe, Suzanne Obser, Avis Richards, Ellen and Chuck Scarborough, SunHe Sherwood-Dudley, Beth Ostrosky Stern, Marcy Warren comprised the Benefit Committee.
For more information, visit www.wildliferescuecenter.org.