The Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center in Hampton Bays was founded by Virginia Frati in the late 1990s to provide care and rehabilitation for injured wildlife. It’s the only facility of its kind on Long Island. The Center cares for and rehabilitates injured wildlife until they are able to be released back into the wild. Some that cannot be fully rehabilitated have permanent homes there.
Saunders & Associates agent Jane Gill, a member of the Center’s Board of Directors, is involved in making major decisions, and as a trained handler for birds of prey she is very involved in coordinating and participating in educational events for local schools, the community, and private events.
“I originally started volunteering at the center many years ago in its early days,” Jane says, “and I met Nick Marzano, who trained me to handle the birds of prey. We currently have eight birds of prey that live at the center because they are nonreleasable. They were all rescued with an injury that couldn’t be repaired, and they are now ambassadors for the center.”
As Jane explains, “The east end’s natural resources have been impacted by the desire for more people to live here, hence the building of new homes has exploded and that has infringed on many natural habitats. By doing the programs in the community and in schools we try to help people understand how to coexist with wildlife and learn more about their natural environment and how to take care of it. Examples of that are installing owl houses instead of using poisons for the little annoying critters that may be around your property, or opting to use more natural organic ingredients to prevent ticks that can cause Lyme disease. Another helpful practice is to let a lot of the leaves that fall from the trees stay under bushes which provide shelter for worms, butterflies, grasshoppers and other bugs in the natural cycle of life. That also creates a natural mulch which is excellent for the plants.”
The Center has an extended group of volunteers who have taken their classes to learn how to rescue. The area covered ranges from Westhampton to Montauk and as far north as the North Fork. “I have limited my rescuing now to the daytime hours,” Jane says, “and only when I’m not working.”
“We get multiple calls every day about injured wildlife,” notes Jane, “and the center welcomes all those who would like to volunteer to rescue. After receiving training it does not require any commitment other than rescuing when you are able to. It’s extremely satisfying when someone calls the center, a volunteer goes out, retrieves the animal, the animal is rehabilitated at the center and then finally gets released back where it was found. I say to people all the time ‘thank you!’ Because it really takes a village.”
The Wildlife Rescue Center is a non-profit organization going into their 22nd year, and completely funded by generous donations from people in the community. Currently they are in need of new medical equipment and would like to build another room to help house some of the hundreds of animals that come in each year. Founder and executive director Ginny Frati will soon be retiring and the center is looking to hire a new executive director. To learn more about the center, or to volunteer or donate, visit their website www.wildliferescuecenter.org, or find them on facebook. For questions about injured wildlife, call the center at (631)728-WILD (9453).