Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge hosted its 2022 Annual Wine & Wildlife Refuge at the Community House of Moorestown on July 16, an evening that celebrated the nonprofit’s wildlife, volunteers and supporters.
The event was sponsored by Cheers Wine & Spirits of Voorhees and included a wine tasting, silent auction and meet-and-greets with Cedar Run resident wildlife.
“ … This is really our biggest fundraiser of the year,” said Tracey Bloodworth, director of development and communications at the refuge. “We’ve had Wine & Wildlife in the past, but we revamped it especially after COVID, kind of reevaluating as well as kind of a new leaf, so to say, post COVID.”
Cedar Run is a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of New Jersey’s wildlife and habitats through education, conservation and rehabilitation, and it is a community resource on the importance of protecting and enhancing healthy ecosystems.
Since 1957, the refuge has operated the region’s oldest and busiest wildlife rehabilitation hospital, with more than 6,300 New Jersey native wildlife seen every year. It engages in conservation efforts through environmental education and ecologically based management of its 171-acres of preserved Pinelands habitats.
Wine & Wildlife helped shine a light on those making a difference in local communities, and Bloodworth explained how the Community House was chosen to host this year’s fundraiser.
“How could you not say yes to this beautiful space?” she asked. “It really fit with the aesthetic of our organization.”
Wildlife ambassadors such as reptiles, mammals and birds interacted with guests at the event.
“ … They are non-releasable wildlife that we use for education purposes, as well as (for) wildlife events like this and festivals, where they get to go out and kind of have their second life or bring a different portion of their life to educate the public,” Bloodworth explained.
“So they’re not able to be released back into the wild, but they do get to educate students, and the public, young and old, to learn about their species,” she added.
Cedar Run includes the Woodford Nature Center, an outdoor wildlife housing area with nearly 60 native residents and a rehabilitation hospital that is a federally- and state-licensed hospital facility caring for more than 6,000 injured, orphaned or displaced native wildlife each year.
It is also an active resource for the greater New Jersey community on all wildlife- and habitat-related questions and issues.
Bloodworth hopes the Wine & Wildlife event encouraged people to visit the refuge.
“ … Whether it is just trying to educate them on why it’s so important to preserve our wildlife and habitats, as well as just (bringing) a little piece of wildlife to them,” she said.
“Observing is almost the best way to appreciate wildlife, but (also) giving a sense of … educating the public about our organization and why it’s so important that we’re right in (their) backyard.”
For more information on Cedar Run, visit https://www.cedarrun.org.