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The Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge is in Medford on the edge of the NJ Pinelands National Reserve. The refuge rehabilitates and releases thousands of native animals each year.
The refuge was founded by Jim and Betty Woodford in 1957 on 171 acres and continues its work today with their daughter at the helm. The refuge received a preservation grant from the NJ Green Acres fund in the nineties and operates as a non-profit organization.
Their mission includes education, wildlife rehabilitation and habitat conservation. They have a wildlife rehabilitation hospital on the premises, as well an outdoor housing area for the animals that can’t be released back into the wild.
One of the education programs they run to help fund their efforts is a chance for groups to interact with the ‘education ambassadors.’ I’ve visited twice with a photography group for the opportunity to photograph some of the birds of prey in a more natural setting.
The volunteer told us each bird’s story as we encountered them. Most are there because they were hit by cars, sustained permanent injuries and would not survive in the wild. Several are blind, some have lame wings, etc…
Some, like the Turkey Vulture, had imprinted on humans. The volunteer explained that, in the hospital, the animals are nursed back to health by caretakers wearing coverings and a bird puppet to prevent human imprinting.
After our photo session, we walked around the enclosures and along the hiking trail around Cedar Run Pond for a short way.
Pinelands Reserve Posts:
Location: 4 Sawmill Road | Medford, NJ 08055
Designation: Wildlife Sanctuary
Date designated or established: 1957
Date of my visit: 1/31/2016