Where the Wild Things Thrive

When groups plan festivals, it’s usually to celebrate a special occasion. In the case of the Friends of Edith Read Wildlife Sanctuary, the idea germinated because of unsettling news.

Published October 10, 2015 6:28 PM
2 min read

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reade-=thWhen groups plan festivals, it’s usually to celebrate a special occasion. In the case of the Friends of Edith Read Wildlife Sanctuary, the idea germinated because of unsettling news.

READEWhen groups plan festivals, it’s usually to celebrate a special occasion. In the case of the Friends of Edith Read Wildlife Sanctuary, the idea germinated because of unsettling news.

“In January 2012, the Friends — and the community — were stunned when thieves drove in through the backwoods over frozen ground and stole all of the maintenance equipment from the warehouse,” recalled Jana Seitz. Adding insult to injury, they used our trailer to cart everything else away.”

Seitz, who counts the Sanctuary among her favorite destinations in town, was struck by how many fellow residents were put off by the theft and were thereafter afraid to visit the park, and by how many lifelong Rye residents had never been there.

Wanting to change people’s minds about the Sanctuary, she decided, “like any ole Louisianian,” to throw a party! Her mission was clear: to raise money for new equipment before the spring growth began, raise awareness about “this gorgeous slice of nature,” and invite people in.

Her first step was a conversation with Curator Michael Gambino. After learning there was an existing Friends group, Seitz decided to crash their next board meeting. (She didn’t know a soul in the group.)

“Nine months later,” said Seitz matter-of-factly, “we gave birth to our first Fall Festival. It was an instant hit and put us on everyone’s map.”

The fact that Superstorm Sandy hit the 179-acre wildlife sanctuary hard the very next week brought the Friends even closer together and united in a new purpose: spreading the word about the importance of green spaces, bioswales, and pervious groundcover.

Thirty years after conservationist Edith Read, a lifelong Rye resident, led the way for the park’s creation, the park has never looked more inviting, inside and out. The nature center includes many new displays, including an active beehive. A Pollinator Garden was recently installed, thanks to the generosity of the Rye Garden Club.

Don’t miss the fourth annual Fall Fest, Saturday, October 17 from 12-5. You can enjoy orienteering and kayak demos, see raptors and falcons up-close, pick a pumpkin in the patch, paint birdhouses, plant pansies, take part in interactive arts & crafts sponsored by the Westchester Children’s Museum, the Rye Arts Center, Rye School of Dance, Brava Dance, listen to live music by Arcadia Jazz, Joe Corsello Quartet, and Mr. Habitat, or just take a walk in the woods.

Admission is free for families with the purchase of a $50 annual membership, $10 per person, and free for children under 3.

 

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