Archive for the ‘native species’ Category

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28 Sep 11

Howling in Hauppauge! ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

When you think of Long Island, the first animal that comes to mind is definitely not a Wolf, unless of course you are Teresa DeMaio the Founder and President of Running with the Wolves, Inc. (RWTW).  RWTW will be hosting the 8th Annual Long Island Wolf Expo this Sunday, October 2nd at the Sheraton in Hauppauge from 10am to 4:30pm.

Teresa founded RWTW over 10 years ago, which is a wildlife educational organization that teaches workshops about wolves and other wildlife.  Teresa started the annual wolf expo to raise funds for the Loki Clan Wolf Refuge Center in New Hampshire.  Loki is a place where rescued wolves and wolf dogs can live out their lives in the setting they require.  “I supported them via personal donations and then I thought it would be a great idea to have a Wolf Expo, so I could be able to have much better funding to send to them.  Our 1st Wolf Expo was so successful we continued to away to lend a hand to Loki Clan Wolf Refuge and other wolf sanctuaries we support,” said Teresa.

The Wolf Expo is about wolves, but Teresa has partnered with other wildlife rescue organizations and there will be many different wildlife exhibits and demos at the expo.  People can expect to see, well wolves of course, birds of prey, prairie dogs, desert foxes, reptiles, and a lot of other small wildlife and a beautiful Husky named Astra from Husky House rescue.  Children and adults will get to learn about the wolves and wildlife there, how they can help to protect them and support them.  Education is very important to Teresa and the other organizations there, so people will not only leave in awe of the wildlife they just witnessed in person, but also to have a new awareness about the wildlife too.

When asked, what drives you to continue your work, Teresa responded, “because of my sheer love and passion for wolves and to help educate the public about them.”  Teresa also said, “The most important part of my work is about conservation and teaching about the major role wolves have in our ecosystem.  We strive to teach the public that wolves or wolf dogs do not make good pets. Our belief is that wolves should never be pets. It’s their birthright to live in the wild.”

Teresa works closely with the STAR Foundation, located in Middle Island, which is a federally and state licensed rehab center for all kinds of wildlife from birds of prey, foxes, coyotes, farm animals and wolves.

Working also with many different wildlife rescue organizations that house wolves, Teresa gets to work with them hands on for socialization, feeding, ‘discovery time,’  this is where a wolf can be a wolf – spending much of their time running, playing and just being free.  There’s so much to learn about their behavior and habits, they change so often.  Teresa gets to work with them on a weekly basis and she finds it very rewarding, “they love to have visitors,” said Teresa.  But let’s be clear, Teresa does not own a wolf, nor have a wolf living in her house – she is happy to cuddle with her dogs, you can’t cuddle with a wolf – they are still wild.

For a full schedule of the expo click here.

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05 Mar 11

By Nancy E. Hassel,

The Long Island Pet Expo drew in large crowds from across LI on Saturday, March 5, 2011, and with rain in the forecast for Sunday, expects the same turnout.  There is something for every type of pet or animal lover, whether you like dogs, pot bellied pigs, turtles, snakes, parrots and other wild life – this is the best place to see everything under one roof!

If you are thinking of adding a new pet to be a member of your family – there are rescue groups from all areas of LI with pets that are available for adoption from adorable little Yorkie, cats and kittens, amazing American Pit Bull Terriers, wonderful mixed breeds, ferrets and more.  Stop by each booth and get to know your local rescues, you may just find you new best friend.

One of the sweetest, adorable Pit Bulls looking for a Furever home at the Expo.

There are also fantastic educational shows and demonstrations for kids and families alike, like the Rainforest Reptiles Shows and the Birds of Prey Program.  You will also be oohhh and ahhed watching the flyball, dancing dogs, agility dogs, and the famous poker playing dog “Jilli Dog” and her friends. The bleacher stands were packed full of families watching and cheering on the different shows.  If you love cats, there is a cat show going on at the same time – some cat breeds you may have not seen in person before.  Tons of vendors too – if you are looking to purchase pet products for your pets.

If you were not able to make it today, the Pet Expo is taking place on Sunday, March 6 as well from 10am to 6pm at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood, NY.  For more details, cost and directions click here.  Be sure to pick up your complimentary copy of the ‘Pet Press’ published by the Long Island Press.

Also see Sunday’s schedule below.

SUNDAY – March 6

Dog Ring

10:30 AM       Agility & Frisbee Demonstrations by Doggie U

and LI Road Rage

11:15 AM       Dog Pals Dog Trick Show

12:00 Noon    Classic K9’s

12:45 PM       Dancing with Your Dogs

1:00 PM         Jilli Dog

1:30 PM         Agility and Flyball Demonstrations by Doggie U

and LI Road Rage

2:15 PM         Classic K9

3:00 PM         Dog Pals Dog Trick Show

3:45 PM         Dancing with Dogs

4:15 PM         Classic K9 Dog Show

5:00 PM         Agility, Flyball & Frisbee Demonstrations by  Doggie U

and LI Road Rage


11:00 AM      Rainforest Reptile Show

12:00 Noon   Petland Discounts Traveling Pet Show

12:30 PM      Birds of Prey Program

1:00 PM        Rainforest Reptile Show

1:30 PM        Dog Pals- How to Use Feeding Time to Train your Dog

2:15 PM        Pet Safe Coalition – “Leave No Animal Behind”

3:00 PM        Rainforest Reptile Show

3:30 PM        Petland Discounts Traveling Pet Show

4:00 PM        Birds of Prey Program

5:00 PM        Rainforest Reptile Show

Cat Ring

TICA CAT SHOW 10:00 am will continue all day until conclusion

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08 Jan 11

By Nancy E. Hassel,

There is a magical place on Long Island if you like nature, birds, and seeing wild animals up close and personal, and no it’s not the zoo, game park or sanctuary.  A nature preserve on the north shore of the South Fork is one of best places on Long Island to observe nature and have wild birds actually land in your hand.  The Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge is a treasure that many Long Islanders have either never heard of or have yet to visit.  It’s beautiful in every season, but something magical happens when there is a fresh fallen snow.  Maybe it’s the fact that there are less people there and more wildlife walking around.  The birds are always very active, but in the winter they are amazing.  You will never see so many bright red cardinals in one place at one time, and for some Long Islander’s you will see birds you have never seen before at your back yard feeder.

If you are looking for something to do outside with your now cabin fevered up kids, or maybe your kids have never been this close to nature, Morton’s is definitely worth the trip whether you live 5 minutes away or an hour away.  There is no other place that I know of like it.  On any given day your can see families of deer walking around, wild turkeys who are not the least bit scared of you, bunnies, squirrels, red tailed hawks, and of course the birds: chickadees, nut hatches, blue jays, tons of cardinals, sparrows and many other species, who will literally greet you at the entrance. It’s quite a spectacle.


The first time I ever went, I was with family members and it was a freezing cold day in February of 2006, we had no idea what the place was or that we would be bombarded by birds, and followed through the trails by them.  It was really funny.  At one point we turned around and there had to be at least 30 red (male) cardinals in on tree.

Pair of Cardinals

There is a trail that leads down to the bay beach, (maybe a mile long), and there is a look out deck equipped with binoculars and the view is spectacular.  Another part of the trail loops around through the woods and you pass and pond with a deck for observing wildlife, and you will also cross over a few short wooden foot bridges.  The variety of the landscape at Morton’s is quite interesting too, from wooded trails, tall pine trees, to a swampy feel near the pond to a magnificent bay beach – there is something to see around every turn.

Snow covered trail

View from lookout deck

If you have never been, or have only visited in the summer, you may just want to pack up the kids in their winter gear and head out for a day trip.  This place will not disappoint – and wouldn’t it be nice to get those kids off of the video games for a day?

This is a nature preserve so there are rules, like no pets allowed, not even your little cute dog – leave him home.  No bicycles, and please don’t liter or take things out of the park.

Directions and all info can be found here.  More photo’s below.

Hungry little Tufted Titmouse

White Breasted Nuthatch

Black-capped Chickadee deciding which sunflower seed to go for!

Another Chickadee

Slide show here:

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04 Jan 11

Into: Nancy E. Hassel,
Story by Pamela Fitzpatrick, of YourDogWalkers,

Wednesday, January 5, 2011 is National Bird Day celebrating the diverse species of parrotheads, macaws, parakeets, and wild birds alike. Seasoned birders and novices will learn about conservation, dangers affecting wild parrots and health care for pet birds and birds at your back yard feeders. An interesting species of mini parrots called parrotlets, is brought to light by Pamela Fitzpatrick, read below about these cuties:

“I recently had lunch with a friend, who has several parrotlets. I’ve always loved birds, but didn’t know much about these beautiful little guys. Turns out these mini parrots make great pets, all the benefits of a parrot without the larger size.

Parrotlets (“little parrot”) are very small parrots that are native to South and Central America. In the wild, they travel in flocks of up to 100 birds. With their striking colors, this must be an awesome sight!

Like lovebirds, they are very social, and can form strong pair bonds in the absence of human companionship. For this reason, they are often kept as pairs. You can keep a single parrotlet happy however, by spending lots of time with it and giving it exercise and mental stimulation. (For that matter, providing a fun and entertaining cage environment helps keep any kind of pet bird pet busy when you aren’t around).

Like the better well known cockatiel, parrotlets are intelligent and curious with speaking and whistling capabilities. Some learn to talk, while others never will. As a general rule, males are more talkative than females. In addition to mimicking tunes and sounds, they can learn a vocabulary of 10-15 words.

The most common species of parrolet are the Pacific (Celestial) or GreenRump. Birds of both genders are mostly green, while the males have gorgeous blue markings.

If you’ve been thinking about adding a parrot to your family, maybe these smaller versions are right for you! They are easy to care for, and require a lot less room than their larger parrot cousins. With proper care, they can live 10-15 years. For more information, check out the international parrolet society at”

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17 Aug 10

By Nancy E. Hassel,

A remarkable place on Long Island that has been around for just over 75 years but still not known by many LI suburbanites, is the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, (, in Quogue, NY.  This is a magical place for little kids and big kids alike, and if you like nature, exploring and learning, you have to visit.  The refuge is one of the last few places you can still go to 7-days a week from sunrise to sunset and it is free.  This unspoiled beautiful piece of land is home to many native wild animals as well as a few from other countries. 

When you arrive you will be greeted by two African Spurred Tortoises that are housed next to one of the original buildings which now houses the Ice Harvesting Exhibit.  After you pass through the entrance gate, you will see animals that are there because they were injured or not legal to have as a pet, that now live their lives, in this place, with plenty of food.  All of these housed animals are all native to New York State.  There is a bald eagle which is very impressive to see so close, a beautiful bobcat, Red Fox, Red-tailed hawks and a few very cool hooting owls.  Beyond that are seven miles of nature trails which go from a deciduous forest environment to ecologically rare Dwarf Pines habitat, in which there are only 3 other places in the world, (yes in the world!), that has that eco-system.  Pretty impressive.  Along the trails you can see a cranberry bog, carnivorous plants, prickly pear cactus and the endangered Pink Lady Slipper orchid, all of these plants are native to LI.

There is a native butterfly garden to the right of the housed animals and The Nature Center Building to the left that is suspended over Old Ice Pond with a beautiful view.  You almost feel as if you are somewhere upstate in a secluded area.  The refuge also has daily camp programs, educational programs for children and adults, and many different animals, fish and snakes for your children to learn about.  They offer green birthday programs a unique twist on a kid’s birthday, and in the winter the refuge lends out snow shoes and cross country skies.  How cool is that?  In the spring, summer and fall months there are many different events including kayaking trips, full moon night hikes, and more.

In speaking with Marisa Nelson, the refuge’s Assistant Director, I asked her what she loves most about working in such a unique, beautiful place and she said, “That everyday here is different, and meeting people who come to learn and explore.  Also the change of seasons here, each season brings new beauty, something new to see and how the wildlife adapts to the changing conditions.”  

One thing important to know, the Quogue Wildlife Refuge is not a dumping ground for unwanted pets, or wild animals that were illegally owned. (They will not take them in)  It is also not a place to walk your dog or bicycle; there are plenty of other places to do that.  This is a place to come and explore on foot an incredible natural environment, see beautiful animals up close and learn more about this amazing Island we live on. 

The Quogue Wildlife Refuge is a non-for-profit organization and it is there obligation to serve as responsible land steward of the refuge property and its natural resources, as well as to promote, implement, support and assist environmental education and wildlife management. 

African Spurred Tortoises

See slideshow below for more pics!