From the Susquehannock Wildlife Society:
More than 200 patrons hooted and howled the night away at Harford County’s wildest party – a “Night With the Wild,” a charity event to benefit the nonprofit Susquehannock Wildlife Society. The event, held on April 29 at Deer Creek Overlook, was the second held by the Harford County-based non-profit conservation/education/rescue/research organization, and was aimed at raising awareness and funding for the creation of the region’s first dedicated wildlife center.
Highlights from the evening included awarding the 2017 Ultimate Ambassador for Wildlife trophy to Debra Hennig for her fundraising and advocacy efforts; a spirited auction of donated items – including Susquehannock Wildlife Society-led environmental education hikes; and a meet-and-greet with some truly wild feathered and scaled special guests.
Patrons enjoyed an evening of great food provided by Pairings Catering, a specialty drink (“The Hellbender” – lime juice, ginger beer, and signature vodka), wild music, and breathtaking natural décor, all while learning about the vision for the Susquehannock Wildlife Center through various displays and passionate speeches.
In an adjacent room, away from the dancing, auctions, and merriment, volunteers from Susquehannock Wildlife Society, introduced patrons to the real stars of the evening – a Great Horned Owl, Barn Owl, Broad-winged Hawk, Wood Turtle, Eastern Box Turtle, Cope’s Gray Treefrog, Spotted Turtle, Eastern Milksnake, Eastern Kingsnake, and Eastern Rat Snake. Each of these critters had been injured, orphaned, or otherwise deemed unsuitable for release back into the wild. Instead, these animals were given a second chance in a new and more domesticated role as educational ambassadors – teaching the public about their species, habitat, and the environmental concerns that threaten them.
As the guest speaker for the evening, Harford County Executive Barry Glassman spoke about the vital role Susquehannock Wildlife Society plays in educating future generations about the importance of maintaining habitats and protecting species.
“The center in Darlington will give future generations the ability to hear the croaking of frogs, to feel the coldness of a fresh running stream, and to handle the cool skin of a salamander all in a short visit – these are things the Internet cannot provide the next generation,” Glassman said.
For her top fundraising and advocacy efforts, Debra Hennig was named 2017 Ultimate Ambassador for Wildlife, the second year title was name to a guest at the event, and awarded a one-of-a-kind, handmade copper wildlife statue of screech owl.
Two new awards were also presented for the first time by Susquehannock Wildlife Society to individuals who have contributed to the group’s success during the past year. The Conservation Partner of the Year award was presented to Scott Smith, a wildlife ecologist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), who has mentored and assisted the non-profit in their research projects as well as for his continued support of the organization’s work to build the Susquehannock Wildlife Center. The Volunteer of the Year award was presented to Rescue Coordinator Trish Cantler for her tireless efforts responding to wildlife hotline calls, where she advises the public when they report injured or orphaned wildlife, as well as for her hands-on rescue and transportation of distressed wildlife to local veterinarians and rehabilitation partners.
Andrew Adams, Board President of the Susquehannock Wildlife Society, noted that, “The Night With the Wild’ would not have been possible without our dedicated volunteers, silent auction donors, support from the community, and the support of our sponsors, which included Harford County Government, Acer Exhibits and Events, Stem Graphics Print Shop, Ronnie’s Beverage Warehouse, River Breeze Services, Ecotone, Inc., Fiore Winery & Distillery, Mid-Atlantic Turtle and Tortoise Society, Friendly Entertainment, DuClaw Brewing Co., The Copper Fish Company, Brewing Good Coffee Company, Vince Marino Plumbing & Heating, Flavor Cupcakery, Pairings Catering, and 104.7 The Point. Their support, along with everyone attending the fundraiser, is making development of a dedicated wildlife center possible.”
As a chorus of frogs, owls, and other nocturnal species played in the background, Executive Director of Susquehannock Wildlife Society Scott McDaniel made an appeal for financial support to the sold out room of guests. He spoke of the growth of organization during its six years of existence and thanked Harford County Government for the Tourism Grant it awarded the organization, which helped fund its operations during the past year so that money raised could be directed towards the capital renovations of the Wildlife Center. In his closing statement, he spoke to the attendees about the organization’s humble beginnings as well as its vision for the future.
“Our story is that we do a lot with a little. We do what we say. We make things happen. We need your help to make this happen. If you give us the tools we will create a place for you, your kids, and your grandkids that will excite, enlighten, and enrich our community for generations to come. Invest in the Susquehannock Wildlife Center and our work. Just like one of those tiny Black-eyed Susan seeds we are gifting you as you leave tonight, your generosity will plant seeds that we will water and nurture to become a radiant wildflower meadow teeming with life,” McDaniel said.
All proceeds from the event will fund the costs of renovating and constructing the wildlife center – creating a place where visitors will be educated and entertained by museum-quality displays, hands-on activities, and live-animal education ambassadors. Having a permanent facility will also allow Susquehannock Wildlife Society, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, to expand its already active and successful wildlife rescue, education, and research efforts. The facility, currently under renovation, is located on the 20-acre Hopkins Branch Wildlife Management Area property in Darlington.
For more information about this event or other local wildlife issues, or if you’re looking to donate or volunteer, please contact the Susquehannock Wildlife Society via their wildlife hotline at 443?333-WILD (-9453), by email at email@example.com, or visit their web site at http://www.suskywildlife.org.