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March 29, 2011

Creating a Sanctuary for Wildlife, One Tree at a Time

Americans connect with wildlife through bird watching, photography, and other wildlife-oriented pursuits. More than 70 million of us enjoy observing our wild neighbors, whether it’s in a national park or from our own backyard or city balcony.

John and Sue Gregoire are not only bird watchers, but field ornithologists who gather important information about avian life through observation and bird banding. When they moved to their home in western New York more than 25 years ago, the property was open and bare—lacking the habitat that is crucial for wildlife to survive.

The Gregoires set about restoring natural habitats that would provide food, water, and shelter for wild animals. They transformed their land into a vibrant sanctuary, planting more than 10,000 trees and creating several ponds and wetlands that have blossomed with native plant life.

After decades of tending to the land, the Gregoires today live on a diverse, forested 60 acres known as the Kestrel Haven Avian Migration Observatory. They’ve sighted more than 200 species of birds there, as well as bears, deer, bats, coyotes, and other animals. They decided to protect their land as perpetual wildlife habitat through a conservation easement with the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust.

“I want a place where wildlife can flourish, and where wildlife can call sanctuary,” John Gregoire says. To hear him recount the story of how he and Sue created this remarkable haven for wildlife, watch our new slideshow of images and sounds from the property.

Since its founding, our Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust has helped protect more than 1.8 million acres of habitat in 38 states and eight other countries. If you’re interested in protecting your property as a permanent wildlife sanctuary, visit the website for more information. Or if you’re interested in welcoming wild visitors to your backyard, you can join our Urban Wildlife Sanctuary Program.

P.S. If you live near a Buffalo Exchange store (see the list here), please help support the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust and Urban Wildlife Sanctuary Program by shopping at the Earth Day Dollar Day sale on April 16.

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