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Intern Noella Girard, dressed as a Harry Potter wizard, shows a screech owl to visitors at Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge’s Autumn with the Animals festival. Four- and five-year-olds in Cedar Run’s “Polliwogs” day camp look for frogs along the lakeshore with an intern counselor.

Almost 50 years ago, Elizabeth and James Woodford took steps to help preserve the Pinelands of central and southern New Jersey. They bought land within the Pinelands and founded the Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge, which continues to carry out their work of environmental and wildlife preservation, education and rehabilitation.

The Pinelands predominate much of central and southern New Jersey. Also called Pine Barrens, its more than one million acres harbor a wide variety of plant and animal life ? life that Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge is dedicated to preserving.

Situated on 184 acres surrounding Cedar Run Lake near Medford, New Jersey, the Refuge includes a wildlife rehabilitation hospital, an outdoor live-animal compound, the Elizabeth Woodford Environmental Education and Nature Center and nature trails that link the property?s uplands and wetlands.

The Refuge has three missions ? wildlife rehabilitation, environmental education and habitat preservation. Addressing these missions entails guardianship of the Refuge?s grounds, educating approximately 16,000 students every year either on the grounds or in off-site programs and taking in approximately 4,000 animals per year that are in need of rehabilitation.

Cedar Run campers conduct an in-depth exploration of fish and other aquatic creatures during a 2005 summer day camp. Intern Noella Girard teaches campers about Squam, the barred owl. Squam suffered a head injury and has a bad eye, so he can’t hunt well enough to be released back into the wild.

This is one of the largest wildlife rehabilitation centers in New Jersey. Between the months of March and October, as many as 60 animals per day are brought into the Refuge. Its rehabilitation center is allowed to work with only wildlife native to New Jersey. When other animals are brought into the Refuge, they?re transferred to proper facilities. The goal of rehabilitation is to return the animal to its environment. However, when an animal is injured beyond the point of surviving in the wild, it remains in the refuge.

With a grant from the Subaru of America Foundation, Cedar Run has been able to increase its staff by four interns. Two of them help rehabilitate wild animals, and two are involved in the educational programs.

Learn more about the facilities, services and programs offered by Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge by going to its Web site at www.cedarrun.org. Many of the Refuge?s resident animals can be seen there, accompanied by their stories.