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Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Protection of Endangered Species, Wildlife Sanctuaries

Mission: The mission of Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary is to: provide care and treatment to sick, injured or orphaned wild animal; rehabilitate them back to their wild state so they can be returned to their natural habitat, actively educate the public to care and support for the ecosystems and the environment in which they share with wildlife, and; to protect and preserve our native lands.

Results: Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary (ARWS) is a wildlife rehabilitation center that provides care to orphaned or injured wildlife. ARWS is licensed by the state of New Jersey to care for fawns, raccoon, skunks, opossums, squirrels, rabbits, woodchucks and other small mammals. The Sanctuary is an all-volunteer 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization located in Warren County on a 120 acre preserved farm and is entirely supported by public donations.

Target demographics: wildlfie of NJ

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 1000 animals

Geographic areas served: Newton New Jersey, cover Warren and Sussex County

Programs: conservation, aniam husbandy, wildlife habitate and rehabilitation

Community Stories

55 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer at Antler Ridge for the past 3 years and love every minute I get to help the animals. It is so rewarding to see a young animal come in and get the care it needs to be released back into the wild. I have always loved helping animals and here at Antler Ridge I get a chance to make a difference. I'm so glad I am part of this extraordinary organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is my first year volunteering at Antler Ridge and I absolutely love it! It is so well run and organized and the rehabbers so knowledgable. The care and attention each little critter gets is amazing and heart warming . From a baby mouse, to raccoons, squirrels, opposums, fawns and even bears! Antler Ridge cares for its animals 7 days a week by a large staff of caring volunteers. But it also takes a lot of supplies to care for and feed different types of animals during different stages of growth or rehabilitation. Donations of supplies or money keep this place running and ready to help animals brought in at any time. I wish I found this place sooner! I love my time there and am so impressed with the whole operation!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary is a wonderful refuge for furry little critters (opossums, raccoons, squirrels,...) in need and cared for by a team of incredibly compassionate and committed volunteers, and owners Kelly and her husband.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am continually amazed at the dedication and warmth of the volunteers at Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary. Their generous donations of time and expertise are reflected in the health and well being of the wildlife they serve. The animals that are fortunate to arrive at the sanctuary are given the attention they require for a successful release back to the wild where they belong.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at ARWS for my senior year of high school as a part of my Vet Program and I loved every second of it! Working with the ladies there two days a week was so enjoyable and the work we were doing was not easy, but we all worked together well. I jumped right in to a hands on position as many animals needed care, and while it can be stressful, the instructions I received from the shift leads helped me catch on very quickly. ARWS is extremely organized, clean, and dedicated to their mission. I highly recommend volunteering, donating, or dropping off orphaned/injured wildlife to them. I miss everyone there, and I know the few months I spent solidified my decision to go to college for Wildlife Biology.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is my third year volunteering at Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary and I never cease to be impressed by the wonderful work that is done there and by the way the sanctuary itself is run. The animals are brought to Antler Ridge as babies and are raised and cared for until they are old enough and healthy enough to be released back into the wild. Antler Ridge is very professionally run by owner Kelly Corless who has dedicated her life to it. There are so many aspects of how Antler Ridge is run that have impressed me over the years. Kelly and her rehabbers always stay current on the most up to date practices used in rehabbing, the facility itself is always kept clean and super organized and there are many loyal and dedicated volunteers which in itself is a testament as to how well Antler Ridge is run and it's continued success. I truly can't say enough good about Antler Ridge!

1 funnymee

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our journey began with my son wanting experience working with animals & I went along with him. It turned out to be such an amazing experience. The work that gets done there and the people that we get the opportunity to work with is absolutely awesome! The animals are cared for as if they are our own. Every effort is taken to help the tiniest to the largest to make sure they are ready to be released when its time. Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary is by far an A+ non-profit organization.

2 Susie G.2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Antler Ridge provides a fantastic service to orphaned and injured animals. The volunteers are so helpful, I live in another state but have contacted their volunteers for information and advice . They post updates and hold fundraisers so you know they are working hard to keep things flowing smoothly. Animals that would be overlooked-squirrels, skunks, opossums-are able to get a second chance thanks to these folks.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Awesome place so helpful and knowledgeable, they really take care of these wildlife critters!! awesome people!!! I love this place so much me and my daughter are volunteering!!!!

1 jljewell

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I can't begin to explain how rewarding this program is. To take a small, helpless creature and nurture it until it can be released back to its natural habitat. I have learned about our wildlife and what we can do to improve their situation, which I pass on to others. The work is hard, but the rewards are endless. God bless people like Kelly who run this amazing operation.

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked at Antler Ridge for two years now and continue to be amazed at the depth of love and caring that is found there, not only for the animals but the staff as well. The owner, Kelly, has a wealth of knowledge that she shares with us and the more we know the better we can care for the animals. The animals are given the best start to life that we can give them and released to find their own way. I only wish I had known of them sooner, I have found my own sanctuary.

1 Jackie62

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am so proud of the teamwork and effort of all my fellow Antler Ridge volunteers. The dedication of taking care of the animals, and the hard work that goes into all of our fundraising efforts. I love getting the word out to the public about conservation , and protecting wildlife. I really appreciate all the support we get from everyone !

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am in my seventh year of volunteer work with Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary. It has been such a rewarding and enriching experience to rehabilitate wildlife and to be able to reach out to the community about our mission. The volunteers that I work with are so dedicated to our cause and we are so grateful for the support we get from so many people .

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3 Amanda N.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My niece found this little baby wondering in the road crying in the rain, and we watched as it kept going into the road. So we called and called so many places and only one person got back to me, and so quickly! I was so greatful that the director for right back to us, so caring. Thank you all for all you do!!! What a wonderful way to spend mother’s day! Happy Mother’s Day & a big Thank you to all those who volunteer and help these babies!!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When my wife and I moved to the area 2 years ago, we searched for almost a year to find the right volunteer situation for us. We knew we wanted to do something with animals/wildlife. We found Antler Ridge on a whim, and from the moment we stepped foot on the sanctuary, we knew we made the right choice.

Owners Kelly and Jim could not have been more welcoming and accommodating from day one. We instantly knew how much both of them cared for these animals and how clear their mission was. Kelly also takes the time to answer every question you have and really educates you on the rehab process and each animal's behaviors.

They really do so much for not only the rehab and release of animals, but for the community. Everything from educational programs for kids/adults, tours, and fundraisers for breast cancer, this place does it all. I just cant say enough good things about Antler Ridge and how it operates.

After our first full season of volunteering here, it is like our second home. In fact, it is not only our second home, but it has become family.

3 Jennifer Kochanski M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Kelly and Jimmy (the owners of Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary) are beyond amazing and truly dedicate their lives into providing vital care and treatment to sick, injured or orphaned wildlife on their 120-acre preserved farm.

As a proud volunteer, rehabilitating wild animals back to health so they can be returned to where they belong is extremely enjoyable and rewarding.

I am happy to help them achieve their mission educating the public on the importance of caring for the ecosystems, supporting the environment in which we live, respecting the wildlife with whom we share this environment and protecting and preserving our native lands for the future wildlife habitat.

2 Irene S.2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Everyone here is so kind and caring. The work they do to rescue and care for injured animals is top notch.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary is a wonderful organization. They save so many animals. The volunteers and staff are all amazing people. Thank you to everyone at Antler Ridge!

4 Stephen M.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Steve Matlaga and I'm a father of six beautiful kids and husband to my amazing wife, Karen. We've been married 25 years. Raising a family is certainly a story in itself. However, I'm here to tell you about my experience with Antler Ridge. It’s a long review, but hope you find it worth it and get something out of it.

I'm just finishing up my first year as a volunteer at Antler Ridge. I've always had a love of animals. You name it, we've had one. Dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, hamsters, and recently, chickens. Last year, we started fostering dogs, which was definitely a positive move in my life. However, I wanted to do even more. My wife mentioned something about an opportunity to work with wildlife at a local sanctuary. My interest immediately peaked! Karen had been going to Antler Ridge for some time with a group of home schoolers. My youngest daughter enjoyed this program that Antler Ridge supported called 'Discover Nature'. I never actually had a chance to go see what it was about, but it sounded cool. So I applied with my daughter, Abby. Abby also shares my love for all creatures great and small. (some of the greatest creatures are small by the way)

After applying online, we attended our ‘Intro to Antler Ridge’ meeting. Both of us being shy and not a fan of crowds, found ourselves leaving the meeting shortly after arriving, feeling defeated and disappointed. You could not believe the amount of cars and people all lined up and packed into this local town meeting room! I said something to the affect, 'if there is this many people wanting to volunteer here, maybe we are needed elsewhere... We left and that was that.

After I got home, I composed an email to Kelly Corless, the Director of the sanctuary. I thanked her for the opportunity, but it looked like they had things covered. To my surprise, Kelly got right back to me and explained that only a small amount of those who show up for the introduction meeting will actually become volunteers. She continued to invite me and my daughter to the first training class. We eagerly accepted. Sometime not long after our initial correspondences with Antler Ridge, we were heading to our first training session. When we first showed up, neither of us knew what to expect. However, it took all of 10 minutes of listening to Kelly and her team talk about what we’d be doing, before Abby and I were hooked! Handling and feeding baby animals? What? Are you kidding me? They spoke about how much work it was, the intensity levels during the various parts of the year, and some of the less enjoyable tasks a volunteer will be taking part in. (like cleaning out poop from the cages! YUK!). I don’t think there was single thing that they could tell us that would keep us away from this amazing opportunity. We both agreed to our work schedule at the sanctuary, and awaited our next training session. After another few weeks went by, we complete our training, ready, well mostly ready to start down the road of wildlife care and rehabilitation.

I could certainly fill a novel with our experiences at Antler Ridge. From initial disappointment, to pure joy and excitement, we both felt like part of something so much bigger than us. No words can express the emotions. The first time I got to feed a baby squirrel (us insiders call them pinkies, lol), my hand was shaky, I was nervous, felt like I was way outside my ability levels. Yet, something inside me pushed me forward. I think it was compassion. I couldn’t help but have an incredible amount of compassion for this little tiny life that I was about to help get its next feeding. The experience was a game changer. This was just incredible. Wait, it got better! Shortly after getting some hours behind me, a bit more experience and a comfort level, I got a chance to feed a baby raccoon. I knew immediately, that raccoons were my thing! There’s something about their eyes. Their personality just comes right through. I was in love with these critters! Their sounds, their silly behaviors, and just how sweet they are all around. Things just kept getting better and better each week. I learned to work with skunks (never got sprayed by the way, despite lots of scolding and critiques of my confidence in handling them), opossums, and of course fawns. I think fawns deserve their own story! These little babies are nothing less than addictive to be around. I never really understood how needy baby animals are after they lose their mom until I was there first hand to see and experience this first hand. We always are told, stay away from wildlife. They will do fine without us. You’ll just make it worse. Blah blah blah. Well, to a point, maybe that is true in some situations, but for the babies that get abandoned, orphaned one way or the other, they do need us! As Trump might say, BIGGLY. These little buggers are so happy to get a bottle from their human caretaker. Having a fawn sit on your lap while you help nurse it back to strength is certainly a special opportunity. They all just seem to understand that we are there to help them. It’s pretty bizarre. As they grow, they actually seem more like puppies than wild animals. NO, this isn’t an invite for you approach a fawn in the wild. However, you should understand, these animals do in fact have emotions, love and I think, care for their caretakers. They understand that we are trying to help them. Naturally, the end game is release back into the wild with as much of a chance as we can give them at success. In the meanwhile, every moment leading up to and including a release is just one big beautiful experience.

Before I summarize, I feel I must mention a few of the negatives of my volunteer experiences. Animals Die! It happens, not every animal makes it. Far more than I’d like, pass along to the rainbow bridge. I always keep my eye on the big picture though. We can’t save them all, but we save many! Also, not every visit to the sanctuary is perfect. Being that we are all human, many a day I’ve found myself dealing with my own feeling as I’m being scolded for some minor infraction of ‘good practice’ handling wildlife. I know it’s important to follow protocol, but I’m a big mush. Everyone there is usually trying to promote the best environment for these little buggers to flourish and be released. Rehabilitators are really strict about best practices, as they should be. They will look out for the animals best interest, which sometimes might mean you’ll want to cuddle a little squirrel in your arms while walking around, but that is going to be met with a good verbal lashing! I must admit, one of the hardest things for me is not treating these animals like my own pet. You fall in love with them, all of them. You just instinctual want to cuddle them and protect them. You want to carry them and shelter them from all the nasties in the world they will soon face. It’s a struggle coming from a world of love, hugs, cuddles and kisses of domestic pet care to wildlife rehab. Easy to lose sight that we are there to help rehab animals, not prep them to be domestic pets. But, I’m only human. So that little challenge will continue.

In summary, the experience at Antler Ridge gives me a chance to do something beyond the normal life experience. We are going to a place where we can all come together to work on our compassion, our patience, our understanding of ourselves, and those we work with. We are not just observing nature, we are being part of it! We are all doing something good for the community. I think the animals are more or less the ones helping us rather than the other way around!

I hope I’ve inspired you to look into Antler Ridge or your local wildlife sanctuary. Even if you only volunteer for a day or a weekend, I assure you, it will change your life! God bless and thanks to my friends at Antler Ridge.

PS: Lucky, Crackers, & Delilah say hi! (did I mention I adopted a duck, a goat, and a chinchilla from Antler Ridge? Yes, they rescue just about everyone)

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering at ARWS was the most rewarding experience ever for me because it felt like being in a mutually supportive community of animal lovers who actually do something to help animal welfare. Getting to know Kelly and seeing her work with animals is an experience in itself. She is super knowledgeable, experienced, supportive, wise and real. All shift supervisors I had contact with were also totally experienced to handle whatever came our way that day. They happen to be all women and they were impressive in their approach, warmth and wisdom toward animals and people. If i had a daughter i would definitely want her to spend a season volunteering here because the impact of this experience, helping sick animals get better, or feeding orphaned animals, in combo with people who have given so much from their life for these animals, is definitely life changing. We

2

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Great place to volunteer! I've learned a lot and have made many new friends that share the same passion. Everyone is helpful and supportive. Its a well organized effort that benefits wildlife. Highly recommend giving your time to this organization.

2 Aleksandra P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering for Antler Ridge this year, and the past few months have been amazing. Here at the sanctuary we care for hundreds of wild animals, there's no animal too big or too small, we care for them all! Everyone at Antler Ridge is very kind and knows how to properly rehabilitate the animals for their release back into the wild.

4

Donor

Rating: 5

The volunteers are filled with energy, enthusiasm, humor and compassion. The sanctuary provides care for so many critters, with the help of the volunteers and Dr. Karen. Any donations made to this organization are put to good use.