The Magic of Nature
Updated: Dec 13, 2020
By Beverly Jones
As Karen mentioned previously, we thought it would be a nice idea to share a bit about ourselves and explain why we are working to create WildCare of Western New York. So, now it is my turn to introduce myself.
Hi there! My name is Bev Jones and I am happy to say that I have been in love with wildlife and nature for as long as I can remember. I had the extraordinary fortune of growing up on a dead end road, in a small town, in south central New York State. My childhood home was surrounded by woods, fields and creeks and the brightest gem in my outdoor treasure box was our next door neighbor’s giant pond. When I was a child, the fields in my neighborhood were loaded with milkweed plants and monarch butterflies were too numerous to count. The fire flies were so plentiful that our yards glowed at night and the vernal pools and ponds were brimming with tadpoles. I would fall asleep at night to a chorus of frogs, toads and a myriad of insects. I am not sure that I realized it at the time, but I grew up in a truly magical place.
As a youngster, I spent all of my free time outside, no matter what the season. I loved animals, especially wild animals and I knew I wanted to work with them one day. It was a stroke of luck that our local zoo had a youth volunteer program and I was able to work in the Zoo’s hospital while I was in high school. That amazing experience was the start of my phenomenal 35 year journey working with wildlife.
My fondest memories of the past include working with Mountain Lion cubs with the Ross Park Zoo, Beavers with Southern Tier Wildlife, Pelicans with the Conservancy of South West Florida, Peregrine Falcons with The Peregrine Fund and Bald Eagles with the SPCA Serving Erie County. The experience of working with these animals, and many more, shaped my life. My career path took a shift several years ago with a move from Buffalo to Olean, and I now lead hikes through old growth forests for Pfeiffer Nature Center and help my friends with WildCare of Western New York. I have had the unbelievable good fortune of making a career out of doing what I love most, working with wildlife and nature.
WildCare of Western New York is a unique opportunity to combine all of my passions into one network. Our objective is multifaceted, to care for wildlife in need and to educate our communities on the importance of protecting and restoring habitat. With the impacts of climate change bearing down on us, this is our opportunity to make a difference in our communities. We appreciate all that we obtain from nature, and we would like our legacy to be that we return some of this precious gift back to where it belongs.
I am grateful that I am able to return to visit my childhood home as my mom still lives there. The landscape of my old neighborhood has changed very little in the past 50 years. The homes are there, as are the fields and woods, although the fields have filled in a bit and some of the yard trees are a lot taller now. At a quick glance, things look pretty much the same. But when I pause a moment to observe closely, I know that things are different. My childhood playground is quieter and much less showy than it once was. The neighborhood no longer holds the same volume or variety of creature friends that it once did. My hope for the future, with the help of organizations like WildCare of Western New York, is that one day, I can visit home and experience the magical place of my youth.