The Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center received a $9,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut’s new Peter Grayson Letz Fund for Animals and the Environment. The money will go towards the Animal Care and Rehabilitation program at the Nature Center.
“More animals will find forever homes, more pets will be able to stay with their owners, and injured and sick birds and other wildlife will be returned to their natural habitats,”said Ellen McGuire, chairwoman of the animal welfare grants review committee.
“We are thrilled to be a recipient in the first disbursements of Letz grants for two reasons,” said Maggie Jones, executive director of the Nature Center. “First, all of the medical care and rehabilitation we provide to injured birds and small mammals that are brought to us is paid for out of our own pocket — we take care of these injured animals because it’s the right thing to do and in line with our mission. But it’s expensive to cover the medical care and then, if it turns out the animal is not releasable, we take on their care costs for the remainder of their lives.
“Second,” Jones said, “Peter Letz was a great friend to the Nature Center during his life, and he participated in many of our programs and walks. I am both personally and professionally grateful that he left a legacy to help the animals and the environment that I know he loved.”
Letz lived in North Stonington all his life and and left nearly $10 million to the Community Foundation when he died in 2014, specifying that it be used to benefit domestic animals and wildlife as well as environmental education and conservation in New London County through grants to nonprofit organizations.
The Nature Center is a state and federally licensed wildlife rehabilitation center, with a speciality in birds of prey. The number of injured birds and animals brought to the center continues to increase every year. In the winter of 2015, the DPNC was simultaneously caring for 12 birds of preys — hawks and owls — that were injured or suffering from malnutrition because of the large amount of snow. Some of the birds were struck by cars while hunting for road kill in marginal areas. In a typical year, the Nature Center takes in around 125 birds and mammals that have been injured or are in need of medical care. The majority are released back to the wild, some have to be euthanized because of the extent of their injuries and others remain at DPNC or go to another facility because they cannot survive in the wild on their own.