Volunteer Highlight

The Raptor Trust is fortunate to have many, many excellent volunteers. These individuals donate their time to support New Jersey's local wildlife through their efforts here at The Raptor Trust. While we are extremely grateful for all of our volunteers, on this page we want to highlight the excellent work of just a few. These individuals have gone above and beyond, volunteered here for a long time, or have contributed towards our mission in some other meaningful way.

Thank you so much to all of our volunteers!

Nita Blatt

Our chosen Volunteer for this spotlight goes by the name of Nita. Nita has generously volunteered her time here at The Raptor Trust for over 20 years She fondly remembers Dr. Soucy, having met him at a birding and photography club where he shared his story of hand raising a baby bird in his bathtub, sparking Nita's curiosity! She enjoys watching Robins hunt for worms and marvels at Albatrosses. Wanting to do more with her passion for birds, she began volunteering here with her beloved bicycling buddy Muriel, and the rest is history! She enjoys nitty gritty work here in the infirmary but Nita also takes extra care with the beautification of our grounds, tending to our flowers and weeding tirelessly. Even though summers around the trust get crazy, Nita thrives with our Summer Students and loves to hear all of the stories from the young people! Along with her partner in crime Caroline, they are an unstoppable force here on Thursdays. Nita is beloved by all here at TRT, it is only right to show admiration for such an enthusiastic, vital part of our team here. Thank you for all you do!

Rowan Baxter-Green March 2023 Volunteer Highlight

Rowan Baxter-Green

Rowan started volunteering at The Raptor Trust in 2019, and has been a vital part of the team ever since. They found out about our organization when they were only in Elementary school, bringing us an injured bird with their parents, hoping to help. After they finished their undergrad, Rowan revisited The Raptor Trust all those years later to return as a devoted volunteer. They received their Masters in Library Science, while maintaining a passion for birds, and environmental education. Rowan's favorite part about being here is when our patients in long-term care finally get released. They say “It's a little bittersweet to see them go, but it's so satisfying to see that they finally made it.”. Always rooting for the misunderstood, their favorite birds to care for are Geese. Although they are messy, their personality and hunger for Rowan's shorts never fails to put a smile on their face. Sadly Rowan will be leaving their bird care days behind to accept an exciting new position as a full time Librarian. Everyone here at The Raptor Trust will miss them dearly, and is so thrilled at this opportunity for Rowan. Thank you for all you have done!

Stephen Gruber

Stephen Gruber has volunteered at The Raptor Trust since 1999, another volunteer who has dedicated many years of service to our organization. Steve loves being outside, helping out the Great Swamp Partner organizations, and volunteers building the new boardwalks at the Wildlife Observation Drive as well as with us at TRT. He spends so much of his week outside in the Great Swamp, he is sure to see his favorite bird, the Red-Bellied Woodpecker. During COVID, when TRT shut down our volunteer program, Steve came in every day to help us with the mountain of laundry that was building up!

A man of many interests, Steve first heard about The Raptor Trust when he struck up a conversation at a Littoral Society meeting. The woman to whom he spoke, a fellow nature lover, recommended Steve check out TRT, and the rest, as they say is history.
Steve volunteers in our Food Prep and Cage Cleaning area, where he says his favorite part of being here is helping the birds and being surrounded by such nice people. Thanks, Steve, we like having you around too!

Jennifer Books helping to release a kestrel

Jennifer Books

Jennifer Books has volunteered at The Raptor Trust since 1992, one of our longest-term team members. A life-long supporter of environmental, wildlife, and social causes, Jennifer's attention was turned towards The Raptor Trust when she found an injured crow in a park near her house 30 years ago. Jennifer and her family brought the crow to TRT, where she knew she wanted to start volunteering immediately, earning herself the distinction of being one of our youngest volunteers to ever start here. 

While Jennifer joined the TRT volunteer team specifically to help the animals, she now remarks that working with the staff, volunteers, and finders is her favorite part of being here. Jennifer feels as though the staff and other volunteers are a second family to her, and she loves being a part of the rehab journey of all the animals. The Raptor Trust is fortunate that Jennifer is always looking to engage in new ways. She currently assists TRT as a food-prep and cage-cleaning volunteer, a reception volunteer, and even helps with preparing supplies on days when she isn't scheduled to be here.

 A true friend to the underdog, Jennifer is particularly interested in following our pigeon patients, but she appreciates all of our avian patients. She also helps TRT by transporting mammals and reptiles to our partners at Woodlands Wildlife when racoons and turtles are discovered in need in the Great Swamp. Jennifer encourages all bird lovers to volunteer at The Raptor Trust. Our many volunteer opportunities ensure that even those who do not want to get dirty can still help the mission.

 Thank you Jennifer for your many years of service to The Raptor Trust.

Lin chu, Raptor Trust Volunteer, and her cat Zuzu

Lin Chu

Lin has been a Raptor Trust Volunteer since 2017, but she first heard of us 10 years ago when she brought her son to a scout program with our Education Center. She was so impressed with the work and the mission at TRT that, when time permitted, she applied to volunteer in our Receptionist position. Lin is still so impressed with TRT's conservation mission that she recommends everyone volunteer so they can see first-hand how to help preserve our native birds.

While Lin loves Great-Horned owls, her favorite part of being here is the people: the staff and volunteers who are here helping birds every day, but also the finders who stop everything they are doing to drive up to two hours to help a bird in need. She also appreciates the Animal Control Organizations and transport volunteers who are so critical to helping out local birds get the help they need.

When she is not at The Raptor Trust, Lin focuses on creating habitats for her backyard birds through gardening. The same time, effort, planning, and diligent care that she shows here, she puts into her garden. Always a friend to the animals, Lin also loves her cats. In fact, Lin credits her garden and her cats with keeping her sane through the pandemic. 

Thank you Lin for all your hard work at The Raptor Trust!