Tag Archives: animals

Rock n’ Brews Benefit for IHWN

RNBOV 1025- In Harmony with Nature share#This Thursday, December 3rd, pop by Rock n’ Brews in Oviedo for lunch, dinner, snacks, or just to knock back a pint after work.  They will donate 15% of your check to our friends at In Harmony With Nature (make sure to have the flyer with you!)

You can join some folks from our group and some volunteers from the refuge there for dinner at 5:30 – we’d love to meet you!

Rock n’ Brews Oviedo: Rock it for IHWN!

Thursday, Dec 3, 2015, 5:30 PM

4 Happy Humans Attending

Check out this Meetup →


And if you’d like to know more about the sanctuary, join us for the Picnic With Wolves event this Saturday, December 5th!  (picnic portion canceled, but join us for the tour!).




Picnic With Wolves II (A Picnic With a Purpose)


Update, 12/3/15 – A Message from BE. Orlando:

We are very sorry to let you know that there has been an unexpected turn of events and we have been asked by the sanctuary to postpone  Picnic With Wolves until at least February.  I want you to know that everyone is all right; there was simply a situation beyond our control that came up.  Thank you for understanding that in animal rescue of any kind – especially exotic animals –  sometimes things go awry and we must be flexible for the sake of the animals.

DONATIONS: Those of you who donated through Eventbrite, your donations will go directly to the charity and will greatly help with the situation they are in. If you need confirmation for tax purposes please contact me at BEOrlando@live.com.

VOLUNTEERS: If any of you were joining this event hoping for information on a volunteer commitment with the refuge, please contact me (Tee) directly at BEOrlando@live.com so that we can set up a phone interview.

Picnic With Wolves 2.5: If you would like to receive an update when this event is re-scheduled, please join our event site at http://Meetup.com/BEOrlando, follow us at http://Facebook.com/BEOrlando ,or check back to our blog at http://JustGottaBE.org for updates in early 2016.

Save the date for a picnic lunch on Saturday, December 5th. Why?  Because you need a wolf kiss.

Family-friendly pot luck social picnic for volunteers, supporters, and friends of the private facility wolf & wolfdog sanctuary.  A guided tour will be provided.

Event hosted by BE. Orlando; members, friends, and families of all groups in our Central Florida Coalition of Reason, Florida Humanist Association, and other secular communities network are welcome (with RSVP on this site).

This event is free to attend, family friendly, and smoke free.

A Picnic With a Purpose! 100% of proceeds through voluntary donations will support IHWN.

RSVP with BE:

Picnic With Wolves

Saturday, Dec 5, 2015, 11:30 AM

7 Awesome People Attending

Check out this Meetup →


BE inspired by kindness

Update: 4/17/15 – Happy Birthday, Bacco!  This local hero is “29” Today!!

It is amazing the kind, generous quiet heroes that surround us every day. When you have time, stop and take a moment to ask questions and learn about someone you see everyday but may not even know their name. And appreciate them – not everyone does. In fact, some people find the generous and take advantage of them. Read on to learn how that happened to Roberto (“Bacco”), and what we’re doing to help.

Highlight in the Publix newsletter where he works

Highlight in the Publix newsletter where he works

Roberto works at a Publix serving samples of meal ideas and smiles. He loves talking to people and is always jolly; his voice is immediately uplifting and comforting. Having said hello to him daily for years, i decided one day when he was not busy to pause for a conversation. I was amazed.

Bacco articleHe works at this Publix because this plaza is “home”. For many years, he owned and managed a family restaurant here, Bacco Italiano Ristorante. It won local and national awards from Zagat, Florida Trend, and Entertainment, and received positive reviews from Scott Joseph and Greg Pikulski. He was beloved by his customers and renowned both for his friendly demeanor and his amazing talent as a chef.

Soon after settling in, Roberto became a hero to local cats. He personally cares for the cats in the plaza parking lot and at his home – these cats have been part of his family for many years. He feeds them, conducts TNR (trap-neuter-release), and provides them care. He loves them, and buries them when they pass. When needed, he cares for their young and finds homes for them when he can.


tomlinquoteWhen he came to this country in 1988 he saw the cats as a social issue of injustice toward fellow beings, and wondered why people did not take care of these animals. He thought someone should do something – so he decided to do something, and continues his mission to this day. I don’t know if he heard Lily Tomlin’s quote*, but he lives its spirit. The cats are there because of our carelessness – we created this community of animals that need attention. He worries that he does not do enough, but he gives what he can. He funds and conducts this rescue mission himself. He saw a need for compassion and intervention, and so he works to fill that need.

In his retirement, he says, he wants to live in peace with his cats and his garden.

He lives in a small home where he has rooms that he rents out. For a long time, he rented to two young college students who became like family to him. When they graduated and moved away, he decided to look for another roommate. Unfortunately, bad things do happen to good people – and one day last month while Roberto was at work, the new roommate not only stole everything – including the refrigerator – but also injured one of the cats.

Crushed (and very angry that someone hurt a cat), and despite the police doing their best, the individual has not been caught. With a deductible higher than the loss, replacement of the belongings is not feasible. He will slowly rebuild and continues to love and care for his cats and his garden. He has not lost his sense of peace. Even through this difficulty, his positive attitude and uplifting spirit have carried on.

He is right – there are so many animals that are abandoned, neglected, or abused because we humans do not care for them the way we should. We create out-of-control populations of unwanted animals and think that someone should do something. There are a few real heroes out there dedicating their lives to making a difference. They make the world a better place because they are in it and because their love and sense of duty guide them on their path. People who shine brightly and inspire others with their dedication to what they love. Roberto is one of those, and though he has only briefly and peripherally touched my life, he has made a lasting impression that inspires and gives hope.

Thank you, Roberto. You are one of the quiet heroes living in our midst, and we are grateful for the joy you bring to people and work you do for your feline friends.

*“I said “Somebody should do something about that. Then I realized, I am somebody.”

Meet Tommasino, the Smart A[lec] Cat!

Meet Tommasino, the Smart A[lec] Cat!

Picnic With Wolves!

IHWN_fasterIn Harmony With Nature is a place of peace, nature, and positive energy – and a great place to volunteer!  They provide specialized care to exotic animals including wolves and wolfdogs, provide re-homing when appropriate, and permanent sanctuary when needed.

Their property is still in danger of being auctioned.  Learn more about the auction and stay updated on the news at http://GoFundMe.com/InHarmony or follow them on the Facebook.

Picnic With Wolves

There is a picnic for volunteers and supporters on April 11th – learn more here:

eventbrite event logo

A little batty.

True animal rescue leaders are an amazing breed.  They dedicate their entire lives, all of their time, energy, and resources, to serve living beings that the rest of us create problems for.  Everything they have goes into the critters that need them.  They love and respect life on a level most of us will never achieve.  There are very few of them – much fewer than needed to provide resources for the animals that are abandoned, neglected, and abused, and wildlife endangered by our hubris and ignorance.  They are heroes.

I married into a German family, but aside from some colorful street language gleaned at toe-stubbings and other suddenly humanizing moments, the only word that stuck is fledermaus.  In childhood, Grandpa would take me to the edge of the big woods and toss up sand and small stones, and the bats would swarm around us like that scene from Batman.  Maybe it wasn’t quite that dramatic – but it seemed that way to a little girl, and it was awesome and inspired a lifelong love of bats.

Laurbats4a and Tom Finn established and manage a local non-profit, Fly By Night.  Two individuals bonded in passion for making a difference, they ARE our local bat conservation and are the only organization providing specialized, expert removal of bats from buildings.  They care for bats on their property, conduct research and field studies, provide consultations, build bat houses designed for bats’ needs based on their many years of experience, and work to educate people about the true nature of bats and their ecological importance.  Plus they are kind, generous, fun (yup, a little batty) people who live a life of purpose. They are an inspiration.

Whatever your talent or interest, you can make a difference and gain valuable experience.

There are wonderful and unique ways that volunteers could share their time and talents and provide a legacy of impact to this agency.  Not only with hands-on bat work like building houses and assisting with field work – but also business-oriented contributions such as managing the social media and website, assisting with marketing and PR, accounting, developing and implementing informative e-newsletters, and more.  If you’re good at public speaking and passionate about bat conservation, consider hosting talks at local schools – Laura and Tom will provide the information and materials you need, as well as train you.  There are many amazing opportunities to offer the talents and experience you have while gaining valuable experience that will impact your own future.

bats2Additionally, as time moves forward, succession planning and the future of the organization become a concern.  It isn’t just the continuity of a business, but a needed service to local wildlife and a treasure of expertise that guides and educates others who serve bats. For those with a passion for bats and a desire to build a career and life making a difference, you should not miss the opportunity to learn from these respected professionals who have given so much to our community – and maybe play an important role in ensuring this resource continues on to protect bats through our next generation.

Whether your grandfather was batman or you just have an interest in learning more about bats and bat professionals, visit Laura & Tom’s website.  Among the many resources there is a must-see batcam.  And if you are interested in learning more about how you can become involved, contact Laura and Tom directly at laura@flybynightinc.org.

bat article 2

Save the Sanctuary Sunset Fun Run!

The In Harmony With Nature sanctuary for wolves, wolfdogs, and other exotic animals in need is in danger of losing its property.  We’ve posted much to keep you informed so you can share the story and spread the word.

Some students at the University of Central Florida heard about the plight of these amazing animals and want to help.  They are working together to plan a fundraiser event that will include a fun run and exciting other ways to make a difference.  There are 60 students on the planning & volunteer team led by Kaitlin Balcerak and Alex Graves.

Run, walk, crawl, or just howl your support at the finish line!
March 20th, 5 – 7:30 p.m.,
Jay Blanchard park on Dean Road

REGISTER HERE – participants are limited!


If you would like to support these students efforts by sponsoring part of the run, please contact Kaitlin, you can reach us directly at 407-823-3094 or by email at tee.rogers@ucf.edu.


Science League for Kids transforms local refuge


November 16, 2014

Click here for event photos

Thank you so much to the 32 members of the Science League for Kids who dedicated a day of service to IHWN – providing 96 impact hours in one afternoon!   This group DID change the world today –  these concerned citizens changed the world for the residents in sanctuary at the In Harmony With Nature Animal Haven, a local exotic animal rescue and sanctuary specializing in wolves and wolfdogs. The volunteers’ impact on the facility was amazing!

The families toured the facility to learn about the need for agencies like this one, where these animals come from, and what specialized care they need and are given. They learned about different ways of identifying wolfdog content, such as phenotyping, and behavioral differences between wolfdogs and domestic dogs – and the consequences of irresponsible breeding and adoption.  For example, when integrated into a home that is not appropriate or prepared to handle wolfdog behavior, they are too often abused, neglected, abandoned; in the end, they are either euthanized or in permanent sanctuary at a facility like In Harmony With Nature.  There are wolfdogs on a waiting list to find a place that can help them; with too few options, many will not be saved.

The awesome volunteers, each of whom is now officially an honorable member of Team Harmony,  then invested an afternoon to beautify the property and help with items our regular volunteers need assistance to complete. They planted flowers for a butterfly garden, installed a fence by to partition for a storage area, planted trees, cleared and planted a memorial garden, planted a garden at the entrance to the refuge, cleaned ceiling fans, walls, and windows in the cat room, shingled a roof on a shade structure for one of the wolfdog habitats, and various other projects around the property.

Thank you volunteers: Theresa, Jason, Rachel, Martha, Nicole, Justin, Sascha, Mark, Joseph, David, Neil, Jocelyn, Deb, Jared, Sascha, Julie, Sierra, Sarah, Lucas, Ethan, John-Paul, Gareth, Paige, Sharon, Keith, Calvin, Elliott, Lee, Cynthia, Tracy, Lee, and Daisy.  You ROCK!!

Special thanks to Jocelyn Williamson, who coordinates the Science League for Kids. This group offers monthly enriching, science-related learning and civic engagement activities for secular families.  They inspire youth to be interested in science and inquiry as well as provide hands-on experiences to engender a commitment to making a positive impact on the world. If you are interested in learning more about Science League, contact Jocelyn directly at freethought@cfl.rr.com. Additional secular community resources can be found at http://cflfreethought.org/meetup/

Special thanks also to Andrew Davis and Gavin Frank for their help with coordinating the Science League projects today and assisting the refuge with keeping volunteers positively engaged throughout the day while minimizing the impact on the animals and regular volunteer duties.

You’re Invited to be part of Team Harmony!

TEAMS: Groups, work teams, and others interested in a volunteer service project like this one are needed! You can arrange a custom volunteer day at In Harmony With Nature that will include a facility tour and team building activities if requested.

INDIVIDUALS: Those interested in committing to regular service at the sanctuary are also welcome (and needed); to learn more about our training program or group service opportunities, contact inwn.visit@gmail.com.

FOSTER HOMES:  Some animals in our network are in need of foster homes.  If you have room in your heart and home to save a life through the foster care program, please contact ihwn.visit@gmail.com.

FUNDRAISING (Current Critical Need): In Harmony With Nature is also in need of your help to spread the word about their fundraising campaign to save this resource. The leased property on which they are located is being foreclosed. Please help the staff and volunteers prevent this devastating loss by sharing http://GoFundMe.com/InHarmony or joining and inviting your Facebook connections to join BE’s event in support of the fundraising effort at http://TinyURL.com/SaveIHWN.