Thursday, April 15, 2021

Labors of Love taking Place on The Adirondack Wildlife Refuge

adirondack wildlife refuge dome“A foundation is only as sturdy as its mitochondria.”   — Wendy B Hall, Adirondack Wildlife Refuge co-founder

Birds of a Feather Flock together and that’s definitely the case on The Adirondack Wildlife Refuge.

This year started with a time of strategy, dedication and labors of love, beginning with the renovation of the Wolf Dome in honor of Debbie MacKenzie.

Debbie was a devoted and dedicated friend of the Refuge whose love for wildlife exuded from the inside out.  She had a special spiritual bond with every wild animal she came into contact with and a particular fondness for song birds.  Debbie and her husband, Kevin, assisted in the recovery of wild creatures in need of rescuing and rehabilitation.  This duo touched the hearts of like-minded people and developed a close friendship with Steve and Wendy Hall, owners of the Wildlife Refuge in Wilmington.  You can imagine the pain and sorrow when Debbie passed away.  In a time of reflection and remembrance, the plan to renovate the Wolf Dome came about.

As partners of the Refuge, my Husband Kevin and I usually perform educational presentations and design and build the new upgraded animal enclosures.  We were asked to implement the renovation of the dome and utilized our skills to attempt to reflect the true spirit of an amazing lady who touched the lives of humans and animals alike.

Countless hours went into developing how we could create a beautiful, loving space that did justice to who Debbie truly was.  The ceiling and floor lighting features represent the light she brought to this world, the bird décor was created due to her love of song birds and the final purpose was to raise funds by renting the Dome and offering an amazing wildlife experience to continue to rescue, rehabilitate and house wild animals in need of tender loving care, which Debbie would still be a part of today.

pastel by Wendy Hall of Deb MacKenzie

Pastel drawing of Debbie MacKenzie by Wendy Hall, provided by Adirondack Wildlife Refuge

Fundraising efforts

At the present time, the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge faces the financial challenge of constructing a 1,500-foot perimeter fence around the mammals housed on the property which includes a red fox, grey fox, bears, wolves, coyotes, bob cat, lynx, fisher cat and porcupine.  This is a regulation set forth by the DEC and USDA in order to continue to care for and house these animals with a deadline of June 1.  The cost of the fence and new enclosures needed to comply with these regulations is $123,000.  The Refuge employees Hanna and Don have been diligently clearing a line around the perimeter to make way for the coming construction of the perimeter fence as well as maintaining the care of all the animals.  Sky Lyfe ADK has begun to clear, design and build the new enclosures within the perimeter boundary in hope of meeting the deadline.

Now more than ever, The Adirondack Refuge could use the support of the kind hearted public willing to help fund this extremely pertinent and extensive endeavor.  You can help by renting the Wolf Dome through  You can also make reservations by calling 914-772-5983 or 855-wolfman.

If you would just like to make a donation towards this wonderful cause, you can do so through this link – or by check made out to Nature Walks Conservation Society with a note Wolf Dome and mailed to The Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, 977 Springfield Rd, Wilmington NY  12997. The Nature Walks Conservation Society ran by Mark and Anne Fraser EIN# 45-2184606 is the Refuge’s new 501c3 partner, that is committed to the conservation of wildlife and habitat.


Pippin, a fox at Adirondack Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Jackie Woodcock.

Daily life on the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge is full of labors of love and continues to run by the hearts and will of just 7 people, Steve and Wendy Hall, Hanna Cromie, Don Tourtellot who is taking the place of Alex Hall while he is stationed in Saudi Arabia as a medic, Joey Whalen and Kevin and Jackie Woodcock of Sky Lyfe ADK.  Every day each on of us gives our all to the creatures that call the Refuge home.  From feeding and personal care, designing and building enclosures and enrichment, education and public outreach, kind service to the public, to the building of the new Education Center by Annette and Mark Hanczyk in honor of their daughter Kayla.

Together we are Birds of a Feather Flocking together for the benefit of wild animals in need. We invite you to come Fly with Us!

Photo at top: The Wolf Dome at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge. Pictured: Jackie and Kevin Woodcock. Taken by Wendy Hall.

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Jackie Woodcock was born and lives in the Adirondack Mountains. She is an apiarist, lepidopterist, conservationist, teacher, writer, artist, and a co-owner of SkyLyfeADK. You can find her SkyLyfeADK on Instagram and Facebook.

5 Responses

  1. Jackie & Kevin: God Bless you both for putting such time, love, and symbolism into this. When I spent time in the Dome over the weekend, I was stunned by workmanship and detail you included–the inlays, quotes, design, all of it. It’s a work of art and Deb would have loved it. She did bring light into the lives of those she touched and you captured a bit of that in the Dome. I’m sorry I didn’t get over there during the building process to meet you. Hopefully our paths cross soon. Thank you again!

  2. Wendy and I would like to thank Kevin MacKenzie, Jackie and Kevin Woodcock for their tireless contributions and help for the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge. For more information on the Deb MacKenzie Memorial Wolf Dome, go to

  3. Nora says:

    Love my visits to the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge and cant wait to see the Dome ., Thank you Jackie and Kevin for all you do , as Kevin MacKenzie indicated “hopefully our paths cross soon”

  4. Vanessa says:

    I am super hopeful we will be able to visit this summer! Really looking forward to meeting everyone – both the human and animal friends 🙂