McFarlane: A trip to tranquility

"I wanted a change of scenery. Last weekend I visited Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge in Medford, New Jersey and now I think you should. " - Photo via Abigail Twiford

As a senior in my undergraduate studies, I am no stranger to feelings of anxiety and internal chaos as graduation looms. It’s very easy to become overwhelmed with post-graduation plans or even a lack of them. One of my favorite activities I practice to ground myself is to go on long walks. While I think Rowan University’s campus is beautiful and walkable, I wanted a change of scenery. Last weekend I visited Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge in Medford, New Jersey, and now I think you should too. 

My walk to let off steam was greeted with three miles worth of trails. The trails, only 36 minutes away from Rowan’s campus, were lined with Pine and Oak trees which gave off a wonderful, earthy aroma. The smell alone encouraged deeper breaths. On my leisurely stroll, I noticed the trails were lined with interpretive signs which provided educational information on the wildlife and conservation efforts. I found it relaxing to retain information on things I wouldn’t be quizzed on. 

Based on my research and reading of the signs on the trails, Cedar Run Wildlife is home to nearly 60 resident owls, eagles, vultures, raccoons, and turtles. I was not fortunate enough to see any wildlife, but as the weather starts to warm up I will. In addition to being home to wildlife, they also serve as an animal hospital. Cedar Run treats and rehabilitates over 6,300 wild animals annually. I found all of this information heartwarming, and it even brought a smile to my face. 

Cedar Run Wildlife invites volunteers to help with the animal hospital, greet visitors, assist with events, and maintain the grounds. I know I want to volunteer in the future so that I can be a part of something bigger than myself. When you’re constantly applying for internships and jobs that only pertain to your major, the repetitiveness of it all, or the rejection can dull your passion. I think it’s important to find other activities that can rekindle your zest for life. For me, this is volunteering for nonprofit organizations. 

If you have been feeling burnt out or stressed, I strongly encourage visiting Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge. It provides a place to lightly exercise, observe wildlife, and potentially volunteer at. It’s a lovely getaway from your computer screen and dorm room. I know I’ll be back for Earth Day. A visit to this sanctuary offers a much-needed reminder of the beauty and resilience of nature. So, seize the opportunity, embrace the adventure, and let Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge be your tangible happy place.

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