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HomeCommunity GroupsGiving Rye: Meet Friends of Read Wildlife Sanctuary

Giving Rye: Meet Friends of Read Wildlife Sanctuary

(PHOTO: Jana B. Seitz, board president at Friends of Read Wildlife Sanctuary battles against invasives at Edith Read Wildlife Sanctuary.)
(PHOTO: Jana B. Seitz, board president at Friends of Read Wildlife Sanctuary battles against invasives at Edith Read Wildlife Sanctuary.)

Giving Rye is a new occasional feature highlighting non-profits and community groups in and around the City of Rye. Today meet Jana Seitz of Friends of Read Wildlife Sanctuary.

Your Name: Jana B. Seitz

Organization: Friends of Read Wildlife Sanctuary (FRWS)

Your role: Board President

MyRye.com: Tell us your organization’s mission.

Seitz: FRWS works to supplement County support of the Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary, a Westchester County nature preserve adjacent to Playland Park and abutting the Long Island Sound in Rye, NY. Dues and donations support wildlife conservation, habitat restoration and preservation, trail and grounds maintenance, site and facilities enhancements, education programming and advocacy stewardship efforts.

How long have you operated in Rye? 

Seitz: FRWS was founded in June of 2000 to assist the nature preserve which was founded in 1985.

(PHOTO: Campers birdwatching at Edith Read Wildlife Sanctuary's visitor center.)
(PHOTO: Campers birdwatching at Edith Read Wildlife Sanctuary’s visitor center.)

What programming or work in Rye is the organization best known for? 

Seitz: Fall Fest occurred annually from 2012 through 2020 when it was scuttled by the pandemic. FRWS is planning its next Fall Fest for October of 2025 to commemorate its 25th anniversary as well as the 40th anniversary of the founding of the nature preserve. A flourishing summer camp program began in 2022. Various programs run throughout the year, led by the sanctuary’s curator. Vernal and autumnal equinox concerts are held annually, sponsored by FRWS and free to membership. Birds of Prey held in the Fall is a huge hit.

(PHOTO: The Birds of Prey show at Edith Read Wildlife Sanctuary.)
(PHOTO: The Birds of Prey show at Edith Read Wildlife Sanctuary.)

Looking forward to 2024, what will be your top initiatives? 

(PHOTO: A free concert at Edith Read Wildlife Sanctuary.)
(PHOTO: A free concert at Edith Read Wildlife Sanctuary.)

Seitz: FRWS will continue to host annual concerts, participation in Rye’s Memorial Day Parade, a Playland Maintenance Crew appreciation luncheon, annual art show and participation in Rye’s Mistletoe Magic event. 

Tell us about the population you serve and how they can get involved with your programming and services. 

Seitz: FRWS and the Sanctuary serve a membership of 3,000 from all over Westchester County with a plethora of nature programming, monthly meetings and open grounds daily from sunrise to sunset.

Are you a 501(c)(3) non-profit with tax exempt status? 

Seitz: Yes, we are.

(PHOTO: Summer campers at the Edith Read Wildlife Sanctuary.)
(PHOTO: Summer campers at the Edith Read Wildlife Sanctuary.)

Looking back across 2023, what were your organization’s top achievements?

Seitz: Our top achievements in 2023 included a new member card system in conjunction with the new managing entity of Playland, a new website in development, steady programming and constant programming.

How can local residents support your organization?

Seitz: You can support FRWS by becoming a member and by joining our many volunteer work days scheduled throughout the year.

(PHOTO: A Friends of Read Wildlife Sanctuary annual meeting.)
(PHOTO: A Friends of Read Wildlife Sanctuary annual meeting.)

What local Rye residents and area businesses have been the longest, steadiest supporters of your organization? 

Seitz: The Rye Record for sharing our programming, Jerry’s Post Road Market and Rye Country Store for supplying us with food for our events, the Rye Chamber of Commerce, Playland for being a great neighbor, Rye Garden Club and Little Garden Club of Rye for on-site projects at Read.

Tell us about you:

How long have you been in your current role?

Seitz: I have been on the FRWS board for 10 years and served as its President for 6 years.

Is the role full time or part time? Paid or volunteer?

Seitz: The FRWS board serves voluntarily, meeting second Tuesdays each month and participating in our various programs/offerings.

(PHOTO: Friends of Read Wildlife Sanctuary President Jana Seitz and VP Cynthia Howard working on the annual tree decorating.)
(PHOTO: Friends of Read Wildlife Sanctuary President Jana Seitz and VP Cynthia Howard working on the annual tree decorating.)

How would your friends and family describe you in one word?

Seitz: I’m afraid you’d have to ask them.

Pick one:

Seitz:

MyRye.com

Select from:

Your Pick:
Coke or Pepsi? coke
Regular or diet? diet
Action movie or rom com? action
Cook, order in or eat out? Eat out
Dog, cat or no pet? No pet
Balsamic vinaigrette or ranch? ranch
Ruffles Original, Lay’s Barbeque or Funyuns? BBQ
Still, sparkling or tap? sparkling

 

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why, and who would you take with you? 

Seitz: I would go anywhere, anytime with anyone. But if limited to one, it would be Scotland with my family as we have been fortunate enough to live there in North Berwick on two different stints.

What is your favorite movie?

Seitz: “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”

Where do you live in Rye and how many years have you lived in the City? 

Seitz: I live in Indian Village South on Iroquois Street in a house built in the 40s which we remodeled and moved into 10 years ago. Before that we rented on Rye Beach Avenue, Sanford and Intervale, each for a year.

Thanks, Jana!

Organization’s website.

Specific donation link.

Instagram.

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