Wendy Hall

Red Fox, "Mama", pastel by Wendy Hall
"Mama", a red fox, pastel by Wendy Hall

<>January 17th, 2022: Monday morning: The snow is falling gently, and my angel is gone. Wendy Hall, co-founder of Adirondack Wildlife Refuge in Wilmington, passed away last night in Home Hospice, at the age of seventy, of an inoperable sarcoma, with me at her bedside. A perennial volunteer, Wendy was a nurse, well known for her dedication to helping people and wildlife. At various times a volunteer ambulance lieutenant, massage therapist, pastel and stained-glass artist, Wendy was best known as a wildlife rehabilitator, who not only helped train aspiring rehabilitators, but also taught many folks about wildlife and their roles in nature.  <>Wendy racked up thousands of travel miles, rescuing, rehabbing and releasing every critter from songbirds to birds of prey, to mammals such as beaver, fishers, fox, coyotes and bears, back to the wild, while taking those critters who could no longer make a living in nature to schools, colleges, retirement homes, etc., to allow observers to see these animals up close, and appreciate how they survive in nature, and how those roles often complement what people are trying to accomplish.  <>

When she wasn’t traveling, Wendy was “on call,” always available, day or night, to pick up a wounded animal or to help out a colleague. She was an inspiration for countless schoolchildren (and their parents) through her educational sessions. Wendy brought people together – environmental activists and writers, artists and neighbors – and fostered collaboration and community. A tireless advocate, she made sure her state legislators were educated on critical environmental issues. Her expertise and passion for her work were evident in everything she did.  <>Wendy is survived by me, her husband Steve, a writer and educator known in the Adirondacks for my educational work with wolves and bears, as well as four grown kids, Dr. Dan Hall, a veterinary cardiologist in South Carolina, Emily Hall, an RN in Minnesota, Jessica Hall, a restaurant manager in New York, and Alex Hall, a medic with the Vermont National Guard, also known for his work with raptors, wolves and bears. Dan, and his wife Magdalena, have two kids, Nathan and Sonya, the former a high school senior being scouted by pro baseball teams. Emily is married to Bharath, a rheumatologist, and they have two grade school kids, Ethan and Mina. Wendy was the youngest of four, with older siblings Connie, Rick and Gary. Wendy’s father, Dr. Kal Berke, a neuropsychologist, died of a similar cancer at the age of 49. 

Wendy was born in the Yankee Stadium area of the Bronx, and lived variously in Riverdale, Dobbs Ferry and finally Hastings-on-Hudson, where she met Steve, a fellow nature lover, with whom she raised her family for 23 years in the Carmel, NY area known as Kent Lakes. After 911, Wendy and Steve, with the kids grown and gone in pursuit of their careers, moved to Wilmington in the Adirondacks, and on those 50 acres near Whiteface Mountain, started Adirondack Holiday, a vacation rental business, as well as the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, which averaged 50,000 visitors a year, eager to learn about wildlife and nature. Wendy will be missed by all who knew her, but her legacy will live on.  In lieu of flowers, please donate to the American Cancer Society in Wendy’s name, to help them beat this disease that has cut short so many lives, or the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge to help continue the work Wendy started. Steve Hall



Bald Eagle Handler by Wendy, Pastel

"The Eagle Man", a pastel Wendy did while training with eagles at the World Bird Sanctuary, south of St. Louis. Roger was a Marine Vietnam Vet.

Eagle Man with an augur buzzard, pastel by Wendy.

Eagle Man with an Augur Buzzard, by Wendy Hall

Bald Eagle by Wendy, pastel

Bald Eagle, by Wendy Hall

Mark Laske with Kiska

Kiska making Mark Work Harder, by Wendy

Shuli holding owl, pastel by Wendy Hall

Shuli meets a snowy owl, by Wendy

Steve Hall with Utah, pastel by Wendy Hall

Steve with Utah, a great horned owl, by Wendy.

Ethan abd Grampy, pastel by Wendy Hall

Grandson Ethan with Grampy (Steve), by Wendy

Shuli in her garden, pastel by Wendy Hall

Shuli in her garden in Virginia, by Wendy

Kayla Hanczyk with wolves, pastel by Wendy Hall

The late Kayla Hanczyk, with Cree and Kiska. Pastel by Wendy. Kayla's family raised the money for the new Kayla Hanczyk Education Center
at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, and built it themselves.

Cree with Alex Hall, pastel by Wendy Hall
Cree greeting Alex, pastel by Wendy.

Cree howling

Cree howling, by Wendy.

Wendy with Luvey, pastel by Wendy Hall

Luvey as a cub with Wendy, pastel by Wendy.

A Lifetime of Yesterdays, Wendy's thoughts as dictated to Diane Buckley, & edited by Wendy's brother, Gary Berke

<>Nov 14, 2021
<>________
<>When I moved to Wilmington in 1999, I had a vision. I traveled to Vermont to take courses in animal rehabilitation, took a test and began to rehab wild animals in 2000. My goal was to rescue, rehab, release and educate. I began to connect nature, climate change and the effects on wildlife. What was wrong with the animals was what was wrong with the environment.

 <>I had many successful releases. Animals that could no longer survive in the wild were used as educational animals. We had ambassador animals like the wolves, who were born in captivity. Eventually we got two bears, ambassador animals, also born in captivity.

<>After over fifteen years of successfully rehabilitating animals and educating people about the perils of our impact on the environment, I made a few careless errors, like putting things off, and did not always follow the rules, but not with any intent to deceive. Sometimes there did not seem to be enough hours in the day to care for animals who had suddenly arrived while fulfilling the demands of the licensing agencies.  It was about caring for the greater good. I could not turn from a suffering animal..  <>

Eventually my mistakes caught up with me, and while I worked hard to try and make amends, it appeared to be too late. My licenses and permits were revoked and I wanted to appeal but the lawyer advised against it. The back and forth between me and one government agency went on for years and caused a lot of stress which made me quite ill and finally resulted in a case of terminal cancer.
  <>

After the animals were rehomed and one bear died in the process, I resigned myself  to dear friends and hospice care. When entering Hospice care, you make the decision that you don't want any more treatment and resign yourself to being as comfortable as possible. The goal was to manage the pain without sacrificing mental acuity.
  <>

Soon after, I received a message from a very fine falconer who asked if I was interested in a non-regulated falcon who had suffered west nile virus and survived with residual blindness. She is a rescue animal with the loveliest disposition as an educational bird. We hang out every day, bringing me hope and inspiration which is not part of my current world now.
 

My old life is gone.

I was dismal and prepared for death until the falcon came along.


<>I have stopped taking morphine or any other hospice drug so I can be more alert and enjoy the falcon, who Steve named Wendy.  <>When I'm gone the falcon will be used for education with good handlers. Although I am sedentary, I am able to enjoy her and do pastels of her.  <>Resignation turned to inspiration because of a falcon. <> 

Dec 14, 2021

"There is alot of life in death"


<>Wendy said while we were walking the house. We stopped at the back door for a breath of air. "I love it here," she said. I'm seeing that Wendy does not know what to do anymore. Nothing is comfortable. She cannot eat. Taking turns with different meds. But so far in between. She tries to go without. It seems she wants to experience every detail while she is waiting to die. I just sit quietly by her side to be there when she needs something. 

Wendy’s Lifetime of Last Days

<>
Central thought: The chest muscles of the bird control the actions of the bird. All comes from the core. As the dying creature weakens, all strength goes to preserve the inner core at the expense of the extremities. The same process occurs in the dying human.


 <>I was gradually releasing myself from life; my incentive for living died when they took my animals away, and then a falconer friend of mine gave me this blind falcon. It was so hard to tell it was blind, we had to constantly remind ourselves. Suddenly my incentive for living was revived and I got the idea of writing a book.  <>The separation of each organ of the body from the soul really happens. One day it is there, and the next, it is missing. It takes a while to accept.
 
 <>The diminishing of function is not a constant trend. Occasionally, function returns, but it doesn’t last. Once I stopped being able to walk on my own, my legs occasionally responded. My brother was taking care of me at the time, and his reaction to this was absurd. Why didn’t I call him to help me… after I was already back in bed. 

<>As we attempt to piece together a vision of life as we leave it, we find ourselves unable to control the aspects of the vision. Our attempt at a complete puzzle diffuses repeatedly. It took a week after my brother’s arrival to concentrate enough to work on this text.  <>All living things are a part of the earth. Shiatsu divides the earth’s elements into water, earth and metal, fire and wood. These find corresponding homes in the body. The forces of corrosion, like the worst storms, eat at the body and suck away its vitality, much like the forces of erosion reduce solid limestone to a honeycomb.  <>After a life of producing color in its richest forms, oh shit! What emerges from me now is an ashen gray.  <>

One thing I would like to leave behind is the concept of true rehab in the proper environment. Animals should not be shuffled from place to place; there should be environments that can be adapted for them. An example of establishing rehab environments is Athena’s cage.
 

We were very concerned because he knew that accipiters were likely to stress out and die in captivity, especially goshawks, and this bird had been close to death on more than one occasion. Knowing that goshawks are deep forest birds with an aggressive attitude toward encroachment, we decided that Athena’s cage should be as close to a deep forest habitat as we could make it, allowing for the limitations of the bird. A bird for whom attempting flight is dangerous cannot be kept in an enclosure big enough to encourage flight, so had to be limited in size, but big enough to satisfy her limited flight capabilities. To allow the nervous bird an environment most like that which she left, the deep forest, we let the space in the enclosure return to its natural state.

 
<>This turned out to be very good for Athena, who thrived, to everyone’s surprise. She even became used to people outside the bars of her enclosure and only died after being moved from the property. We’d had her for nineteen years. Nothing is a more important endorsement of a strategy than the thriving of the bird long term. If she hadn’t been moved, she might still be alive.



Raven with Keith, pastel by Wendy Hall

Keith with Rikki Raven, by Wendy.

Our wolves, pastel by Wendy

Our wolves, Zeebie, Cree and Kiska, pastel by Wendy.

Hanna with eagle, pastel by Wendy Hall

Hanna with Eagle, pastel by Wendy.

Alex with Zeebie

Alex and Zeebie, pastel by Wendy

Wendy'slast pastel: Alex holds Saker Falcon

Wendy with Alex and her Saker falcon, Steve in the background, the last pastel by Wendy, from November of 2021.

Alex carries deceased Cree, pastel by Wendy
Alex carrying Cree, who had died of old age complications, moments before, by Wendy.

Eagles, by Wendy

Eagles, by Wendy

Jonas treating a snowy owl, by Wendy

Jonas working on a snowy owl, by Wendy

Wendy and Emily, by Wendy

Wendy with oldest daughter Emily in 2020, by Wendy

Cree

Cree, a wolf hybrid, pastel by Wendy.

Cree

Cree scent rolling, by Wendy.

American Bittern

Rescued, rehabbed and Released, a bittern is released in the Moose Slough at the Wildlife refuge, pastel by Wendy.

Great Blue Heron  
Great Blue Heron in flight, by Wendy

Juvenile osprey

Juvenile osprey in rehab, pastel by Wendy

Swan
Swan sketch, by Wendy

Stained glass hawk, by Wendy

Stained glass hawk, by Wendy

Wendy with snowy owl

Wendy Hall

Steve's Eulogy for Wendy

Two Seasons

Sitting by the river on a perfectly sunny morning,

Not a cloud in the sky, robins foraging in the grass,

The shrubs, birch and oak trees finally budding.

Whiteface Mountain looms in the distance,

its higher ski runs still bright with snow.

Background concert of crickets and katydids,

Songbirds, peepers and wood frogs.

Mergansers dipping their heads underwater,

grabbing minnows holding position in the current,

An old beaver friend slaps his tail on the surface,

Where the trout rise to catch mayflies.

My local male eagle flies downstream,

looking for intruders, prey or fishing ospreys,

Angrily lectured and pursued by crows,

while the eagle’s mate waits patiently on the nest.

<>Wendy loved to sit by the river and take this all in, 

But my angel died here in hospice in January,

In the middle of the night, her hand in mine,

as the snowflakes drifted down, silencing nature,

an unforgiving but strangely beautiful stage,

for my last moments with the love of my life.

My loneliness is intense, all encompassing,

coloring everything I see and experience,

no one to share the beauty of our solitude with,

remembering the raven, “never more,”

endlessly staring at photos of my Wendy,

so grateful for our time together, but

driving me from my memory flooded home,

visiting friends, sons, daughters and grand kids,

or embarking on my special meditation,

<>looking for bears, moose and wolves. 

Whatever time I have left in this mortal shell,

I will always be grateful for the family Wendy gave us,

Her enthusism for teaching visitors about nature,

and the friends who help guide me through my grief,

and help me cope with the sadness which now envelops me.

Sleep well my angel and save a place in your heart for me!



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Steve & Wendy Hall
Email: ausable_lodge@yahoo.com
Toll Free: 866-235-9655
Phone: 914-772-5983
Phone 2: 518-946-2428
Fax: 518-536-9015
Email us: info@adirondackartists.com