Summer Star Wildlife Sanctuary ® Presents

The Mark Pokras Lecture Series

Sunday, October 21, 2018
2:00 PM

Trailhead House, Linden Street Gallery
Summer Star Wildlife Sanctuary
690 Linden Street
Boylston, MA 01505

** Seating is limited. Please register by emailing info@summerstarwildlife.org **

Summer Star Wildlife Sanctuary ® Presents Two Lectures:

Helping Wild Horses Stay Wild on a Human-Dominated Landscape
with Allen Rutberg, PhD

Director of the Center for Animals and Public Policy (CAPP) at Tufts University

Making the Journey from Wild to Tame: What Makes Some Wild Horses More Adoptable?
with Aubrey Specht

Senior at Tufts University studying Biochemistry and Architectural Studies

Lecture Descriptions:

Helping Wild Horses Stay Wild on a Human-Dominated Landscape

Free-roaming horses occupy a gray zone between the wild and the domestic, and we struggle to categorize them. Free of the conditions of domestication, their behavior and life history follow their ancestors’ ancient patterns of life and death. Yet their history of association with and service to humanity leaves us with a compelling sense of responsibility for their well being, colored in some by a sense that the needs of horses must remain subservient to those of humans. From these underlying contradictions arises a complex set of cultural and political conflicts that pit ranchers and conservationists against horse advocates, and horse advocates against each other. Dr. Rutberg will discuss how thoughtful application of non-invasive fertility control technologies can create a middle ground that allows wild horses to live out (almost) natural lives on the range while easing the concerns of ranchers and others who perceive wild horses as threats to their livelihoods and the landscape.

Making the Journey from Wild to Tame: What Makes Some Wild Horses More Adoptable?

This summer Aubrey and Dr. Rutberg conducted a study on wild horses being trained and adopted in the Northeast, focusing on what variables make a wild horse more accepting of domestication. Is it the time they spent in the wild? Is it the particular herd they came for? Or is it even more individualized, with each horse learning differently?

Speaker Biographies:

Allen Rutberg, PhD

Dr. Allen Rutberg is Director of the Center for Animals and Public Policy (CAPP) and research associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. Trained as a behavioral ecologist, he earned his Ph.D. in zoology at the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1984, and carried out a series of field studies on behavior and reproduction in American bison and wild horses. After seven years of teaching undergraduate biology at Vassar College and elsewhere, Dr. Rutberg joined The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) as senior scientist for wildlife and habitat protection, where he served from 1991 to 2000. While at The HSUS, he acted as a public advocate for the protection of wild horses, endangered species, and urban wildlife, especially white-tailed deer, and served a two-year term on the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board (1998-2000). At HSUS he also initiated field studies of immunocontraceptive vaccines for the non-lethal control of deer and wild horse populations, which he has continued at since joining the Cummings School faculty in 2000. He is the author or co-author of two dozen papers and book chapters on the use of immunocontraception in deer and wild horse populations, and edited the 2005 book, Humane Wildlife Solutions: the role of immunocontraception, published by HSUS Press.

As director of CAPP’s M.S. degree program in Animals and Public Policy, Dr. Rutberg nurtures and guides student research projects related to human-wildlife relationships. One such student effort has broadened into a research collaboration focusing on how wild horses removed from the range successfully transition from their wild state and establish mutually rewarding partnerships with their adopters.

Aubrey Specht

Aubrey Specht is a senior at Tufts University studying Biochemistry and Architectural Studies. After college she is attending Tufts Veterinary School and has a special interest in American wild horse welfare and policies.

Summer Star Wildlife Sanctuary ®


Music in the Woods
with the Verona Quartet

Jonathan Ong,  violin
Dorothy Ro, violin
Abigail Rojansky, viola
Jonathan Dormand, cello

“An outstanding ensemble”  – The New York Times

String Quartet Op. 135  Ludwig van Beethoven

Star-Crossed Signals  -Delta X-Ray -Kilo Kilo  Julia Adolphe
2018 World Premiere, commissioned by Caramoor

String Quartet No. 2 “Intimate Letters”  Janacek

As of 10/19, we have reached capacity inside the Tree Room for this Event.

Additional guests are welcome to walk the trails, or listen to the music from our South Deck, if weather allows!

Sunday, November 4th, 2018
2:00 PM

Tree Room, Trailhead House
Summer Star Wildlife Sanctuary
690 Linden Street
Boylston, MA

**Attendees must be sixteen or older**


Summer Star Wildlife Sanctuary®


Joyce McJilton Dwyer
in the Outdoors

Opening Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Ending January 15, 2019

Linden street gallery

Summer Star Wildlife Sanctuary
690 Linden Street
Boylston, MA 01505


Photo by Liam Hart
Scenes from the New Year at Summer Star. Photo by Liam Hart
Photo by Jesse Koyen
Photo by Jesse Koyen

Mission:  This forty-five acres of natural land is home to plants, streams, glacial boulders, and wild animals large and small. It is our mission to protect and care for wildlife habitats, trails, forests, streams, and wetlands.

The sanctuary is a place of tranquility and self-reflection.  It loves rocks, trees, and birds.  In that loving, we find nourishment for our spirits and our souls.

Summer Star is open to the public free of charge.  Please enjoy the beauty of nature, and in return kindly pay respect to all wildlife who have been keeping this land safe and peaceful for generations! Our goal is to bring new experiences and discoveries of the wonders of local wildlife and the joyful spirit of nurturing forestland to underprivileged children, senior citizens, and to all families in the community.

The sanctuary organizes a variety of events and projects to promote public awareness of science, nature, wildlife, and the environment, and aids in animal rescue and release in collaboration with Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine.  Throughout the year, the sanctuary also hosts various courses, lectures, conferences, and artistic and cultural events.



  1. Contiguous to Summer Star are hundreds of more acres of woodland – expanding and enhancing the area for wildlife free from commercial development forever…!

    • The long, narrow 45 acre parcel that Summer Star is located on was slated for a 40 house 40b development. Not only would that have totally destroyed the ecological wonders of the 45 acre parcel, but, even worse, the long parcel intrudes into the heart of one of the last, largest undisturbed areas in this part of Massachusetts; a true wilderness area.

      Summer Star not only rescued the 45 acres of wildlife habitat but also preserved the wilderness qualities of the large Wrack Meadow area. The frosting on the cake is Summer Star itself. All activities and events at Summer Star foster and strengthen an environmental ethic.

      I have attended a number of events there and am in 20 minutes headed there for a tracking seminar.

      • Shalin Liu is one who had a vision of what needs to be done to preserve the past in order to educate the future. That tie-in to surrounding parcels is now as permanent or as permanent as a mere human can make it.

  2. Congratulations Summer Star, for being awarded the U.S. Green Building Council’s Massachusetts Chapter Project of the Year 2015. It is so well deserved for this beautiful, restorative place.

  3. We visited the sanctuary a few weeks back, and absolutely loved it. It is tranquil and the boys loved the Hobbit-feel of the woods.

  4. Walked the trail with Dan this morning and it was amazing and so interesting. Mike and Liam also made the morning so enjoyable. Thanks for the opportunity to be with nature so close to home and with people who are so interested in the area.

  5. I visited your amazing facility today with some fellow seniors. I am soooo impressed with what you have done. Thank you for making this such a comfortable place ot enjoy nature & the environment right in our neighborhood. Hopefully I will be able to visit often & bring my friends.

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