Summer Star Wildlife Sanctuary ® Presents

The Mark Pokras Lecture Series

William Lynn with Atka – Photo by J. Henry Fair

Summer Star Wildlife Sanctuary ® Presents Two Lectures:

Parable of the Wolf: Deep Compassion, Deep Rewilding
with William Lynn, PhD

Research Scientist, George Perkins Marsh Institute at Clark University

Wildlife Trafficking: A Student’s Exposure to an International Threat
with Chelsea M. Van Thof

2019 DVM Candidate, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University


Saturday, APRIL 21, 2017
2:00 PM

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


Lecture Descriptions:

Parable of the Wolf: Deep Compassion, Deep Rewilding

The parable of the wolf is rooted in the legend of St. Francis of Assisi and the Wolf of Gubbio.

The parable relates how the people of the medieval town of Gubbio, felt terrorized by a wolf and pleaded with St. Francis to intercede on their behalf. After hearing the people’s story, St. Francis paid a visit to the wolf. The wolf told St. Francis that the town had eliminated all its food sources, and he was thereby compelled to prey on humans and their livestock. Instead of smiting the wolf, St. Francis resolved the conflict by convincing the town to make food available to him. Thereafter, the wolf became a favored visitor and protector of the town, and was greatly mourned upon his death.

St. Francis’ negotiation of an agreement of mutual respect between the people of Gubbio and the wolf is a moral vision of coexistence between people, animals, and nature. What the legend of St. Francis and the wolf helps us understand is that living with wildlife is primarily a matter of ethics and spirituality. It is about a felt sense of connection with the broader community of life, a deep respect for animals as individuals, the companion moral obligation to do right by the other creatures, and the will to act on those obligations.

The survival of wolves, wildlife, and wildlands into the 21st century will depend on such an ethic becoming core to our culture, politics, and public policies.

Wildlife Trafficking: A Student’s Exposure to an International Threat

An outline and exploration into the complicated illegal trade trafficking based on the experiences of a traveling veterinary student.

Chelsea goes for a walk with the captive cheetah, Sylvester, in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Sylvester was rescued as a kid after his mother and siblings were killed by poachers.

Speaker Biographies:

William S. Lynn, PhD

Bill is a research scientist at George Perkins Marsh Institute, Clark University, a research fellow at New Knowledge Organization Ltd, and serves as an ethics consultant helping civil society and governments make better policy decisions.

Bill’s lifelong work has focused on the ethics and politics of sustainability with an emphasis on compassionate conservation and rewilding. Trained in ethics, geography, and political theory, Bill has a dynamic interdisciplinary approach to his over 60 publications that address how we make sustainability both scientifically and ethically sound. Some of the ethical issues he has addressed include intergenerational equity, precaution, global sustainability, urban wildlife management, wolf recovery, outdoor cats and biodiversity, barred and northern spotted owls, and the Canadian seal hunt.

As an ethics consultant, Bill explores the moral obligations of sustainability, not only by advising on policy decisions, but by providing expert opinions, research briefs, meeting design/facilitation, ethics messaging and marketing, and keynotes on ethics with respect to organizational leadership, mission, and programming.

Prior to Clark he was a professor at Green Mountain College, Tufts University, and Williams College, where he taught courses in animal studies, environmental studies, ethics, human geography, qualitative research, and public policy.

For more on his work, see www.williamlynn.net.

Chelsea M. Van Thof

Chelsea examines a puppy at Tufts @ Tech, a community veterinary clinic run by students and veterinarians at Worcester Technical High School.

Chelsea Van Thof is entering her clinical year at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. She has spent her summer vacations traveling internationally to conduct research in various countries in Asia, with projects ranging from investigating Simian retrovirus in Formosan macaques to the prevalence of subclinical mastitis in chevon goats. She is also active within IVSA and is a member of the organization’s Working Group on Policies. Chelsea hopes to work internationally in wildlife conservation and global health as a veterinarian. In her spare time, she is forever attempting to finish her manuscript, build her website, and explore the world.

Dear Al Hamra Academy students and MASSWildlife Education coordinators,

“Old Tree” by Brenda Cirioni

Each and every inch of Summer Star’s land welcomes your spring arrival for the Environmental Education program.

We are looking forward to learning with you about nature and having a good time together.

During the month of March in our Lendon Street Gallery there will also be a fantastic new solo show by artist Brenda Cirioni.

Summer Star team
Summer Star Wildlife Sanctuary
Boylston, MA


Spring Hours will begin on March 25, 2017.

Trails and parking lot: dawn-dusk, Saturday-Tuesday.

Trailhead House: 11am-3pm, Saturday-Tuesday. 11am-5pm on Sunday.

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…!

    Liked by 1 person

    • 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.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 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.

        Liked by 1 person

  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.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 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.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 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.

    Liked by 1 person

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