I was born and raised in New York City and currently live in Bay Shore, on Long Island, New York. I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Syracuse University in 1970. Upon leaving college that year, I took a job with the Social Security Administration where I worked until 1990, first as a Claims Auditor, then as part of the training staff, and for the last ten years was a unit Manager. In 1990, I resigned from Social Security to work full-time with my husband Neal in his Engineering Firm managing the staff and maintaining the books.
Neal and I maintain a fair weather home on Fire Island where I served on the Board of the Community Association for many years. I maintained the community data-base, and bi-annually prepared and distributed a community directory for our community of nearly 400 homes for 15 years. I also worked with fund-raising in that capacity, attended meetings, prepared mailings, and promoted community well-being in a variety of ways – such as building a new and improved children’s play-ground, helping organize disaster clean-up, etc.
As Secretary of the Oasis Sanctuary Board, I am responsible for keeping the minutes of all Board Meetings and Telephone Conferences, participating in fund-raising activities, and in general working to insure the futures of the inhabitants of The Oasis. My husband and I have addressed the Long Island Parrot Society on behalf of the Oasis and had tables at several avian events. We disseminate information both verbally, and by distributing materials whenever possible. We send numerous packages of supplies and toys for the birds. We now own a home approximately 4 miles from The Oasis, spend winter months in Arizona and spend lots of time volunteering and assisting whenever we can.
Neal and I feathered our empty nest with four wonderful beloved cockatoos, Ajax and Phoebe (male and female Moluccans) and Zeus and Circe (male and female Umbrellas), once our youngest child married. Sadly, we lost our Phoebe in March 2006 while we were out working at Oasis. The Oasis in fact, set up a fund to raise funds for a female cockatoo aviary entitled The Phoebe Aviary in her honor and we diligently raised funds to make it happen. It is a wonderful tribute to a most delightful, beloved companion. We have since adopted another female Moluccan, now 15 year old Peaches, who is a delight and a treasure – a welcome addition to our flock. These wonderful creatures bear the responsibility for raising our animal conscience to its current level. We do a great deal of outreach with our Companion Cockatoos, visiting nursing homes, schools, Girl Scout groups, community groups, etc. We like to think we serve as good-will ambassadors for the birds and for all creatures and the environment of this glorious world.
We have traveled extensively and in the past visited castles and cathedrals all over Europe. We now find that the only travel we lust for is to places like Australia, to find the wild parrots and cockatoos, Tambopata, Peru, to see the Scarlet Macaw Project, and to visit the clay licks and see the wild parrots descend, to Indonesia to find the wild cockatoos and parrots, and in general to do nature and eco-
touring. We have visited Australia twice to search out the wild cockatoos and assorted birds and creatures. We have visited Argentina, Ecuador & the Galapagos, Costa Rica, Peru & Indonesia searching for and photographing parrots and assorted indigenous wildlife. Every expectation was truly met, we have had marvelous experiences and took some unbelievable photos.
We first found the Oasis through a link on the internet through which we requested a newsletter. We loved what we learned, joined as members and signed up to sponsor a cockatoo. We then decided to make a physical visit since neither my husband nor I had ever visited Arizona. That was in 2001. Obviously, we were duly impressed, and The Oasis and what it represents quickly became a focal point in our lives. It’s a selfless existence, living out in the very rural High Desert of Arizona, spending long arduous days caring for these wonderful, needy creatures. We have observed tremendous growth over the past years, and are proud to have played a part in it. We find ourselves sponsoring quite a few birds at this point because to meet them is to love them, and we find ourselves wanting so much to be able to do something for those less fortunate than our own, to help ensure their well-being.
Our grandson frequently asks me, “Grandma Pat, who’s your favorite bird at the Sanctuary?”. I have to tell him that I truly don’t have one favorite, I have dozens of favorites. Caesar, the earliest of our sponsor birds, a wonderful, Triton Cockatoo, Ziggy, the footless hybrid Macaw, Ruby, another hybrid Macaw, both of whom fight over me when I visit, Wee Wee, the cuddly Umbrella boy, or Miss Ellie, a one winged Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, or Friday, a magical crippled Yellow Nape Amazon who cheerfully sang “Happy Birthday, Friday, Merry Christmas” from his customized cage, or BJ, a crippled Moluccan Cockatoo, whose spirit amazes me after all he has been through, or his next door neighbor, Ozzie, also a male Moluccan with nearly no feathers, one wing, and the most beautiful majestic head and face and an unbelievable energy and grace. Then again, perhaps it is Peaches, a beautiful, high energy Moluccan Cockatoo whispering to me, “I love you Peach”, or Skippy, the tiny Sulphur Crested Cockatoo asking for “Skippy, Kiss, Kiss??”, or Rainbow, The Scarlet Macaw dancing to my rendition of “The Rainbow Connection”, or Cosmo, a beautiful Moluccan Cockatoo girl, who has no idea that she was born with handicaps and just loves everyone who comes to say hello. And that’s only to name a few. Each has a story, some that could break your heart, yet they’re all still willing to give life a chance. I always wish I had more of me – to give them all the time and love they crave and deserve – and I always leave planning my next visit. So our dream has come to be to see The Oasis become of a World Class Oasis where the birds can have a safe, comfortable environment in which to live out their lives and we hope we can spend many years helping to ensure this for them.