Tags Posts tagged with "Melinda Novak"

Melinda Novak

From left, Patricia Snyder and Melinda Novak. Photo courtesy of LI Game Farm

The Foundation for Wildlife Sustainability, Inc. has announced their launch in partnership with the Long Island Game Farm to engage, educate, and encourage the public to foster an understanding and respect for wildlife, and inspire action to protect wildlife for a healthy ecosystem. 

Founded in February 2023, FWS gained nonprofit status this past October. Helmed by executive director Patricia Snyder, the organization is formally launching cultural, educational, and wellness programming this month, with much more planned for the year, ensuring the longevity of the Manorville game farm.

“The Long Island Game Farm has benefitted so many people and animals over its nearly 55-year history, it’s important to ensure its future,” said Snyder. 

“The mission of the Foundation for Wildlife Sustainability is to connect people with wildlife and the natural environment through awareness activities and engaging experiences that support and complement the work of the game farm. We have programs scheduled for learners of all ages, summer camps, art classes, music classes, and more, as well as the return of the popular Senior Social Club. Volunteer and fundraising opportunities will also be a priority to advance our mission,” she said.

The foundation’s education team includes education coordinator Shannon Swanson, a learning specialist at Peconic Community School, educator James Carey, who has also worked at the game farm since 2021, and educator Jenna Culbertson, a music facilitator at Peconic Community School. Swanson will also serve as director of Camp Zoo, a summer program that introduces and immerses children ages 5 to10 in nature through outdoor exploration, games, crafts, and other educational hands-on activities.

To date, the foundation has coordinated a number of initiatives at the game farm, including the dedication of Woodland Hall in memory of late Sergeant Paul Ferrara, a memorial bench program, volunteer corps program, and an inaugural yearly fundraiser. The foundation also worked with the game farm to secure critical funding through Suffolk County’s JumpSMART Small Business Downtown Investment Program to renovate the game farm amphitheater and create a universal access woodland trail.

“2024 is going to be an exciting year,” said game farm president Melinda Novak. “Having a supporting non-profit is an important step in keeping the game farm sustainable. I’m so happy to see this long-held idea come to fruition.”

The foundation is also preparing to celebrate the Long Island Game Farm’s 55th anniversary in 2025. More information on how the community can get involved will become available in the coming weeks. Learn more at the foundation’s new website at wildlifesustainability.org.

Stanley the Fox. Photo from Long Island Game Farm
New education programs connect kids to nature
As schools are preparing for their first long break of the year, the Long Island Game Farm in Manorville is inviting families and visitors of all ages to spend time at the farm with the animals, like Nala the African serval cat, Stanley the fox, lemurs, goats, and more.
Nala the African serval cat. Photo from the Long Island Game Farm

The game farm is also offering special programming for infants to children age 12 during the break, beginning February 19. Kids can learn how animals prepare for winter, including adaptations, migration, and hibernation; sketch some of the resident animals; and engage in imaginative play using stuffed animals, music, and dance.

These programs will be presented by the Foundation for Wildlife Sustainability, the game farm’s nonprofit arm that aims to connect people with wildlife and the natural environment through awareness activities and engaging experiences.

“We’re thrilled to offer families educational and fun experiences during February break this year,” shares Long Island Game Farm president Melinda Novak. “The Foundation for Wildlife Sustainability’s programming at the game farm encourages children and adults alike to foster an appreciation for nature through engaging experiences. We also have a great education team to lead these programs, so we’re very excited for all to come this year.”

Animals in Winter – Monday, February 19 @ 9 a.m.

In this program for children ages 5 to 7, educator James Carey will discuss how animals prepare for winter using adaptations, migration and/or hibernation. The fee is $35 per child.

Animals in Winter – Monday, February 19 @ 1 p.m.

In this program for children ages 8 to 12, educator James Carey will discuss how animals prepare for winter using adaptations, migration and/or hibernation. The fee is $35 per child.

Sketch the Animals – Wednesday, February 21 @ 10:30 a.m.

Bring your sketch pad and drawing tools to the Long Island Game Farm’s Woodland Hall to see and sketch select resident animals up close. For ages 8 and up. The fee is $25 per person.

Make Music with Ms. Jenna – Friday, February 23 @ 10:30 a.m.

Spark imagination and create music using stuffed animals, song, and dance in this program for children up to age 5. The fee is $20 per child and adult. Each additional child is $10.

Registration is required and can be booked online at longislandgamefarm.com or by calling 631-878-6644.

For those that wish to spend more time at the game farm, attendees to these classes will receive half-off admission for the day of class. The teacher or staff will meet students at the ticket booth.

Long Island Game Farm, 489 Chapman Blvd., Manorville will be open on weekends in February and for winter break from Monday, February 19 through Sunday, February 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All paying guests will receive a free cup of animal food in February. For more information, call 631-88-6644 or visit www.longislandgamefarm.com.


The Long Island Game Farm in Manorville was awarded a $568,000 grant from Suffolk County in December as part of the JumpSMART Small Business Downtown Investment Program, which provides funding to support downtown growth and to help local businesses and institutions to remain economically competitive. 

“I am sincerely grateful for the generous support from Suffolk County and JumpSMART program awarded to the Long Island Game Farm,” shares Melinda Novak, president of the game farm. “This grant will enable us to renovate our amphitheater and develop a universal access trail, which has been a long-time dream for us to be able to share with all members of our community. This expansion coincides with the efforts of our new nonprofit arm, the Foundation for Wildlife Sustainability, as it develops programs in the cultural, educational, and wellness categories. Knowing Suffolk County believes in us gives us great hope for our future aspirations as the Long Island Game Farm continues to grow.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Legislator James Mazzarella, Legislator Nick Caracappa, and Legislator minority leader Jason Richberg visited the game farm on December 15 to present the check to Novak, Foundation for Wildlife Sustainability Tricia Snyder, game farm staff, and even two of the resident goats. Many of those in attendance agreed that the game farm is an iconic piece of Long Island’s history, dating back to 1970, and have fond memories of visiting in their childhood. For more information, visit longislandgamefarm.com or call 631-878-6644. 

For the months of August and September, the Long Island Game Farm will offer a new social club for seniors. Every Tuesday morning from August 1 through September 26, senior citizens (65 years+) can visit the animals, walk the grounds (get your steps in!), attend a presentation in the newly renovated Woodland Hall, and enjoy a beverage and snacks with fellow seniors. 

Long Island Game Farm Wildlife Park and Children’s Zoo was founded in 1970 by Stanley and Diane Novak. As the largest combined children’s zoo and wildlife park on Long Island, they offer families a natural environment where they can learn about wildlife and animals through education and entertainment. A member of American Association of Zookeepers and Zoological Association of America, the farm is located at 489 Chapman Boulevard in Manorville.

“Inspiring a love of nature through educational programming is important to our mission,” shares Long Island Game Farm president Melinda Novak. “Being able to launch a special social club for seniors and utilize the newly renovated Woodland Hall for this purpose is pretty exciting for us. I’m also excited to give the first presentation about life on the game farm, including my family’s 50+ year history.”

Each week guests will begin a walk on the grounds at 10 a.m., visiting animals and learning more about the various species at the game farm. At 11 a.m., seniors will gather in Woodland Hall for talks that will vary weekly. Topics include rescued animals, birding, nature photography, and more.

Tickets are $10 per person and for seniors only. Please do not bring grandchildren. Pets are not allowed. Reservations are strongly encouraged and can be made by calling 631-878-6644. For more information about the game farm and upcoming programming, visit longislandgamefarm.com.