Emily DeVries Stettner receives the Wildlife Watch Humane Award

Thirteen-year-old Emily DeVries Stettner is presented with the Wildlife Watch Humane Award by Wildlife Watch Director Anne Muller, New Paltz Town Supervisor Susan Zimet was also on hand to congratulate her. Emily holds the piece of string which was wrapped around a red-breasted robin’s leg, which caused it to be trapped and dangling for hours from the evergreen pictured here. Emily made a daring rescue which freed the robin and enabled it to fly away. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

The Wildlife Watch Humane Award was presented to Emily DeVries Stettner last week for her extraordinary efforts to help a wild animal in distress. Wildlife Watch is a New Paltz-based national wildlife protection organization. One of the most dramatic rescues of a wild animal came following a call that a bird had been “stuck in a tree, dangling upside down, about 20 feet up for at least six hours.” Shortly after providing numbers of people to help get the bird down, a call back said that a young neighbor was able to release the bird. Heidi Stettner and her daughter had arrived at the scene and brought with them a step ladder and a bunk bed ladder with hooks. Heidi stood at the top of the step ladder and hung the bunk bed ladder from the highest branch she could reach. Emily climbed up her mother, stood on her shoulders, grabbed the bunk bed ladder, climbed up to that branch and then climbed up to the higher branches and shimmied out to where the bird was dangling upside down from a string. She was then able to cut the string. Her mother was below to catch the bird should it have dropped, but to everyone’s delight, the bird flew off immediately. Emily then removed the remaining string to prevent it from catching another bird.