Haute Spot

For Ellen Scarborough Caring is Sharing
By Dawn Watson - May 8, 2019

Approximately 20 years ago, Ellen Scarborough woke up early on Thanksgiving morning to a surprise house guest. 

It wasn’t an unexpected friend or relative, but rather a baby bunny that her cat, Stanley, had caught and brought to her as a gift. Seconds from waking, after the initial shock, she leapt out of bed and prized the baby rabbit from her furry family member’s jaws. 

Thankfully, the small furry creature was stunned but otherwise seemed unharmed. 

Her husband, Chuck, was out skeet shooting that morning. So Ellen was on her own. She did the first thing that she could think of: she ran to get the yellow pages and looked up who she should call concerning wild animal safety. That was her introduction to the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center. 

“They were open. Even though it was a holiday. They said I could bring the bunny to them,” she reported. 

Since then, she’s been a fervent supporter. And this year, once again, she and her Emmy Award-winning NBC anchor husband are set to co-chair the group’s annual Get Wild benefit, which will be held on June 29 at the Southampton home of Joan and Bernard Carl. 

A lifelong animal advocate, Ellen — who currently has two rescue dogs, Emma and Phoebe, and a rescue cat, George — grew up in in the suburbs of Chicago, and fondly remembers her family often visiting a nearby wildlife sanctuary. 

“It was the place where you could go and look at and learn about the animals,” she said. “And it was also the place everyone knew to go if they found a squirrel hit by a car or a rabbit in trouble.”

It was well funded, she continued, sighing. But our local wildlife rescue center here in the Hamptons isn’t quite so fortunate. It operates, she reports, “on a shoestring budget, even though we live in one of the richest places in the country. In the world.”  

Helping to protect animals has long been a passion project for both of the Scarboroughs. She is on the boards of the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, Gimme Shelter and the ASPCA, and he has played emcee for the ASPCA’s Humane Awards for years. Together they have saved and adopted a multitude of beasts, as well as hosted many an event at their Southampton residence, which proudly bears the sign, “It’s not a home if a dog isn’t on the sofa.” 

The couple enjoys the natural side of the Hamptons, such as riding bikes, visiting nature preserves and taking the dogs for visits to the ocean and to Munn Point. “We’ve got one who loves the tall grass and the bay and one who is a swimmer,” she says. “I’m very grateful for what we have here.” 

But having access to such beauty should carry some accountability, she says. And that’s why it’s important to get the word out about the Wildlife Rescue Center.

“Everybody loves their pets. And they generally show up to those fundraisers. But we also have a responsibility, as a civilization, to take care of these animals that are living out here with us,” she adds. “So come visit and learn about what these good people do. Donate. Spend time there. And bring your kids. Because we need the next generations to develop a love, appreciation and respect for these beautiful creatures that we are so blessed to share the world with and who are all around us.” 

The 13h annual Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center’s Get Wild Benefit will be held on June 29 in Southampton.

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