In Loving Memory of Sharon Zahrfeld

By Tina Patterson

After his wife Sharon passed away, long-time member and volunteer Ted Zahrfeld approached MNA about renaming a sanctuary in her honor. In January, the Save-It-Creek Nature Sanctuary was officially renamed the Sharon Zahrfeld Memorial Nature Sanctuary. Located in Linden near the Zahrfeld home, this 35.5 acre sanctuary is a tribute to his wife of 49 years.

Ted Zahrfeld pointing to Sharon's sanctuary. Photo: Tina Patterson

A woman of many talents, Sharon was an accomplished fisher woman, liturgical environmental artist, and a fiber artist who once owned her own art gallery. Raised in east Detroit, she was working in a library where Ted first met her. During their 49 years of marriage, they raised one son and enjoyed living near their four grandsons.

Sharon inspired others as she was inspired by her father to appreciate the natural world. In addition to being a volunteer for MNA, she was a member of the Hartland Audubon Society and the Organization for Bat Conservation at the Cranbrook Institute of Science. One of her favorite activities was going to the U.P. to view bats coming out of old mine caverns at Iron Mountain.

Sharon was a woman who could call the chickadees and they would sing back to her. As Ted says, “she taught us to be caregivers of all creatures great and small.”  Greatly missed by her family, church community, and all who had the pleasure of knowing her, we thank Ted for his generous donation to MNA and the living tribute to a vibrant and beautiful woman.

In honor of Sharon, a rededication ceremony is set to take place on May 5. MNA also has a volunteer day coming up in the sanctuary on Friday, March 2 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Participants will be removing autumn olive and other invasive species. Please visit MNA’s website for more information.

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