Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – June 18, 2018
How about some happy campers? We have just finished our first summer camp experience at our new campus. What a great success!
For me, I loved working in my office to the sounds of giggling, euphoric, and excited voices. It just sounded like fun.
Assisted by our Intern, Ron, who with the help of Rachel and, Audree led the campers through the days’ activities. Thanks to Niki for her help in organizing lessons. Doris, Cece, John, Sandi and Cecile from our intrepid education team pitched in and brought their expertise to share. Each day had a basic theme. Each theme had a scientific, creative, environmental lesson woven into it.
Some of the topics included our “trash talk” informing about the things we as humans do that can harm the planet…and of course, what we can do to change that. Of course, The Lorax figured in here. The campers participated in part of the “soft release” of ducks, which was finalized at the end of the week. They toured the interpretive trail, hospital and interactive room. Behavioral enrichment items were prepared for the coatimundi and placed in his enclosure for his entertainment. Susan from the Arizona Animal Welfare League brought a hedgehog and a hissing roach for the campers to interact with…not native but definitely interesting.
Some of the activities provided opportunities for campers to better understand the adaptations that wildlife has “assumed” in order to make it successfully in the world. The bird beak activity allowed the competitive teams to get a ‘feeling’ for how each bird’s beak has adapted to the food that they evolved to consume. Campers enjoyed a little bit of orphan animal care taking and spent exciting time with the reptiles in the Interactive Room. Binocular activities are always a big hit, and each kid “glassed” flora and fauna in the desert as they returned from releasing the rehabilitated ducklings. A lesson on owls and owl pellets dissection capped off a paper making class using recycled paper materials. And, let’s not forget the inclusion of the importance of pollinators in our environment. An up-lose viewing of an eagle feeding and the introduction of owls enriched the wildlife viewing part of the week.
Another highlight of the week was the addition of a drawing lesson provided by Anne, our resident artist. ? The lesson produced drawings by each camper, which they added to their special take home treasure…individual nature journals. So, what nature journal is complete without drawings? Earlier in the week, each student created a cover for their journals and each camper included all of their activities and creations as a memory from camp. The journals were very impressive and seemed to be treasured by each participant. They added photos taken by Barb, ready for framing or for inclusion in their own Nature Journal.
This seemed to me…looking in from the outside…to be a congenial group of campers who not only learned a great deal, but enjoyed the “doing” of it. I miss the giggles and sounds of awe that echoed throughout the lobby as they came and went. I look forward to next year’s summer camp. Thanks especially to Laura who made it all happen….and to Carol for her expertise.
This Week @ Liberty – June 18, 2018
Do the math: we have taken in over 1,000 animals in the last two weeks. And it’s just passed the half-way point in June. It’s shaping up to be another record year in terms total intakes and we have yet to truly enter the monsoon. In all that, we are still providing public hours three days a week, plus the summer camp we held last week, plus gearing up for a new educational attraction, plus planning for Wing Beats and Wishes for Wildlife. We saw one more bald eagle get returned to the wild, we’re knee deep in Cooper’s hawks, and we still get to see a colorful migrant stop in now and then. Add to this building some new enclosures and it’s been a busy couple of weeks for Liberty Wildlife!
The latest baby bald eagle that came in recently was only here for a few days as he presented no real trauma, just an early departure from the nest. This is the best case scenario for anything that shows up at our door (window?) to only need to hang around for a day or two, get fed some great food, get hydrated, and then be taken back where it was found and returned to the world with every advantage! When Kyle come and took the latest baby back home last week, that made something like 102 bald eagles Liberty has released back to the skies of Arizona over the years!
We seem to get species in according to some cosmic order. Early in the spring, it’s grackles, then mourning doves, then mockingbirds, humming birds, white wings, and someplace along the line, we start getting Cooper’s hawks – by the bunch! Two weeks ago it began and it is still raining Cooper’s out there. Even I went out to do a rescue, ostensibly looking for a baby eagle, which, naturally turned out to be a baby Cooper’s. They are cute, but maybe not so much to the other birds that will be their prey in a couple of months…
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OK, so not only did we get in another western tanager last week, but one morning a cedar waxwing showed up. These birds are beautiful but somewhat uncommon own our area so finding one is a rare treat – at least for us (maybe not so much for the bird!) In any case, it’s interesting to get to see one up close and get a look at all the cool identifying marks of this sleek beauty!
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The first edition of Liberty Wildlife summer camp was held last week and it went very well! The young people who attended spent several hours each day learning about wildlife, sustainability, and the environment in which we all live. They got to do hands on projects and really seemed to enjoy what they were learning while they learned it!
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A new addition to the Public Hours programs offered by Liberty Wildlife was “Story Time.” In this program, one of our dedicated volunteers reads a book dealing with wildlife to the kids, illustrated with various puppets. Then, more volunteers bring out some of our education ambassador animals to further enhance the face-to-face wildlife experience. Last week, after reading the book I was adopted by an owl, two real owls were presented to the kids who really seemed captivated by the experience.
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Just a few photographs of things that happened last week…
A landscaper cut a branch on a bush nearby and then noticed two tiny hummingbirds in a nest attached to the branch. She brought the entire branch to us where Orphan Care took over and began to care for the babies.
One of our educational desert tortoises, Alpo (so named because he was attacked and chewed by a dog) recently underwent surgery to remove a large bladder stone. He developed some complications under the patch on his shell which was repaired by Dan Scrivener this week.
We have several orphan squirrels being cared for in the bunny room and Alex sent me a picture of a couple of them displaying their overstuffed bellies in their enclosure.
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Some new enclosures are going up on the east side. The new structures are being built to house specific species and specific animals (including John and Balinda’s trained birds).
Look for a new format in the TW@L notification e-mail coming soon!
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Posted by Terry Stevens