At Liberty Wildlife one of the objectives of our education efforts is to encourage our “students” of all ages to embrace nature. Sure it is important to teach the natural history of our native animals, to show how it all fits together, to emphasize how each one of us can help keep our wildlife natural resource safe and viable….but all of this is moot if the natural world is an alien being to be feared and vacant from. We must teach engagement in and with nature.
In general, gone are the days of kids blasting to the outside as soon as the school day is over. If there is play it is usually organized in the form of sports and there is nothing wrong with that. But, what about the days of discovery when turning over rocks revealed the coolest critters….when climbing the tree in the wash gave you a bird’s eye view of everything below, allowing you to secret yourself and be the observer of all things wild. Do kids do that anymore?
I am the last person to rag on electronics, but I have become more and more aware of the sad state of affairs when all we see of our natural world is on a screen. Are we going to turn into visual giants at the expense of all of our other senses? No matter how good the visuals are you just can’t imagine the feeling of stepping on soft, squeeshy leaf litter on a forested trail. You can’t experience the feeling of mountain air settling on your shoulders as you hike or explore a high country canyon. And, what about the subtleties of listening to the quiet trying to pick out the sounds of unseen animals, of leaves blowing in the whispering breeze, of the scent of pine or even creosote after a summer rain….It is just a different experience.
I see nothing wrong with all of the knowledge that we know about the oceans and rain forest…information is good no matter what. But, when we know more about faraway lands than we do of our own backyards, then somewhere we are failing.
We must tantalize our young audience into craving firsthand the experience of what is going on around them. It is an objective of our education program to awaken adults into wanting to be a part of this process. This is not a preachy thing….I promise, but it comes from my total enthusiasm for finding a balance. I, too, fell prey to the big screen tv finally after no one would watch tv with my on my woeful 17 inch screen. But no matter how big the screen is, it just doesn’t take the place of the out of doors experience. Get outside and see for yourself!
I thrill at seeing a snake in the yard, the finches fledging from their very hidden nest, the night hawks’ ballet performance, the bats cleaning the air of mosquitoes or pollinating the cactus and every other natural event that occurs just outside the realm of the big screen tv’s grip.
This Week at Liberty
The intake total is now up to 2764.
As I promised, this will be the “Release Special” edition of TW@L. As the summer wears on, more and more animals get to make the big return trip to their world, and sometimes people send me photos and/or videos of the happy moments. Most of the time, the lead-up to the release takes way longer than the actual moment of freedom, but hey, the people and the animals all seem to enjoy it! This is what the volunteers and staff at Liberty live for… (Thanks to all volunteers etc. who contributed graphics!)
OK, so it’s NOT a release…YET. This call came in to means I referred it to Craig who went out and effected the actual rescue. He said the bird was sitting on the ground under the tree, being picked on by some grackles in the area. I then brought the bird up to Liberty and treatment began. Lesley and Carol did true initial assessment which indicated some tissue damage, but no obvious breaks. The prognosis is good at this time.
We have been releasing lots of the orphan GHOs recently, and volunteer Terris got this picture of her friend Sandi performing the launch with this lucky bird. (It’s very difficult to get great photos in the dark, which is when GHOs get to go free!)
Our own Mark Kroeppler took lots of juvenile herons all the way out to Tres Rios recently to be released in a great habitat. Mark took these shots of the birds in the carrier on their way to their new life, and the last shot shows what a great place he chose for the release! Live long and prosper, little birds!
Release video 1
Some folks camping up on a lake on the rim frequently found a great blue heron that was involved with some fishing line and equipment. They contained the bird and relayed him down to the are where John Glitsos took over and brought him to Liberty. The people had already removed the line and the hook, but the line had caused some damage to his head while still attached. The Med Services team patched him up and put him on medication as he healed in the large run on the north side. When he was ready to go, Dale (the man in the video) picked him up and took him back for this wonderful release.
Release video 2
Several months ago, this golden eagle was relayed to Liberty from up north. Another victim of lead poisoning, the bird was initially treated by Dr. Orr’s daughter Kristine, who is also a vet near Flagstaff. The bird then made it’s way to Liberty for further treatment and rehabilitation. When it was healthy once again, the mother=daughter vet team took the bird back to an appropriate site and released it, taking this video as the bird went free!
We’ll have more releases as the season progresses. Thanks to all who contributed their time and graphic talents to the process!!