Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers 10/18/2010

Once again, it is bragging time. On Saturday a small band of Liberty Wildlife folks headed to the Verde Valley for some educational time at the Verde Canyon Railroad. Joe and Jan Miller with Sonora, the bald eagle in tow, made sure everyone at the event were informed about Arizona’s bald eagles, the Bald Eagle Nest watch Program (that monitors the eagles in the canyon and around the state for AZ Game and Fish), and Liberty Wildlife’s big interest and assistance in both areas.

It was enough to bring tears to my eyes or at least a lump in my throat (really both), and here are several reasons that make me react so strongly. First of all, Joe and Jan are just good…informed, dedicated, and great with people. Their talents with birds is clearly obvious as demonstrated by the coolness of Sonora through it all.

Second, you would think that after over 25 years of doing and seeing programs I would be inured to the excitement of the crowd. But no, the unfiltered delight seen in the children’s faces, eyes that were popping out huge, smiles that showed missing front teeth, uncontrolled squeals…I just don’t tire of it. But, the kids weren’t the total of it. There were also tattooed ladies, grannies with cameras, people in wheel chairs, young newlyweds and everything in between who vied to have their pictures taken with a bald eagle in the background. Through it all Joe and Sonora were patient and available…both of them. We did have cause to laugh imagining how many fireplace mantels, photo albums and wedding books in the U.S. have snapshots with Joe Miller’s little mug and an eagle ….Joe Miller and the eagle gone viral! It is just too fun to imagine!!!

The questions, although repetitive from group to group, were thoughtfully and respectively asked and thoughtfully and respectively answered each time. No one walked away disinterested and everyone stayed through the entire 30 minutes allotted for their group. Even towards the end of what was about a total 6 hour gig, Joe and Jan never slighted one visitor….everyone got full attention!

And, lest you think I didn’t notice, the train was a blast. It travels seamlessly through some of the most beautiful country on this planet. The amount of information that I learned on the four hour trip only made me more and more desirous of spending more and more quality time in the area and on the train. But, that is a subject for another blog on another day. Today is all about feeling proud of Liberty Wildlife and its animals and people.

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