Sunday, December 26, 2010

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers 12/27/2010

Photo by Deb Vath

I gave up on making New Year’s resolutions years ago. It just didn’t work out too well for me. Instead I look for things to give me hope in the coming year. This is one that I found recently. First of all, it is one of my favorite photos of the year. It kind of says it all. Pictured above are Liberty Wildlife Educator Anne Peyton and Libby, our educational bald eagle who are shown with Arianna Martinez of Tucson’s Sunnyside-Audubon Student Urban Naturalist Club and her brother, Angel. Doesn’t it look like everyone is having fun, even Libby? Here’s the scoop.

Anne Peyton and Craig Fischer of our Education group drove down to Tucson to provide a program for the Tucson Audubon Society in November. We make this trip at least once a year, and it is always a big hit. But this year we learned something too. Prior to the Liberty Wildlife presentation Arianna Martinez gave a power point report on what the Sunnyside-Audubon Urban Naturalist Club was all about. This poised, intelligent young lady speaking to a group of adults wowed the assemblage with information about some of the Club’s activities. According to Arianna, it is a group of middle school students who explore birds, habitat and the local environment. Their sponsor, Deborah Vath, says that they meet once a week after school to bird, participate in hands on nature activities and share their knowledge with the youth in their community. They have created the Sweetwater Wetlands Family Outings where families are encouraged to bring children, check out binoculars, local field guides and backpacks full of fun birding activities. How much easier does it get? How great for a family outing!

These students also mentor younger students with age appropriate displays and activities, have planted demonstration bird and butterfly gardens, helped a local rehabilitation group, will host a National Day of Service on Martin Luther King Day, educate the community about environmental issues in the area and work to clean up environmentally challenged areas.

They have won awards, been awarded well deserved grants, and best of all have made enjoying the out of doors, learning about their surroundings and having a positive impact on it…a cool thing to do! Look at the smiling, energetic faces. It makes me want to go along. This is our future and that gives me great hope.

Happy New Year to all of you, and I wish each of you many reasons to find hope.

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