Monday, February 7, 2011

Just for fun . . . which IS allowed . . . even on Mondays . . .

Martha note:  I've known Randy Huwa, executive vice president of the Wildlife Center of Virginia, for ten happy years. Our friendship began when he worked as P.R. director for Montpelier; progressed through his time working at WMRA, and has remained firm (though sadly with much less contact) when he moved to the Wildlife Center. 
He's also been a WMRA Community member (as a listener and supporter) for as long as I've known him. Randy Huwa, in other words, knows both me and public radio. So, he knew I'd enjoy this news from the Wildlife Center . . . and would think you might enjoy it as well. 
So , please, help the Virginia Wildlife Center of Virginia name their new and educational Red-tailed Hawk! 

What's my name?
"The polls are now open in the Wildlife Center of Virginia’s campaign to name a Red-tailed Hawk – a non-releasable hawk that will soon be visiting schools as one of the Center’s environmental ambassadors. The Center is taking on-line votes in this “Name-the-Hawk” contest through Monday, February 21, and everyone is encouraged to participate. Please vote here

"In January, the Wildlife Center, a leading teaching and research wildlife hospital located in Waynesboro, contacted 39 area elementary schools to ask students to provide suggestions for a name for the Red-tailed Hawk [the schools are in Augusta and Rockingham Counties and in Harrisonburg, Staunton, and Waynesboro]. Students from 21 schools suggested more than 170 names, and five were chosen for the contest:
• Cherry Tail, suggested by Samantha Glick, a third-grader in Mrs. Rainey’s class at McSwain Elementary in Staunton. “A cherry on the stem reminded me of the hawk’s one eye. That’s what made me think of Cherry Tail.”

• Phoenix, suggested by Mrs. Fulk’s fourth-grade class at Peak View Elementary [Penn Laird]. “We thought of Harry Potter and Professor Dumbledore’s pet bird that rose from the ashes and saves people in need."
• Poppy, suggested by Andrew Winfield, a fourth-grader in Mrs. Heizer’s class in Stuarts Draft Elementary. “Because poppies are red and she is a red-tailed hawk.”
• Ruby¸ suggested by Mrs. Phelps’ first-grade class at South River Elementary [Grottoes]. “We are currently studying Ruby Bridges. The kids thought since Ruby was a brave girl who fought to have a better life and since rubies are red, this would be a good name for a female red-tailed-hawk who also fought for her life.”
• Twizzler, suggested by Vinny Leo, a fourth-grader in Mrs. Quick’s class at Hugh K. Cassell Elementary [Waynesboro]. “Vinny’s idea is that Twizzlers are red, like the Hawk’s tail.”

"In addition to bragging rights, the school that suggested the winning name will receive a special visit from the hawk and Center staff. [In the case of multiple entries, the first school to suggest a name is the official nominator.]

The Hawk’s Story
"The hawk was hit by a car in Dayton, Virginia in February 2010, and admitted as a patient to the Wildlife Center – one of 45 Red-tailed Hawks treated at the Center during 2010. Upon admission, the Center’s veterinary team found a fracture in her left wing as well as severe trauma to her right eye. While her wing healed, her eye had to be surgically removed. With limited vision, the bird cannot see well enough to be released into the wild. Since May 2010, Center staff have been working with the hawk to determine her suitability as an education ambassador – a bird that would accompany Center staff on trips to schools, county fairs, and other public events.

"At the Wildlife Center, patients are assigned numbers, but education animals [permanent residents] are given names.

"'Our education animals help students better understand our state’s wildlife and the steps each of us can take to protect wildlife and the environment,' Amanda Nicholson, the Center’s Director of Outreach, said. 'It’s such a treat for students to get to see a hawk or an owl or an opossum up close. We’re delighted that area students and the general public will help us name this hawk, who will become another special "teacher" at the Wildlife Center.'"

The Center’s Education Animals
Gustavo, a Barred Owl
"The newly named hawk will join about two dozen hawks, owls, eagles, falcons, turtles, and snakes that are part of the Center’s corps of education animals [permanent residents that, because of injuries or behavioral modifications, cannot be released back to the wild].

"This is the first time that the Center has formally involved the public in naming an education animal. Other sources of names have included:
• Physical characteristics: Scarlette, Red-tailed Hawk;
• Species characteristics: Kettler, Broad-winged Hawk [these hawks migrate in huge flocks, called “kettles”];
• Former staff members: Quinn, Great Horned Owl;
• Center volunteers: Peg, Virginia Opossum;
• Literary characters: Severus, Eastern Ratsnake; and
• Famous actors: Edie, Falco sparverius, or American Kestrel.

"Additional information about these and other education animals is available here. 

The Wildlife Center of Virginia
"Every year, more than 2,000 animals – ranging from Bald Eagles to opossums to turtles – are brought to the Wildlife Center for care. Since its founding in 1982, the nonprofit Center has cared for more than 56,000 wild animals, representing 200 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.

a patient
 "The Center’s public education programs share insights gained through the care of injured and orphaned wild animals, in hopes of reducing human damage to wildlife. The Center trains veterinary and conservation professionals from all over the world and is actively involved in comprehensive wildlife health studies and the surveillance of emerging diseases."

Martha note #2: Fun, right?

1 comment:

  1. Go Ruby! What a great tribute to a courageous young girl who, at the tender age of 6 in 1960, helped bring desegregation to schools in New Orleans and throughout the country. She was brave, despite terrible taunts, threats, and bullying. To name the Red-Tailed Hawk for Ruby Bridges would help expose young children throughout Virginia today to the wonderful and inspiring story of Ruby Bridges and the lessons her story teaches about courage, equality, justice, and tolerance. VOTE FOR RUBY!