5:15 p.m. on a Tuesday as I walk out of the Roaring Brook Nature
Center, when Harriet calls out to me, “who cooks for you?” I
respond to her with my best “owl accent” and we chat for a moment
before I head home. We talk a lot, Harriet and I, and she’s helped
me to perfect my Owlish. Obviously, Harriet’s an owl, a beautiful
barred owl to be precise.
always been fascinated by owls; they are such magnificent creatures.
I think my earliest owl related memory was with my grandfather who
collected owl figurines from around the world. His fireplace mantle
had dozens of owls, in all shapes, sizes, and materials, lined up
like little toy soldiers. He used to hold me up, so I was eye level
to the shelf and let me hold them. While I held them, he would
explain where each one came from. He shared with me that his interest
stemmed from his fascination with heraldry. When he discovered his
family shield had three great horned owls prominently displayed, he
began to research owls and their mythology. His collection grew as
people discovered his deep interest and would gift him the figurines.
After he passed, I inherited several of them and they now line my
bookshelf. This bookshelf of, my owl book collection now contains
many reference, non-fiction, photographic, and fictional stories
whole childhood was consumed with owls. Instead of the typical
bedtime story, my parents read me “Owl
Since my parents knew how much I loved owls, they encouraged my
learning and experiences with them. This began with trips to the
local rescue and teaching facility (The Roaring Brook Nature Center).
I would visit the owls in residence, learn how to call to them, and
would learn about their diet by dissecting their pellets. My
fascination for owls was the foundation and my many visits over the
years to the Nature Center–which houses many different mammals,
reptiles, amphibians, and birds–eventually expanded my interests to
all nature and all animals.
loved being at the Nature Center, both inside their museum and
outside on their nature trails. The people who worked there knew
everything about the animals that lived there and were always
enthusiastic to share their knowledge with me. I knew that when I
grew up, I wanted to work there. So, when I was old enough I began
to volunteer there weekly, conducting various animal caretaking tasks
as well as clean their. My favorite activity was making the food for
each and every animal.
two years of volunteering, I was afforded the opportunity a job
working with their Summer Educational Enrichment program–basically a
camp for kids who like nature. I really enjoyed working with the
younger kids to spread the nature inspiration I once received from
the staff there. Then, at the end of the summer, my boss told me I
was great with the public and hired me to run the building on
Saturdays. I guess my love of nature includes love of humans too. I
am so happy to be working there–with the people and the animals!
my years of experience at the Nature Center, I have been able to
learn and grow. I want to continue that learning and growing to
expand on my current passion for the natural world, owls
especially–either through a major in outdoor education or
environmental studies program–so that I can eventually go back and
start my career working at The Nature Center.
you help me achieve my goal?