Today was the annual fund-raising and educational event for the Three Rivers Avian Center in Brooks, WV. I've been the storyteller and children's crafts coordinator for the past seven years, and each year the event gets better.Center Director Ron Perrone discusses the peregrine falcon on his arm with a ypung visitor.
Today the weather was a challenge early on. It was cold! And since we were on the shores of the small lake at Little Beaver State Park, the wind coming over the water was downright icy. Our teeth chattered through the morning and the crowd was scarce as the clouds and winds combined for a threatening sky and chilly temps. But by one o'clock the sun broke through, the wind laid down and the people came out in droves.
Jackets, sometimes in layers, was the outfit of choice for everyone attending. By late afternoon the sun warmed things enough that the jackets came off.
I tried several new stories this year, and all, I think, are keepers. I searched for bird stories of all kinds and found many that worked with my puppets, as audience participation tales and as "just telling" stories. I've been buying those little plush birds that look very like the real birds and sing, so I have a fairly good collection now. Several found places in my stories. (No photos of the storytelling because I was kind of busy with telling.) The audience for stories was very small but highly interactive, and I completely enjoyed sharing the stories with them.
The afternoon craft was birdhouses, and we made them for almost 3 hours, until I ran out of supplies. Everyone loved them, and several parents made their own. These aren't "real" bird houses, but they were a big hit with kids and adults alike. I think they'll be a repeat craft next year, by popular demand.
The birds from TRAC were out in force: Spirit, the golden eagle, was his usual regal self, the owls demonstrated their head-turning abilities, and the pergrine falcon was quite self-contained and aloof.
Hannah and Haley were with us and explored the park, the raptors, and the variety of activities available. Dept. of Natural Resources staff were on hand to provide information and lead nature walks, and there were educational/interactive displays (like "Whose Scat is That?") that were big attractions.
Many people commented that this was their first year at the event, and they were very impressed. I hope they were impressed enough to donate to the avian center that does such good work, both rescuing raptors and educating the public about these magnificent birds.