Recently students at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center were able to see some beautiful birds of prey up close.
Robert Humbert, from Wolcottsville Wildlife, brought in a red-tailed hawk and a snow owl that the organization is rehabilitating. Students who will be participating in the Environthon and the Landscaping and Food Service programs attended the demonstration. Teacher Tracey Dahlhaus, who teaches the Landscaping program, says it was fascinating and gave her students a lot of information. "We are studying bird culture at the moment and what plants you put in your yard to attract wildlife," she says. "I thought it was interesting for the students to think about how some of the bigger birds are drawn to the animals that will come to feed on the berries or the insects the plants draw. I love demonstrations and it was a real wow factor for the students to see the birds up close."
Mr. Humbert told the students he became involved in wildlife rehabilitation when he rescued two red-tailed hawks and brought them to a rehab center. The people who ran the center recruited him to work with them which he did for ten years. He then went on to start his own center. Its mission is to rescue and rehabilitate sick, injured or orphaned animals and release them back in the wild whenever possible.
Science teacher, Peter Jablonski, says he asked Mr. Humbert to talk to the students so they would have a better appreciation of nature and to maybe spark a new idea on a career choice. "I just thought that they are beautiful animals and it would be something fun for them to do. Maureen Bartlett, our Integration Specialist, and I have been working with our Envirothon students and we just thought it was a great way to spark their interest. We had many students from other classes sneak out into the Commons area to see the birds. It was really great."
Mr. Jablonski said Mr. Humbert talked to the students about the importance of not littering and picking up trash when they see it. "It is very harmful to animals," he said. He illustrated his point by showing photos of animals he had rescued that had gotten encased in plastic pop rings and old fishing nets. "75% of the stuff I see in rehab can be prevented. That is why I like to talk to the students. They are the next ambassadors to continue taking care of the planet."
As thanks and to help the animals, the SkillsUSA students at the center are planning a fundraiser for the Wolcottsville Wildlife Center. They will ask students to donate money, dog and cat food, paper towels and birdcages to aid the center. If anyone would like to contribute, they can contact Mr. Humbert at his Facebook page or through his email at [email protected].