2013 Year in Review: Bill Sykes, Outreach Docent

It’s time to look back on 2013! Check our blog between Christmas and New Year’s for a variety of stories and memories of 2013 from the staff, students, and volunteers of the Wildlife Center.

Early in 2011, in preparation for my initial volunteer assignment as a tour guide for open houses, I was introduced to the named education animals, and also to a Great Horned Owl known only as “the Chimney Owl.”

I was immediately drawn to him, and that attachment grew when I had the great fortune to spend a half hour with the folks who had taken action to get him rescued from their chimney. As I became trained to handle the education hawks and owls in outreach and fundraising programs, I often thought how wonderful it would be to have this impressive bird as my "wingman" for some of these programs.

My enthusiasm went through the roof at the start of 2013 when outreach coordinator Raina asked if I'd like to be one of the trainers working with the Chimney Owl to get him trained to the glove. Over the next three months or so I drove to the Wildlife Center three days a week, often for the primary purpose of working with Mr. Chimney. It was energizing to be a part of this effort and to watch the progress as this wild, magnificent animal became comfortable in the role of avian ambassador.

By late spring, I was able to take him out on a program, and he was indeed my wingman for several programs over the course of the year. Just to be able to handle the bird - now named Briscoe - fulfilled a dream I had nurtured since I first met him, but to have been actively involved in training him for his role on the glove ranks at the very top of a long list of great memories as a Wildlife Center volunteer.


Keep checking the Wildlife Center's blog for more year-end posts this week!

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