“The Day Shift” is an educational program put on by Operation Wildlife (OWL) and organized by Midland Empire Audubon society. Margaret Voltz, the organizer of “The Day Shift” has been working with Operation Wildlife for eight years, helping to provide educational programs for the community.
“They (OWL) did a program… 15 years ago… and they had live birds to educate people who passed (by) about the birds’ injuries and what the bird's needs were.” said Voltz.
The program will feature raptors, a group of diurnal birds of prey, including hawks, falcons and eagles, as well as Corvids, one of the most brilliant families of birds. Conservationists from Operation Wildlife will have many live birds present at the event to demonstrate hunting habits and adaptive characteristics.
“As far as behavior, they (OWL) talk about their needs… and they talk about what’s harmful to birds,” said Voltz.
While “The Day Shift” only focuses on birds, OWL does much more than that daily to educate their communities. Dr. Julie Jedlicka, a professor in biology, works with birds and has been involved with OWL in the past.
“They (OWL) are a rescue center… that rescue animals that have been hurt… and they have a rehabilitation team and veterinarians… that allow these animals to be released back in the wild,” said Jedlicka, “Some birds they care for always and are able to bring them to educational events.”
Birds under the constant care of OWl are unable to be returned to the wild because of their injuries. Conservation efforts such as OWL help not only birds but other animals as well. Dr. Mark Mills, a chair of the biology department and ecologist, knows the importance of conservation education.
“(It’s) like the canary in the coal mine… they (the animals) are more sensitive to changes than we are,” said Mills, “So if they’re suffering, we might not be suffering yet but it might be coming.”
“The Day Shift” is not the only way for adults to learn about birds, it is also geared towards children and students to get them involved with wildlife and conservation. With these efforts, OWL wants to connect with younger people to ensure the importance of conservation is understood.
“The gentleman who has come in the past has… really geared it towards kids,” said Volz, “He has a lot of knowledge, but he also presents it in a way that is very easy to understand. He’s also really good with adults because the information he has is solid scientific information.”
OWL is doing its best to educate and inform communities in Kansas and Missouri. They serve as a non-profit rehabilitation center and are open to volunteers to help support their efforts. To get involved or learn more, information on their events and operations can be found at owl-online.org.
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