Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Keep Wildlife Wild Weekend: Wrap Up

First, I would like to congratulate the person who took this program and rolled with it: wildlife biologist Alyssa Herr. She did an excellent job in bringing together the different parts of this program and making sure that when it all came together it felt cohesive and smooth. I would give her an "Internet" round of applause.

The day started off at Tahoma Woods in the Education Center, where Alyssa Herr oriented the volunteers to the problem of food-conditioned animals in the park. She explained why food-conditioned are a danger to both humans and themselves. They can become aggressive towards humans in trying to obtain food, and are at risk to be hit by a car, or stockpile food from humans that will not keep over the winter.

Alyssa, aided by Curt Jacquot, gave several informative (and amusing) skits on how not to treat the animals, and how to inform visitors who do so.

After orientation, volunteers were split into five teams who moved between five locations: Longmire, Cougar Rock, Narada Falls, Paradise Picnic Area and the Paradise Parking Lot. They handed out flyer's, informed people on correctly connecting with the wildlife (at a distance), and generally educating people on the problem the food-conditioned wildlife. And the little kids love it.

All in all it was a great success. At the end of the day, munching on graciously provided pizza in the Community Building, I can say that I at least came away more knowledgeable, more appreciative, and more concerned about the plight of food conditioned wildlife. And if we don't work to keep the wildlife wild, then all the park becomes is a zoo, and I certainly don't want that.

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