This last Saturday was International Vulture Awareness day. I hope you had the opportunity to share some vulture love and help educate the world about the plight of these critical creatures. As Karyn and I have done in the past, we volunteered at the Peregrine Fund's World Center for Birds of Prey to help educate children. Our task was to engage the kids in the creation of a vulture paining. As you might guess, this falls heavily on Karyn the artist, but I participate as her dutiful assistant and provide moral support.
Our painting activity wasn't the only activity that day. There were other children activities and bird presentations throughout the day. Two of the bird presentations featured "Lucy" the Turkey Vulture.
Karyn prepared the canvas before the event with a sketch of what we had hoped to achieve. This sketch was reproduced from a photograph that I had taken a few years back at Centennial Marsh.
Each child that comes through gets to apply some paint to the canvas. We usually let them choose what they want to paint, but then guide them to where they may be most successful based on age and skill level.
One challenge faced during the day is trying to determine how much to encourage them to paint. We wanted one painting to last all day, but also wanted it to be completed by the end of the day. As the attendance was generally lower than last year, we let most kids paint as long as they wanted.
As you can see Karyn takes most of the burden when it comes to directing the kids. I take photos, refill water, and direct a little when we have more than a few kids at a time.
We even had an angry bird show up to paint.
In the end we had about 20 kids participate on the painting. While there were fewer kids than last year, each got to participate for a longer amount of time. We hope that this helped the kids take a way a stronger message with regards to the importance and beauty of vultures in our world. Take another look at Lucy. What's not to love?
In addition to this activity, I also made a short presentation on the world vulture crisis to two of the Biology Labs I teach at Boise State University.