To start with, I’d like to apologize for the unannounced leave of absence from writing this blog.  I started a new job as an animal keeper at the Endangered Wolf Center in St. Louis last fall, and although I still regularly work at TreeHouse as a volunteer/intern (my exact status is a bit unclear to everyone, and probably at this point irrelevant), my new schedule meant that a few projects had to be put on hold for a while.

DSC00044So, naturally, what time of year would I choose to resume old projects and begin new ones?  Why, baby season, of course.  Because who needs to sleep?

Yes, it is baby season once again, and TreeHouse’s nursery is packed with orphaned squirrels, opossums, fox kits, and owlets.  Any volunteer opening the door to the isolation ward, where the young owls are kept with their foster mothers in order to minimize the likelihood of human imprinting, is greeted with a chorus of clacking bills so energetic that it almost sounds like applause.  We love the sound of clacking bills and the look of the fiercely staring eyes that peer out at us from the nest boxes, as they are very positive signs that the young owls have learned from their foster parents to perceive humans as threats, and not as providers of food.  Any wild animal that sees humans as dangerous is likely to avoid contact with humans and should thus stay out of trouble when it returns to the wild.

But I mentioned earlier that this baby season, I am not only getting back to work on old projects, but also starting new ones.  In particular, the new project that I would like to introduce is TreeHouse’s brand new junior membership program: TreeHouse Wildlife Explorers.

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Drawing by Kristina Heaton

This very special program is just for kids aged 14 and under.  For dues of only $15 a year, members will receive a monthly newsletter in the mail.  This newsletter will help get kids involved in wildlife conservation by keeping them informed and in the loop about the animals we are caring for at TreeHouse, providing them with ideas for how they can help wildlife in their own backyards and communities, and teaching them about animals and ecology in a fun and engaging way.  In addition to receiving the monthly newsletter, kids who join the program will receive a personalized membership card that they can present at TreeHouse events to take advantage of special offers and discounts.  We will also be holding a special annual event just for TreeHouse Wildlife Explorers and their families.

At TreeHouse, we know that reaching out to kids is one of the most important things we can do for the future of wildlife conservation.  That is why environmental education has always played such a major role in our mission.  TreeHouse Wildlife Explorers expands this mission by providing the opportunity for kids to have an ongoing connection with TreeHouse Wildlife Center and a resource for learning about nature at home.

We are working on getting a registration form up on our website, but in the meantime, if you would like to sign a child up for TreeHouse Wildlife Explorers, you can either stop by TreeHouse and pick up a pamphlet, or send me an email at treehouse.jennifer@gmail.com.