Have a Hoot at Presque Isle Owl Campfire
Learn about native owl species from those "who" are in the know
Thursday, Jan. 19
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (PA-DCNR) is hosting a free event open to folks of all ages to learn about native owl species in Erie, specifically those living on Presque Isle. Join park environmental educators at the Rotary Pavilion on Presque Isle State Park for a cozy, indoor campfire and learn about the eight different species of owl that call Erie home.
During the event, participants will learn all about owls through different visual aids including video footage shot by park employees themselves. Environmental educator Brian Gula notes, "During COVID, we did a lot of virtual programming, and with our funding we were able to get some nice equipment to go out and showcase the park, to get kids to the park through the screen. So we were really able to capture what we see in the park every day. We have shot footage of eight different native species of owl, from the smallest owl called the saw whet to the largest which is the great horned owl." There will also be multiple taxidermy mounts for attendees to examine up close, allowing the opportunity to see different colorations, special features, and adaptations that make each owl species unique.
During the program, there will also be an opportunity to learn about local owls through their diet as participants in the class will get to dissect owl pellets in search of small animal bones. Owls are only able to digest the soft tissues of their prey; what remains (the bones, teeth, scales, fur, etc.) is regurgitated as pellets. Being able to observe what a particular owl ate helps one learn more about the habitat in which the owl resides. Rest assured, all dissectable owl pellets have been run through an autoclave and are totally sanitized and safe to handle.
Learning about your local environment has as much to do with environmental discovery as it does self-discovery, especially for young children. Gula notes, "The more that you come to understand how valuable these natural resources are, the more your perspective changes, and you really begin to feel for that natural resource. That feeling will hopefully inspire someone to become a steward of the environment, or perhaps even spark someone to embrace a career, as that's how I started." PA-DCNR hosts a number of free or very low cost educational events throughout the year for participants of all ages, so be sure to check their online schedule regularly.
6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. // Rotary Pavilion at Presque Isle State Park, 1 Peninsula Dr. // Free // All ages welcome // Registration required by Jan. 17 // events.dcnr.pa.gov/presque_isle_state_park