[VirtualGallery id=”Snowy Range Academy” slides=”4″ title=”0″]At the Draper Museum Raptor Experience, we do A LOT of educational programs. In 2015 alone, we presented 551 programs!! The majority of our presentations occur on-site at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West where we are based. We do, however, do some traveling – to schools, libraries, nursing homes, and other facilities across the state of Wyoming.
Traveling even a short distance with the birds can be a huge ordeal. Travel boxes/kennels are designed to be just big enough for the bird to sit and adjust comfortably but not move excessively or jump around, potentially causing injury. Having the birds in these smaller spaces for long periods of time, although not detrimental to them, isn’t ideal. Because of this, we generally do our outreach programs within a few hours’ drive of Cody.
Every once in a while, however, we are asked to bring our birds to a location that would require spending the night away from the mews (their home). This Fall, we were invited to be guests at the Wyoming State Museum in Cheyenne, a six hour drive from Cody. Normally, this trip would require the birds to spend the night in their kennels. Fortunately, Cheyenne is just 45 minutes from Laramie where the birds have their own hotel – Laramie Raptor Refuge!
Laramie Raptor Refuge is where my career and my obsession with raptors began nearly 20 years ago (yikes!). Although the organization no longer cares for birds or does programs, their mews are still standing. That means after a six hour drive from Cody, our birds can relax with room to move around and a lovely yard to perch out in.
Since we were already in Laramie, we headed down a day early and booked a program at Snowy Range Academy for the entire school to see. But, since the program wasn’t until the afternoon, we had some time to burn. How fun to do a little shopping and be able to check out the Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center on the University of Wyoming campus. I haven’t been back on campus in years and this was a new addition. It was quite impressive!
After a relaxing morning, we headed to the school for our program. The kids were so well behaved and we had one of the best kid vs. peregrine falcon races we’ve ever had!!!!!
After the program, it was time to relax. The birds enjoyed some sunshine and ate their dinner while we had a spirited game of ping pong followed by a evening at the movies to see “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” – which I highly recommend.
The next day it was back to work. An early start got us to Cheyenne and the Wyoming State Museum for Family Days. We greeted the 252 guests (a huge crowd!) with our learning table and answered questions about the birds, topping it off with a program for everyone outside the Museum. It was a long but incredibly fun day with another great crowd.
When the Family Days program was over, it was time to hit the road again. I forgot to get a photo of our “gypsy wagon” but picture an 11 passenger van loaded with four people, three birds in kennels, sleeping bags, perches, cooler, luggage, and more.
It’s important to note that without the amazing crew, this wouldn’t be possible. Trapped in a van on rough roads for a long time can get pretty stressful. Not with these guys, though. I am very lucky to have such a great group of volunteers willing to help out and have a lot of fun while working.
Who’s ready for a road trip!?!?!?!
Thanks to Snowy Range Academy Librarian & Laramie Raptor Refuge Director, Catherine Symchych for the pictures from the school and Nathan Doer, the Wyoming State Museum’s Curator of Education, for the photos from Family Day!