The Wildlife Center of Texas Education Team and their raptor Education Ambassadors has been very busy – we have been averaging 3 or 4 presentations a week! Our schedule is packed for off-site presentations, but presentations held at the the Wildlife Center are still available.
Today, four team members and Education Ambassador Screech Owl shared our message of coexistence with hundreds of JSC NASA employees and their contractors at their annual “Safety and Health Day”. It was amazing to watch the reactions when people realized that the owl wasn’t a stuffed prop! Many questions were about what to do when a wild animal picks an inappropriate place to raise their babies. There isn’t room here for a full discussion, but the website has lots of solutions under the “Need Help” tab. Meet all of Education Ambassadors under the “Programs” tab.
NASA has a program that should be the envy of every industry. Their Safety Committee strives for a zero incident workplace and part of that mission includes the safety and health of both humans and the wildlife that call their site home. Their “Wildlife Committee” is staffed by permitted and sub-permitted rehabilitators that can answer and deal with all wildlife issues. The Wildlife Committee is very prominently featured in their literature and website.
The Education Team members were treated to many human wildlife interaction stories. The favorites were the Barn Owls that were nesting inside Building 14, the Great Horned Owls near Building 10 and deer – which seem to be everywhere! The Barn Owls were allowed to finish raising their babies and then the access point was closed. The Great Horned Owls are raising two babies near a building what was being re-roofed. When the workers were informed that their “dump chute” was too near the nest, they moved it further away. One fell from the nest and a NASA employee (husband of a rehabilatator) returned it to the nest. Mom and Dad continue to raise their chick. Deer stories include rounding a curve in the jogging track to be faced with a territorial stag and a mom that would stash her fawn in bushes against a building during the day.
NASA also has a joint program with the Houston Zoo to establish a population of Attwater’s Prairie Chickens on site. This program has been in place for several years and is one of the most successful in the region. Attwater’s Prairie Chickens are beautiful small members of the grouse family. They were plentiful in our region until the destruction of the prairie by ranching and development.