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Archive for Saturday, January 21, 2012

Birds of a feather: Nature fans of all ages learn about wildlife at Kaw Valley Eagles Day

Elliot Paden, 4, Lawrence, and Morgan Johnson, 10, Leavenworth, dissect owl scat to identify the bones and fur of the owl's prey Saturday during an activity at the Kaw Valley Eagles Day at Free State High School.

Elliot Paden, 4, Lawrence, and Morgan Johnson, 10, Leavenworth, dissect owl scat to identify the bones and fur of the owl's prey Saturday during an activity at the Kaw Valley Eagles Day at Free State High School.

January 21, 2012

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Ginnie the opossum

Jen Rader with the Prairie Park Nature Center shows off Ginnie, a Virginia opossum, at Saturday's 16th Annual Kaw Valley Eagles Day. Ginnie was one of numerous exhibits on display at Free State High School. The event was co-sponsored by the Jayhawk Audubon Society and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Enlarge video

Heather Morgan, a part-time naturalist at Prairie Park Nature Center, shows off an educational Barred Owl to visitors Saturday during the Kaw Valley Eagles Day at Free State High School. Attractions at the event included nature-based arts and crafts, booths featuring environmentally friendly products, and a host of educational activities for kids.

Heather Morgan, a part-time naturalist at Prairie Park Nature Center, shows off an educational Barred Owl to visitors Saturday during the Kaw Valley Eagles Day at Free State High School. Attractions at the event included nature-based arts and crafts, booths featuring environmentally friendly products, and a host of educational activities for kids.

The hot new attraction at Saturday’s 16th annual Kaw Valley Eagles Day: a 7-month-old Virginia opossum named Ginnie.

Prairie Park Nature Center naturalist Jen Rader showed off Ginnie to hundreds of families at the event at Free State High School, 4700 Overland Drive.

The marsupial was surprisingly cuddly.

“She was a friendly one,” said Rader, telling visitors about Ginnie’s human-like thumbs and pouch for carrying babies. Ginnie, who is typically on display at the Nature Center, stayed pretty close to Rader, snuggling on her shoulder. The opossum was rescued after her mother was run over by a car. Ginnie and seven other siblings were found, remarkably, safe and sound in their mom’s pouch.

Ginnie was one of numerous attractions at the event, including nature-based arts and crafts, booths featuring environmentally friendly products, and a host of educational activities for kids.

Lawrence resident Jill Ice brought her daughter, 10-year-old Emily, and they browsed the activities. Ice said it seemed like the perfect “cold-weather” activity.

Emily was busy dissecting the excrement of an owl and was surprised to find a wide variety of rodent bones hidden in the waste.

Jett Smith, 8, came all the way from Nortonville with his mom, Danielle, and little sister Evelyn, 5. Jett said it was the fifth year he’s been to the Eagles Day.

As he waited for a presentation on eagles, Jett talked about all the exhibits he checked out Saturday.

“I’m an eagle fan,” Jett said.

Comments

Lawrence Morgan 2 years, 8 months ago

The opossum is really friendly. I didn't know that opossums could be that friendly at any point in their lives. As they get older, do they become less so?

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Randall Uhrich 2 years, 8 months ago

They're dissectiing an owl pellet, what the owl spits up that it can't digest. Scat comes out the other end.

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