“I love kids, but they are a tough audience.” ~Robin Williams
Regardless of your feelings about Robin Williams’ passing, that particular quote proved to be true this past Saturday at The Hill.
The MU College of Veterinary Medicine’s Raptor Rehabilitation Project sent a group of three volunteers and four raptors to do an educational presentation for our kids and staff. Over 60 people gathered for the event – the majority of them under the age of 12.
That created some challenges for the presenters. The normal stuff, like trying to keep everyone quiet and still, was even more imperative around these wild animals who are not accustomed to lots of human noise and activity.
Additional challenges with an audience of children turned out to be rather comical. Oh, the questions children can ask! It began even before the first bird was out of its box. Woodrow, one of the volunteers, was explaining to the kids how they get their birds.
“When someone finds an injured raptor, it comes to us so we can help it recover,” he began.
“Do they die?” one youngster interjected.
“Well, we do our best to help them – but yes, some of them do die.”
“What happens when they die?” was the next impromptu question.
“So what do you do with them when they’re dead?”
“We have to call another organization that comes to take them somewhere else,” was the quick and non-specific answer, that didn’t quite satisfy the curious audience.
“We just buried our cat when it died – why don’t you do that?”
“Unfortunately it requires a lot more paperwork than that!” Woodrow laughed, and then quickly tried to change the topic. “So, the birds that heal and survive are all released back into the wild if they recover completely. But sometimes, they don’t heal completely and can’t return to the wild. For instance, most of the birds we’ve brought today cannot fly.”
“Oh – so they are PENGUINS???!” one excited young lady exclaimed.
Yup…kind of a tough audience. But oh, so fun.