Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Oasis Presentation

Dateline 11 December 2006

McKinley Community Center
Albuquerque, New Mexico

W. C. Fields warned against sharing a stage with animals or children but Prairie Dog Pals’ intrepid outreach director, Lynn Diehl, warmed hearts with a presentation peppered with personal anecdotes about her interactions with prairie dogs. She also encouraged the 75 enthusiastic participants in the Oasis class “Get Acquainted with Some of New Mexico’s Wildlife”, to meet Petie the Prairie Dog Pals’ spokes-rodent who was also in attendance.

Oasis is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for mature adults. They offer challenging programs in the arts, humanities, wellness and volunteer service. This particular class provided attendees with the chance to meet some of New Mexico’s feathered and furry friends.

Lynn provided an overview of Gunnison’s prairie dogs including information about their history, habits, habitat, and how to help. Lynn’s discussion touched on the prairie dog’s role in maintaining a healthy prairie ecosystem. She dispelled some commonly held misconceptions such as the idea that prairie dogs carry plague (they don’t) and that they breed frequently (they only breed once a year). She provided insights into their language, family structure, and the complexity of their burrow systems. Lynn ended the presentation on a philosophical note citing their place in the grand scheme of things and how other animals would suffer in the absence of this keystone species.

Lynn provided each attendee with a folder including the newsletter, several articles and a photograph of two prairie dogs “kissing”.

Wildlife Rescue provided a live exhibit featuring some of its educational birds including owls, a raven and a kestrel.

Prairie Dog Pals extends its thanks to Lynn for the research, assembling the information and making the presentation. A thanks is also given to Dick Westphal, member emeritus, who coordinated with Oasis to have the presentation included in its fall line up! And finally, to the Oasis staff and management who made this event possible!


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