Sky and Mr. Hoots

Last week flew by like the warm breeze that has been present in D.C. the last couple of days. It’s finally Spring!  The change in season means more events the Earth Conservation Corps (ECC) will be participating in.

 

Tuesday was a fun day. It started out ordinarily enough, arriving at work and sending off a few emails when the other Corps members arrived at the pumphouse with bags of topsoil and shovels. We were going to plant a pollinator garden in one of the apartment complexes in Southeast DC!

 

It was warm, about 75 degrees, and there was a slight wind that would cool us off as we transplanted the old perennials to make room for the milkweed, fennel and thistle. The work was made easier by the three lovely tenants who came to help us and direct us how they wanted their garden to look; after all, they would be the ones walking by it every day as they go home. The best part was how excited they were talking about all the beautiful butterflies they hoped would visit the pollinator garden. The day continued and I was told that I would be attending an event with none other than the Birdman, Rodney Stotts.

 

If you don’t know who Rodney is, allow me to fill you in.

 

Mr. Stotts is one of the original Corps members when the ECC first began their work in 1992. He is a DC native who grew up in the toughest parts of Southeast DC. As we drove to the event, I was impressed with his knowledge of the DC streets. He informed me that he was a drug dealer before his time with ECC. It was through the work that ECC completed that he found meaning in life, away from the death, darkness and the limited opportunities of drug dealing.

 

Now Rodney helps out with the ECC Live Raptor Programs, the same program I accompanied him on that Tuesday afternoon. It was great to see him in his zone, talking to the bird and soothing it as people came to our booth and gawked at the bird of prey (Sky, the Red-tailed Hawk, and Mr. Hoots, the Eurasian Eagle-owl). He also preached about the successes of ECC, such as reintroducing the Bald Eagle back into the Nation’s Capital. It was one of the best experiences I have so far interning for EFTA here in DC.

 

Also, I was blessed enough to run into Sue Bonfield from EFTA at the event! I hadn’t seen her since the internship training in San Diego a couple months back.

 

A new week is upon us and I wonder what’s in store for me? I know I’m leading a bird walk sometime this week, so that should be fun! Thanks for reading!

 

-SP

 

Photo Credit: Susan Bonfield

Stephen Poblete
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