Melissa joins the team!

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by Nancy Wisgirda, volunteer

The looks on the faces of the people in the audience are skeptical. The woman at the front of the room invites them all to stand, which they do, reluctantly, amid the sound of shuffling chairs. She is talking about raptors, and how they might exhibit signs of becoming relaxed. No one in the room has ever associated the word relaxed with a bird of prey.

Undaunted by the doubtful looks, she invites everyone to stretch out an arm to one side, mimicking a wing, then a leg. A murmur of laughter ripples the room. Then the woman hunches up her shoulders and puffs her arms out at her sides with a little shimmy shake, shimmy shake, and the whole room erupts with delight as they all fluff out their imaginary feathers. Raptors do be relaxing! Who knew?

The future of education at Tamarack is bright with the addition of Melissa Goodwill who recently joined us in the newly created position of Outreach and Education Manager. Melissa took our Wildlife First Responder class ten years ago and has 13 years of experience in the field of environmental education. She has been a long-time capture and transport volunteer for Tamarack, collecting patients from the Erie area and bringing them down at the end of her workday.

She brings to this position a life-long love of wildlife and a passion to help connect members of the public to the natural world around them. Melissa will be designing and delivering education programs, assisting with social media and outreach, and helping as needed with the care of wildlife patients and ambassadors. She has tackled learning computer programs and tools to design and share updates about the work of the center. She is also doing a great job and having fun sharing in person education programs for TWC, accompanied by our ambassador wildlife.

And as for those laid-back humanoid hawks and eagles and falcons? They can be assured of many opportunities to learn about the many traits we share with our feathered friends in the sky—some surprising, some not so much. One thing is for certain: Melissa will open our eyes and hearts to all of them, one shimmy-shake at a time.

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