Animals and birds echo through Strawbridge

Collaborative effort with CCBC offer a birds’ eye view of nature

Students at the Board of Child Care’s Strawbridge School spent some time with a few unique visitors early in March – animals from Echoes of Nature.

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Red-tail hawk shown at Strawbridge School

Based out of Bowie, MD, Echoes of Nature offers hands-on, educational programs featuring live animals to schools, day care centers, adult centers, and birthday and community events.

Echo Uzzo, the class instructor, started the lesson by showing students a small Eastern box turtle. Next was a chinchilla, a crepuscular rodent (most active around dawn and dusk) slightly larger than ground squirrels. Introduced next was a Ball Python snake, which curls when they feel threatened to make themselves a smaller target.

An opossum and a majestic red-tailed hawk capped the show. This was the only presentation students were not able to come close to or touch. Several times, this male bird – which weighs around two pounds but can stoop downward in pursuit of prey at over 100 mph – squawked and preened while Uzzo handled spoke to the class.

Uzzo spoke about how birds such as the bald eagle commonly nest from Washington to Baltimore to Annapolis, sharing waterways with fish, turtles and other animals, and how nature has moved into our backyards and cities as humans claim more land for development. Animals are under increased pressure to adapt to our presence or die.

“This was our second visit to Strawbridge, and I thought the kids were really awesome,” Uzzo said. “They’re engaged, interested and show a genuine appreciation and love for the animals.”

Uzzo says funding and building a wildlife discovery center is the ultimate goal for her company, but seeing the positive interaction between animals and humans is what motivates Uzzo.

“You protect what you like, and these kids are our future,” Uzzo said.

The Community College of Baltimore County collaborates with Strawbridge School to offer different classes to various 11th and 12th grade students. Last year, classes included childcare certification, retail, clerical and professional animal work (PAWS). Retail and PAWS carried forward to this year.