We just got word from Cape Coral Burrowing Owls in Florida, which set up a project like our Phase 1 work last year.  Their project is apparently thriving as well, and their footage of burrowing owls chicks is simply adorable.  It's really amazing that this technique is working in other places too, since, as we mentioned, our method of building burrows with ground squirrels was really one of the first biomimetic methods of creating new habitats.

Anyway, we are looking forward to seeing how their babies will be doing in the future!  The juveniles appear to be maturing quite well, and our Florida partners appear to be quite excited about the possibilities of successfully creating still more colonies in the future!

At the moment, they have one functional burrow in operation, but their live webcam captures everything about it.  You can see it here: capecoralburrowingowls.com.  If only the construction companies could see all the funny and endearing antics of the burrowing owls... maybe then the laws would be changed much faster.  Honestly, how will the environment fare without these adorable creatures?  It's almost unthinkable that people will brutally murder innocent owls for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  It just goes to show how important our work is, and how necessary it is that we keep it up!
 
 
... goes international!  After our cram session yesterday to get the poster and all our materials set up, our presentation day finally opened up!

We just got back from around four hours of presenting, and seriously, just walking through that room could be a great learning experience.  People have raised thousands of dollars for important causes, rebuilt parts of their neighborhoods, even altered the bus routes within their cities.  We just tallied our fundraising efforts up today, trying to count up all our merchandise and donations, and incredibly, we have raised $8308!  We never really expected to raise that much money, and this is simply over the top.  Thank you to all our generous sponsors and donors!  Every penny of your money is going to a good cause.

That said, we were also contacted by BirdLife International in the midst of our preparations, and never posted about it.  It seems that our method is starting to attract attention around the world!  I really hope that other communities will start a project like ours.  It's an amazing growing experience, even if people don't compete.  We really learned to organize, and I learned to really lead and plan as Project Manager.  I don't think any of us could have done it without community support, but operating solo like this,  just a bunch of high school students together trying to save a whole species, really jolts us back into the real world.  Things may seem to be running smoothly on the surface, but many of the internal workings are grinding slowly to a halt.

That's how I would describe the burrowing owl's influence in our ecosystems, though its slow disappearance has caused ecological cycles to slow so much that the environment is already seeing huge decreases in productivity, among other negative effects.  If others could start projects like ours, we could bring the burrowing owl back from the brink of extinction and save our ecosystems from the agony of this disruption.  We will continue expanding, and hopefully our early successes only foreshadow greater comebacks for the burrowing owl in the future!
 

IC!

06/06/2012

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We're at the International Conference!

Today we're hectically preparing our poster display and other materials to spread awareness about the burrowing owl all over the world!  Handing out flyers and gathering our poster supplies was just the beginning of our work here.  We've been talking to people about our project already, and the Community Problem Solving Fair isn't even until Friday!  Kudos to our awesome Project Manager, Alice Wu, who's really organizing and putting everything together for us.

This is really an amazing place to be.  Everyone has done something amazing in their communities, whether Environmental or Civic, or a mixture of both.  It's been an enlightening experience to be able to talk to these people, to find out about their community issues and experiences and see what they've done to change their worlds.  People seemed amazed by our project as well, listening to our description of partnering with world renowned organizations to implement our ideas.  Frankly, we're so lucky to be able to be in the company of people that are contributing in such real ways back to their areas.  It's fascinating to talk to them, and we've already gotten a few good ideas to even further expand our cause!