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Reading program gets its wings

Agnes Hapka ahapka@civitasmedia.com

August 31, 2013

NEW HAVEN — Students at New Haven Elementary School got well-acquainted with six varieties of birds of prey and snakes on Friday while, their teachers hope, sparking an interest in reading and learning about nature.


Shayla Blackshire, fifth-grade teacher, said the students had been looking forward to the visit, which marks the beginning of this year’s Accelerated Reader program. In the AR program, students earn points after reading books and demonstrating comprehension. Students may choose fiction or non-fiction, naturally including a selection of books related to birds, snakes, and other animals.


Ron and Wendy Perrone of Three Rivers Avian Center brought an array of birds from the sanctuary, including a peregrine falcon, a barn owl, and a bald eagle with a mind of its own.


The Perrones explained that the avian center, which is located in Brooks, W.Va., is a sort of hospital for non-game birds.


“People can bring their injured birds to the center and we’ll do our best to help them,” Ron Perron said, adding that the center only takes non-game birds — no ducks, geese or chickens — such as falcons, hawks, eagles, and owls. He went on to advise the students on the best way to care for baby birds they see on the ground while out playing or walking to school.


“You have to use your judgment,” Perrone said. “Sometimes young birds are supposed to be on the ground — they have to leave the nest in order to learn to fly.”


A representative from the Department of Natural Resources also visited the school Friday for the AR kick-off, with a selection of snakes and a talk on their habits and habitats.