About 50 educators gathered in Ojai on Friday to swap teaching strategies for their favorite subject: the importance of animals and of treating them well.
Eco-Ed, a Ventura County organization, offers lectures on the connection between people and animals to schools and adult groups. Directors Jerry Thompson and Jane Gordon compare the importance of such programs to the anti-drug and pro-recycling courses offered in many schools today.
While a picture might be worth a thousand words, the pair sought to demonstrate that a live animal was worth a thousand pictures. Gordon passed live snakes around a willing audience. Thompson displayed birds of prey from his 3-year-old raptor rehabilitation program; all had chronic injuries or were unsuitable for release into the wild because of time spent in captivity before entering Thompson's program. Thompson drew an audible response from the audience with an adult eagle that had lost a wing due to a gunshot wound. "This is what a 3-cent, .22 bullet can do," Thompson said.
During breaks, participants scanned displays of lesson plans, books and pamphlets. A few were Ventura County classroom teachers, but most represented humane societies and other organizations dedicated to protecting domestic animals and wildlife.