2016-11-15 / Sports

Beaver moon adventure with a porcupine ambassador

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Assistant Sports Editor

YORK-- Under a cloud-wrapped supermoon Monday night three children, seven adults and one dog hiked along the summit of Mt. Agamenticus after they watched Sarah Kern hand a sweet potato to Henry the porcupine and pet him.

Timed during a “super, mega Beaver moon,” the Mt. Agamenticus Learning Lodge hosted a wildlife lecture featuring live owls and a porcupine followed by a gentle moonlit hike around the summit. The Beaver Moon Adventure guided program is an engaging educational collaborative between the Mt. Agamenticus Conservation Program and the Center for Wildlife of Cape Neddick.

“[The Center for Wildlife] just turned thirty and we’re at the base of Mt. A. We steward the wildlife and they steward the habitat so that’s why we do a lot of joint programs together,” said Kristen Lamb, the Executive Director for the Center for Wildlife. “Our education programs try to inspire stewardship and teach people how to prevent injuries from happening and we try to empower people not to have a negative impact on local wildlife.”

As bright as the moon was, Henry the porcupine stole the spotlight while neatly picking up small pieces of vegetable from Education and Outreach Coordinator Sarah Kern’s hand. Henry is an education ambassador who teaches youth and adults about the value of wildlife, along with his friends Byron the bard owl, a great horned owl and an attache of animal ambassadors. The education ambassadors were chosen for their positions because they cannot be rehabilitated to the wild and are people-friendly.

Kern petted Henry while he sat across from a circle of children not much taller than him while the awestruck children asked questions. Henry retired to his dressing room and the group left for a smooth walk around old beaver habitat. The current full Beaver Moon is the traditional time some colonists and native americans set beaver traps to harvest winters furs. Ecologists say it is a time when beavers and other animals are also very active preparing for winter.

Drawing parallels between how people and animals both get ready for winter at this time of year is a smart educational tool to help make animals more relatable to small children. Offering attention-grabbing educational programs such as the Beaver Moon Adventure to youth is an important strategy to preserve Maine’s land and wildlife for the future.

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