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[imgcontainer] [img:Samwscreechowlcrop530.jpg] [source]Teresa Collins[/source] Sam Collins, age 9, visited Santa and a natty screech owl at a holiday breakfast for the Letcher County, KY, 4-H Club. Sam is the son of Teresa and Will Collins of Whitesburg. [/imgcontainer]
The 4-H Club of the Letcher County Cooperative Extension Service hosted a Breakfast with Santa as a fundraiser for the group at their offices in Whitesburg, Kentucky, in mid- December.
Children and families could have pancakes and sausage with Santa and get their photos taken with him by the Christmas tree and beautiful stone fireplace. Another treat for the children was to get their photo taken with a Christmas Owl. There were a screech owl and a barred owl wearing Santa hats that Alice Craft, a staff associate, at the Extension Office crocheted for them.
The owls are part of the Raptor Rehabilitation Program. Master falconer Mitch Whitaker directs the program. Mitch and his staff care for birds of prey that have become injured and work to get them healthy enough to return to the wild. Birds that are not able to be released are kept at the Extension office and used in wildlife education programs at the county schools.
[imgcontainer] [img:Samwithbarredowlbest530.jpg] [source]Teresa Collins[/source] Sam met with a barred owl at the holiday event. The Christmas owls were both rescued by the local Raptor Rehabilitation Program for injured birds of prey.This barred owl has lost one wing and is now a “Forever Friend” of the Raptor program. See Teresa Collins’s earlier story. [/imgcontainer]
Jason Brashear, County Extension Agent for 4-H Youth Development, said there were more than 40 guests at the event. The proceeds go to the Livestock Scholarship Fund, which helps the kids purchase livestock for the upcoming show season. Brashear says there are nearly 2500 children involved in the Letcher County 4-H program.
Teresa Collins coordinates operations for the Center for Rural Strategies, publisher of the Daily Yonder.