Where’s the love? For many people, turkey vultures seem like disgusting scavengers unworthy of affection. But a new reading experience this spring could change your mind, helping spread your concern to an unloved species while broadening your sense of place beyond the boundaries of the university.
As part of the annual Centre County Reads program, residents of all ages are being invited to read and share Katie Fallon’s Vulture: The Private Life of an Unloved Bird. Since 2003, Centre County Reads has worked to create a sense of community connection within the county, as residents come together to discuss the human condition and explore community issues by reading the same book.
Fallon discusses the turkey vulture, an overlooked and under-appreciated species that plays an extremely important role in our ecosystem. The natural history of the species and its ability to succeed in both natural and man-made landscapes is captured throughout the book. It combines elements of travelogue, scientific exploration, ecological memoir and love story—almost certain to appeal to a wide variety of readers.
Fallon, a Penn State grad and founder of the Avian Conservation Center of Appalachia, will speak about her work at Penn State on Thursday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the Nittany Lion Inn. Discussion groups about the book will occur at libraries throughout Centre County in February and March.
Along with the author’s visit and book discussion groups, other related activities open to all community members include:
· Winter Bird Walk – Saturday, Feb 23, at 2-3 p.m. at Millbrook Marsh Nature Center
Have the opportunity to meet some of the feathered friends that call the marsh their home during the winter months. The walk will focus on bird survival techniques and take place outside so make sure to dress appropriately.
· Meet the Creek – Sunday, March 31, at 2:30-4 p.m. at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center
In the newly constructed raptor center, community members will have the opportunity to meet the Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center’s Turkey and Black Vultures, as well as other avian scavengers, such as Bald and Golden Eagles.
· Writing the Nonhuman Writing Contest – Entries due by Monday, March 11
This contest asks participants to write an essay from the point of view of the nonhuman—animal, vegetable, or any other object. Winners will be awarded for Best Short Fiction, Best Poetry, Best Nonfiction, and Best Entry for Writer Under 18. Essays need to be 7,500 words or less and should be submitted to email@example.com. Full contest details can be found at CentreCountyReads.org.
To find out more about Fallon, visit katiefallon.com. For full details of all the Centre County Reads activities, visit CentreCountyReads.org. Copies of the book are available to check out and reserve at your public library.
Participation in Centre County Reads can help foster a diverse and inclusive community that accepts and invites differences. By getting out and participating in the local community, students, faculty and staff at the University Park campus can recognize that “We are Penn State!” should also be “We are Centre County!”