|WES Junior Rescue Team: Kaia (7), Gabriel (8), and Ben (12) and Nathan (10).|
Back in November, we held our initial meeting of WES Junior Rescuers. It was more of a social event to get acquainted.
This afternoon, we had our first official training!
This unique program, inspired by a young man who helped save an injured bird (story HERE), aims to teach the children valuable "hunting" skills while fostering compassion for animals - melding prowess with kindness.
Rebecca Dmytryk, founder of WES and the team's coach, likes to think of it as introducing their Humanitarian-self with their Hunter-self.
Humans are hunter-gatherers. Underneath it all - beneath the finest fabrics, the shiniest polish, the most refined belief system, lives the hunter. It's what we do with our temperament that matters, really.
Children are instinctively curious about nature and readily identify with animals. Here, we have an opportunity to connect them with the natural world in a deep way, empowering them with knowledge and showing them, firsthand, how they can make a difference in an animal's life, and how good that can feel.Deanna Barth, one of the parents, had this to say:
Children learn by example, so if we want to see compassion for animals in the future, we need to start by educating our children now. They are the future of veterinary medicine and wildlife rehabilitation.
There is finesse to using capture equipment. WES' junior rescuers will be instructed on proper use of their tools, then, once they've achieved a certain level of skill, they'll be given the opportunity to assist in capturing ailing rock doves (pigeons) and domestic waterfowl, to start.
Today's instructional class began indoors and started out with a discussion about the team's first assignment. They'd been asked to watch two movies: Bambi, and The Three Lives of Thomasina - films that Dmytryk believes are strongly influential.
I remember these movies very, very well. Viscerally. So much that I shy away from watching them anymore. I'm sure quite a few readers will know what I mean.
These are powerful films and they worked their magic when I was a kid - teaching the value of all living creatures, encouraging kindness, empathy, advocacy, strengthening my compassion. They don't make movies like this anymore.
Next, the team was shown training videos of certain animal capture techniques that they would be practicing outdoors, including use of a drop trap.
Drop traps are used successfully to capture flighted birds that are shy of nets.
Outdoors, the students practiced using their capture nets, making sure to set the hoop flat so an animal cannot escape.
Then, they each practiced setting up and triggering a drop trap, and worked together to safely remove the captured animal, in this case, a duck decoy.
Congratulations to our Junior Rescuers!
You all did incredibly well!