Read TTYL_AR2003 text version

Talking Talons Youth Leadership, Inc. Annual Report Fiscal Year 2003

a non-profit organization

Talking Talons Youth Leadership, Inc. Annual Report Fiscal Year 2003

a non-profit organization

measuring organizational growth

injured wildlife: volunteer opportunities: program director: program staff educational presentations: fundraising accounting executive director 1# 1# 2# 4# 4# 5# 6# 7#


To elevate youth to become effective advocates and ethical stewards for themselves, wildlife and the environment

Growth for a non-profit organization means a great many things. FY2003 (July 1, 2002 to June 30, 2003) has been a year of significant growth for Talking Talons Youth Leadership. The easiest growth to measure is that of the organizational revenue, but it is how that revenue is translated into the mission that makes for a more profound report. Talking Talons' FY2003 organizational budget dramatically increased from that of 2002. These additional funds are transformed into a buzz of living activity that not doubles, but exponentially returns benefit to the earth and to the community. How is this possible? It is possible through those less measurable phenomena such as passion, dedication, and perseverance. For example, a doubling of the budget might mean a doubling of staff. This is measurable, and undoubtedly good economic development, especially in a time of depression. But the people recruited to Talking Talons share a remarkable enthusiasm to

change their world. They are not satisfied with a 9 to 5 job where success is completing a set of tasks with quality and efficiency. Rather a Talking Talons participant constantly self challenges for a far greater impact. One rarely hears one of our educators discussing their youth leadership programs in terms of how many sessions have been completed. The dialogue usually dances excitedly around a classroom breakthrough, or the unexpected achievement of one child. Neither do you hear one of our animal caretakers boast of how many captive birds we have at the organization. Instead, there are expressions of wonderment when a moment of trust with another species is achieved. Growth for Talking Talons can be easily measured in the number of children served, the number of rehabilitated animals released to the wild, the number of jobs offered, or the total number of presentations delivered to the community. These measures of success are


FY2003 Staff

(not including youth crews)

automatic when revenue increases. What is not automatic but marvelously achieved is the enrichment that this organization leaves at the end of the day... At the end of the year. For children, for wildlife, for the natural places it touches, for the community it serves, and for the ethic of stewardship and protection that defines its mission.

Daniel Abram, Executive Director Laurie Wearne, Program Director Betty Seeley, Operations Manager Jennie Lee, Community Outreach Chris Adams, Prog. Coordinator Lisa Aldon, Program Coordinator Deborah Lowry, Thrift Store Heather Nachor, Thrift Store Robert Jessen, Thrift Store Karie Adrian, Reception Theresa Janson, YCC Crew Leader Tanith Fiedler, YCC Crew Leader Jacob Buckler, YCC Crew Leader Rebecca Auletta , YCC Crew Leader James Newstead, YCC Crew leader Claire Craig, YCC Crew Leader Nathan Lay, YCC Crew Leader Kevin Mohr, YCC Crew Leader

FY2003 Board of Directors

Ann Figueredo, President Janeen Counts, Vice President Elenita Moody, Treasurer Marilyn Jones, Secretary Eric Rasmussen, Director Diana Hererra, Director Robert Lindig, Director Lane Saan, Director Tim de Young, Director Wendy Aeschliman, Founder

measuring change in children

talking talons mission: to elevate youth to become effective advocates and ethical stewards of themselves, wildlife and the environment

Since soon after our incorporation, Talking Talons has been a leader in accountability to funding sources, the public trust, and the individual students that form our client base. Through our rigorous evaluation program, we assure a service that is effective in positively impacting the lives of our children. Outside professional evaluation measures such as pre/post test surveys of our youth compared to matching control groups, focus groups with students, interviews with students, parents and teachers, and tracking of students' exposure levels to the program, are used and analyzed. Evaluation findings, whether positive or negative, are used to make key modifications for next year. In this way, improvement is built in to the curriculum. What we know: Talking Talons students show statistically significant changes such as improved self esteem, improved attitudes toward the environment and conservation, renewed and improved interest in science, and increased scientific knowledge. Further, in FY2003, we discovered through "dosage" tracking and analysis, that students who receive a high exposure to the program exhibit more interest and better attitudes toward school and are less likely to engage in violent behavior. These findings are determined by the professional evaluation team led by Dr. Carmen Sorge and Dr. Teresa Kokoski of the University of New Mexico,

(Continued on page 4)


Talking Talons Youth Leadership, Inc. Annual Report Fiscal Year 2003

a non-profit organization


Talking Talons Youth Leadership, Inc. Annual Report Fiscal Year 2003

a non-profit organization

from the president

One of the things that Talking Talons does so effectively when working with youth and wildlife, is to draw parallels between the obstacles our critters face, and the challenges our kids contend with each day. Talking Talons uses these parallels repeatedly to encourage youth to connect, to question, to form their own positions. As I look back on this year of enormous challenge and growth at Talking Talons, I am struck by the parallel between our own organization and the youth we work with. If every human year is equal to seven dog years, then I would have to conclude that every calendar year must be equal to 1.21 organizational years. That is because Talking Talons, now in its fourteenth year, closely resembles a 17 year old human. We are bursting with potential, but digesting our recent growth spurt. Our allowance, though much bigger than last year and significantly supported by our own "after-school" jobs, just never seems to be enough to do all the things we want to do. Our parents (read: Board/Funding Sources) love and support us, but still impose structure and restrictions. We experienced our first prom with the successful "Mardi Gras in May" Gala Event, but we still don't have a date for next year. We constantly struggle with car/van problems. Like most 17 year olds, we are passionate and vocal about our ideals. It is hard to forge them within the realities of our world, but we possess relentless energy. These challenges are typical for our age, and like the human experience, it is precisely in the struggle that the personal and professional development occurs. While our room is a mess and we have outgrown the trappings reminiscent of our youth, our sights are focused on far more open pastures. Our current facility is bursting at the seams, but our 20 acre land grant from Campbell Corporation has given us a whiff of fresh air, and we are well along in the planning stages for our new facility. We haven't figured out how to pay for all of college just yet, but we are working hard toward established goals and are well positioned to receive merit based scholarships. Our parents will pay for programs and books, but we look to our friends and our contacts to help us make the leap toward independence. While we have matured dramatically, we must prove our worth objectively. Earlier in the year, our Congressman Tom Udall was so impressed by his visit to Talking Talons that he gave a five minute address to Congress on our program. More recently, Talking Talons was selected by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention as one of the ten "Exemplary" programs nationwide. Pretty impressive S.A.T. scores! So don't worry about us taking a wrong turn, or hanging out with the wrong crowd. We are on track, know ourselves and our goals. If the dog-year comparison holds, and the 1.2 ratio remains constant, then we should be graduating and moving into our first apartment in the next 3-5 years! At least, we can try, with a little help from our friends....

fiscal year 2003 expenses by service type

Fundraising Programs and Administrative Services 6% Leadership Center and Conservation Museum 4% Thrift Stores 10%

Animal Rehabilitation and

Talking Talons President of the Board, Ann Figueredo with "Molly"

Captive Care Services 9%

Educational Outreach Services and Wildlife Presentations to Community 9%

Environmental Leadership Training Programs for Youth 62%

Donations of appreciated stock to Talking Talons are tax deductible. For more information, call Sam Cutler at Baird Securities: 1-800-711-6132


Talking Talons Youth Leadership, Inc. Annual Report Fiscal Year 2003

a non-profit organization


Talking Talons Youth Leadership, Inc. Annual Report Fiscal Year 2003

a non-profit organization

fiscal year 2003 income by category*

from the executive director


grants and contracts programs and fee services contributions / membership non-cash contributions thrift store sales interest and other income $ $ $ $ $ $

FY 2003

465,905 16,209 41,590 6,639 82,660 819 $ $ $ $ $ $


349,576 12,343 22,006 6,308 68,517 325

Eight years ago, when I began my own journey of personal growth with Talking Talons Youth Leadership, I had not considered that organizations grow and develop in such similar ways to people and other animals. The individual grows in the context of community. The family, the school, the corner market, the police station--these places and the people who inhabit them, look on and perceive, misunderstand, praise, help, punish, nurture... The wild animal is also perceived in myriad ways as it grows in its context, the habitat. To the predator it is an opportunity, so the animal runs faster to escape. To the mother it may be a burden, so the animal mimics and learns quickly how to fend for itself. To the sibling it is a playmate, so the animal enjoys moments of worry free tumbling and wrestling. The growth of the organization is as much molded by the environment in which it occurs as is the animal or the person. Its genetics are its codes ­ by-laws, a purpose and mission statement, a curriculum, policies and procedures. In its environment there are partnerships, competitors, benefactors, government regulations. Its food source, its funding, may be abundant some seasons and sparse others. Its muscles and brain, the people who bring it all to life, may be very efficient and working properly or may become tired, infected or injured. One thing is for sure though, the organization that is unable to adapt to an always unpredictable, sometimes dangerous environment, will surely perish. Eight years ago, Talking Talons was a strong and vigorous child. It had a sound idea and some indications that it would grow up to be a strong leader. Its muscles and brain were one full time staff, one part time, a volunteer founder and executive director, a Board of well intended folks, and a handful of educational wild animals. Today it is a fleshed out young adult. With a full time staff of eleven, a part time staff of five, and a seasonal youth staff of six to fifty, the Talking Talons circle of influence in the environment is considerable. Its wild, non-releasable animals, those unique and wonderful teaching tools and ambassadors for nature, have become a diverse and magnificent collection. Its Board, still well intended, is now an actively visionary, structured force of fundraising and guidance. Even its genetics have evolved. The curriculum delivered to youth has expanded in its written form and is winning awards. Its by-laws and policies have been enhanced, its organizational structure has grown more complex, and its financial accounting practices are fully audited and more rigorous. In its environment, eight years later, other remarkable changes have occurred. Indeed funding ebbs and flows, but contributions from individuals have grown stronger, and there are now two active Talking Talons thrift stores that generate badly needed funds for animal care and transportation. People are really starting to notice Talking Talons. Where once TT solicited schools to host our programs, now schools are asking TT to please serve their classrooms. Talking Talons has forged a sense of trust in the communities it serves. It has been identified by multiple government grant-making agencies as the "model contractor." It is seen as accountable, effective and worthy. In my experience with this organization, these are the foundations that will assure TT's survival in rapidly changing world. We might lose funding with economic downswings, our animals might battle unforeseeable diseases like West Nile or Exotic Newcatsle, or our staff may change over. These are organizational realities for us. But being consistently respected and trusted in the world around us will prove to be our greatest adaptation.

Talking Talons Executive Director, Daniel Abram

total revenue

Fiscal year 2003 grant program agencies





Talking Talons is grateful for the ongoing support of the following agencies and foundations: · · · · · · ·

New Mexico Department of Health / Behavioral Health Services Division for youth development and substance abuse prevention services New Mexico Department of Health / Public Health Division for youth tobacco use prevention and control and youth development services New Mexico Youth Conservation Corps for youth employment, youth development, animal care and habitat restoration services Bernalillo County Social Services for youth development and educational outreach services within Bernalillo County National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for environmental education for youth and habitat restoration services The McCune Charitable Foundation for general operating support The Sierra Club Foundation for outdoor education and habitat restoration services

* independent auditor's report and its audited financial statements in accordance with auditing standards generally accepted in the United States of America prepared by Kharyn Cover, CPA.


Talking Talons Youth Leadership, Inc. Annual Report Fiscal Year 2003

a non-profit organization


heartfelt thanks

Talking Talons Youth Leadership, Inc. Annual Report Fiscal Year 2003

a non-profit organization

measuring change in children, continued -- national recognition

(Continued from page 1)

College of Education. In fact, the success of the Talking Talons Curriculum and its outcomes have caught national attention in FY 2003. The Centers for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) a program of the United States Health and Human Services, awarded Talking Talons its annual Exemplary Substance Abuse Prevention Program Award, an honor bestowed on only ten programs in the country. This award acknowledges the organization's ability to provide its services in a scientific, logical format that utilizes sound research, thorough needs assessments, and measurable objectives that address the needs of the selected students. Though Talking Talons is not experienced by the youth as a drug prevention program, the outcomes demonstrated indicate that the curriculum reduces certain "risk factors" that have been found through previous national studies to be associated with or a predictor for substance use in later years. These are constructs such as violent behavior, negative peer influences, rebelliousness, and high levels of stress. Further, Talking Talons has been found to enhance those characteristics that tend be resistant to substances use, primarily interest in school and sense of self worth. And all these changes are occurring along with other important ones. Students who receive the program demonstrate increased ethical decision making skills, more scientific knowledge, and a new or renewed interest in science. The latter is especially significant, especially for girls, whose interest in science has been shown to wane at the 5th and 6th grade levels. Through exposure to wildlife, empathy building exercises, human-animal connections, science lessons, advocacy and self presentation training, and more, Talking Talons offers a remarkable real life experience that touches the mind and the heart of the child. Profoundly, measurably.

Talking Talons offers the most sincere thank you to all of the 2003 contributors. Your caring and generosity is making a measurable difference in the lives of children and wildlife.

next steps -- an egg in the talking talons nest

Several programmatic goals have been established since the recognition of Talking Talons as an exemplary national program. Further data collection is now more essential than ever. With consistent demonstration of statistically viable positive findings caused by the Talking Talons Youth Leadership Curriculum, publication in a peer reviewed journal of youth development, psychology, environmental education, or substance use will be pursued. Following that benchmark, Talking Talons can move forward and develop the financial and human resources infrastructure to replicate the Talking Talons program in another area of New Mexico, or in another state. Though this is simply stated, the challenge ahead is immense. Extensive testing of our youth participants must be conducted each year to determine which areas of the program are effective and which require modification. Further, students who "resemble" those participants, demographically, but do not receive the program must also be tested as a control. Testing activities can be difficult. Students today are barraged with a battery of tests relating to their academic performance. All testing of minors must be conducted with parent consent. Understandably, parents have become somewhat gun shy of testing. Further, under the Federal Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA), school systems are obligated to provide parents with detailed information about their rights to refuse their children's participation in studies. Many parents feel that even posing questions about drug use and other risk behavior, no matter how age adapted the verbiage, is an inappropriate exposure. Talking Talons, however, utilizes a variety of instruments that relate to a child's positive assets, such as their sense of self worth, their bonding to school, and their attitudes toward science, animals and protecting natural resources; constructs important to our organizational mission, and usually perceived as benign to parents. Talking Talons will face the testing challenge for the expected outcome is worth the effort. We believe that exposure to and advocacy for wild animals and environmental issues is the cause for a variety of positive internal changes. The students adopt a mission of service and, through that pursuit, experience cognitive and emotional growth, and protection from risk behaviors. Once these outcomes are consistently proven through the scientific method, our curriculum will be ready to be used at another site, perhaps another part of the country. Replicating the Talking Talons program will be remarkably more difficult than other youth development programs. The best educators and managers can be recruited in a community that wants or needs the program, but one big piece would still be missing. The animals. A new location would mean a new set of nonreleasable hawks, falcons and owls and the permits, staff and facilities to house and care for them. This means money. And this brings us back to the evaluation of the program again. In order to secure the additional resources associated with replicating a program, prospective funding sources must be assured that the service they are purchasing really works. So the goal of replication is an egg that Talking Talons incubates. The fledgling hawk that will emerge will be nurtured diligently until its mother is assured that it can fly, hunt, and replicate on its own. Until then she works, and waits.

Tippy, a healthy burrowing owl used for Talking Talons educational programs. Tippy was struck by an automobile and suffered a head trauma that causes him an occasional head tip and equilibrium problem. He flies somewhat crooked, making him unable to catch his own prey. He is adapting well to his new life in captivity. He is undeniably cute, an asset that only enhances the conservation messages associated with his species and his own personal story.

Marjorie Abraham Stephen & Pamela Abram Daniel Abram Academy Animal Clinic John & Christine Acklen Edwin & Susan Albright Albuquerque Cat Action Team Albuquerque Veterinary Association Sydna Allen Animal Emergency Clinic Ronald Aparo & Patricia Foster Rhonda Arkana Ellen Ashcraft Bank Of The West Laura & Kevin Banks Bobbie Barth John & Julia Beach Donald Beebe & Larie Allen David & Karen Beeson Best Friends Pet Cremation Services Earle & Doris Bjorkman Karen Blackmore Susan Blair Bob Bovinette & Yvonne Truesdell Col. C.D. & Beti Briscoe Ann Brown Edwin & Teresa Bryce Michael & Sheril Budagher Wiliam & Zelpha Bulow Campbell Corporation Phil Campbell Robert Campbell Frank & Evelyn Candelaria Canyon Crossroads Animal Hospital Mark & Debbie Carroll Charles & Cindy Carson Central New Mexico Audubon Society Hugh & Kathleen Church Clark's Pet Emporium Frank & Patricia Condon Michael Coop Carolyn Cooper & Kevin Hamann John Cope & Anne Rose Margaret Counts Kharyn Cover Mark Crawford & Carol Tunnell Richard & Carolyn Crombie Robert & Elizabeth Crowder Susan & Randy Cunningham Joy Dale Mariwade Douglas Dorothy & Willis Duff Denise & Mark Duffy Talley Dunn Sara Evans Eve Facemures Julie Ferguson & Eunice Lyons Ann & Vincent Figueredo Steven & Linda Fisher Cheryl Ford

Robert Foster Jack & Helen Fuller Wesley & Margaret Furman Elizabeth Galbraith GCC Rio Grande, Inc. John & Candace Gillis Girl Scout Troup 1013 Peter & Linda Gordinier David Gordon & Sharon Walker Steven & Christine Grabiel Gregory Grannan Linda Gregg Ronald & Patricia Gustafson Janet & Stan Hafenfeld Lorraine Hamilton Sharon Hanson Glenn & Bettye Haste Harold & Effie Havens Gregory & Tammy Hebner Steve & Theresa Higgins Steven & Lilly Hill Richard & Deborah Hoffman Susan Hoines Mary Hotson Imprimatur, LLC Intermountain Color J. Nick Leitch & Co. Del Jack & Robin Schalk JDL Products Elisabeth Jennings Marilyn Jones Julie Kidder Roger & Patricia Knutsson William & Geredene Kovac Fred & Laura Kusumoto Lynette Lincoln Robert Lindig Lockheed Martin Dennis & Lisa Logsdon Bonnie Long Mitsue Longfellow Alden & Ruth Luhrs Robert & Maureen Luna Manor Care of Sandia April Marlow & Tom Temple Debra Matthew & Kenneth Brown Paula McAllister James & Lamoyne McCaulley Nancy & Thomas McConnell William & Janice McIlroy McNamara, M. Colleen Kristi & Kenneth Meunier Abby Miller Jerry & Judith Miller Lynn & Susan Miller Suzi Miller Paul & Carol Milligan Modrall, Sperling, Roehl, Harris & Sisk, PA Henry & Christine Morrison New Mexico Veterinary Medicine Assoc. Susan Nicosia William & Geraleen Nielsen

New Mexico Bank & Trust Oden-Miller & Associates George & Lou O'Sullivan David Pecore & Linda Barbour Petroglyph Animal Hospital Virginia Pickering Billie Poteet & Timothy Cox Molly Reddington Robert & Marjorie Reed Reflective Images Jimmie & Julie Reneau Steven & Lorinda Rezac C.E. & Carol Ring Matthew Rotunno Teri & Ronald Rupert Lane Saan Dorothy Sabino Santa Fe Prep School Richard & Ruth Schalk Richard Schoenbeck Mark & Janine Sears John Seeley David & Rebecca Sise John & Donna Sloan Sidney & Jacquelyn Sommers Sparling Construction Co. Sports & Wellness Virginia Squires Mary Stover William Sullivan & Nance Crow Richard & Patricia Swanson Tardy & Company Kathleen Taylor John Thilsted, Jr. Hilary & Andrew Thompson Sei Tokuda Tramway Animal Medical John T. Tyson Steven & Amy Ung United Methodist Women Veterinary Surgical Specialists Lowell & Patricia Wagner Kenneth & Joanne Walston Robert & Jane Watson Laurie Wearne Todd Webster Maurcena E. Wells Trudy Welty D. Bruce & Patricia West David & Susan West Charlotte Whitcomb Robert & Julie Workhoven Dianne & David Worley Melanie Zucker


Talking Talons Youth Leadership, Inc. Annual Report Fiscal Year 2003

a non-profit organization


Talking Talons Youth Leadership, Inc. Annual Report Fiscal Year 2003

a non-profit organization

wildlife rehabilitation and captive care -- staying positive

You should always choose your attitude, preferably a positive one, when doing a job. Some jobs, however, require considerably more effort. There is nothing worse than looking at a hawk with its head turned toward the bottom of a cardboard box, emaciated and without any of the vigor that several days before had it soaring over the Sandia Mountains. It is worse still to know that this dejected and crippled creature was taken out of the sky by way of deliberate gunshot. When a raptor has been downed for many days without food or water, chances for survival are slim. It usually goes one of two ways. The more common outcome is death. With some luck and careful treatment, however, there may be hope. Before examining any of the bird's wounds, it is important to treat the emaciated victim for shock. If the gunshot did not hit vital organs, the starved bird must be immediately hydrated. In fact, feeding a bird that has been deprived of sustenance for so long is usually fatal. For the first 24 hours electrolytic fluids (such as lactated ringers or even, in a pinch, diluted Gatorade) fed through a tube that goes directly to the stomach is the key. Following that, the next 24 hours is not much different; more electrolytes and some liquid nourishment. Once the bird is stabilized a more invasive examination of its injuries can occur that may include radiology (provided generously by Dr. Janeen Counts of Canyon Crossroads Animal Hospital, a veterinarian, long term supporter and former Vice president of the Board). Solid food is worked up to, starting with meat baby food, then small slivers of raw chicken, then small pieces of mice, including bones and fur, which raptors eat in the wild. All these activities are regulated. Not anyone may rehabilitate migratory birds. Besides training, special permitting from both the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is required. Even after a successful rehabilitation, when the patient is eating and flying vigorously and has demonstrated the ability to catch and kill live prey, the lack of conditioning it experiences during its captive Either way, the acts of caring associated convalescence will put it at a distinct disadwith healing an injured wild animal are vantage back in the wild. For this and other ones that occur in the moment. They are important reasons, re-release should occur concerned with immediate, simple and as close as possible to the location where worthy goals common across culture or the animal was found. A familiar territory perspective: reduce fear, eliminate pain, can help, but the chances for survival are still give comfort and regain health. greatly reduced. Knowing that life in the wild is usually a short one anyway, one might What do you do though, when your mind ask, "why bother?" Is the time and expense, returns to the cause of the injury. Many both monetary and emotional, justified hours of each week are spent providing knowing the fucare while it took ture for the paonly seconds to tient may be quite take aim and fire. bleak? The anTo control an swer is twofold. upwelling of anger One justification or a sense of futilis practical. If a ity and regain the bird or a bat ability to choose survives but reyour attitude, it is mains permaoften helpful to nently maimed, it gaze deeply into may be possible the eyes of your to list that animal successes. To on another perlive again, as mit--one that they do, in the allows Talking moment and Talons to use it A burrowing owl, victim of a gunshot. simply apprecias an educational These unique little owls adopt abandoned ate the proanimal for our prairie dog borrows for protection and found beauty of many programs, nesting. They are, as the prairie dogs, easy the life you have presentations and targets when they emerge from their holes other outreach saved. Partition to hunt and survey. Harming birds of prey efforts. Though your emotions. is illegal--a Federal offense--which may not the outcome Save that pent require better enforcement. Talking Talhoped for, at ons' approach is to turn these tragedies up anger for least a sanctuary into motivating teaching experiences. later when you and can be proare more in vided, and thoucontrol of it. Transform it into dysands of children can benefit from the exnamic and effective persuasion for an perience of witnessing a live wild creature, audience of young listeners. Try to up close. The other justification for trying is embrace the ignorance of others as more intangible. Talking Talons is an organization that was founded on hope and nurturjust that, ignorance that can be elimiing. These sentiments drive our work with nated with well designed and delivered children as much as with animals. You may educational efforts. Give others also prefer to consider a good deed as a form of the opportunity to gaze into those positive "energy" that is contributed to the vibrant, and perhaps grateful eyes. world or universe, or take a more causal approach, where one good deed may serve Daniel Abram, Executive Director as an inspiration for others to follow suit.

FY03 service programs for youth and families

School Based Youth Leadership and Environmental Advocacy Programs: These programs form the service foundation for the TTYL. Our capable facilitators, trained in environmental education, substance abuse prevention, leadership theory and behavior intervention techniques, make weekly visits to classrooms of targeted students. The young trainees, through safe and intimate experiences with TTYL's collection of rehabilitated nonreleasable birds of prey, bats, and reptiles develop a sense of duty to protect and advocate for the natural world. Their training in communication and public speaking skills is enhanced by a variety of unique and interactive exercises in team-building, role playing, debate, and lateral thinking. The culmination of their work is (a) active participation in outreach presentations to their peers and other community groups, in which they speak and demonstrate with the live animals, and (b) a group conservation / service-learning project that leaves a lasting benefit to the school or larger community. School based programs typically last the entire school year and are integrated with science or special education curriculums. These programs, through rigorous evaluation, have been shown to effect significant positive changes in the areas of self esteem, knowledge, and attitudes towards science and school. Conversely, TTYL interventions also are effective in reducing common risk factors such as violent tendencies, stress, impulsivity, and rebelliousness. Parent/child days are also included throughout the school year extending the program to the family domain. Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Programs: Efforts are focused in the Edgewood/Moriarty areas where teen smoking behavior has become all too commonplace. Prevention efforts at the eighth and ninth grade levels are offered. Youth cessation programs are provided for students who already smoking and have made a commitment to quit while alternative-to-suspension sessions are offered for referrals from school and teen court. The success of the program is through its ability to frame smoking as an environmental issue ­ an epidemic ­ rather than as a punishable offense. TTYL draws connections with the students between other environmental catastrophes where a toxin or carcinogen has entered the biological domain and caused severe morbidity and mortality. Further, as the focus of these programs is not entirely on tobacco use itself, but also on wildlife and advocacy, adopting a mission becomes one of the key tools for internal resistance. These programs are partially run by a group of late high school, early college age paid interns who, in addition, conduct community education campaigns about the dangers of environmental tobacco smoke. Young Adult Professional Development ­ The Youth Conservation Corps: The logical next step in human development extends into the domain of employment. Each year, TTYL hires up to forty young adults (ages 14 to 25) for paid positions in environmental stewardship. For many participants, this represents their first employment experience. For other older students with more supervisory experience, Crew Leaser positions offer exciting people management challenges. The work requirement is approximately 30 hours/week for six month periods. Projects, which occur at the Leadership Center and in the community, are varied, challenging, and skill building. From summer camp counseling to critical habitat restoration on public lands, participants walk away with a renewed sense of civic responsibility and, possibly, new career directions. Educational and training workshops such as tool use and construction and public speaking are offered to the recruits. Summer Leadership Science Camp: Designed for youth ages 7 to 14, this ever popular two-week day camp balances science, research, and advocacy with fun and creativity. Each summer, an environmental issue, such as water consumption, or dependency on fossil fuels, is focused upon. The curriculum is enhanced with art projects, outdoor recreation, exercise and more. The session ends with a well researched mock public policy debate about the issue at hand. Students are assigned community roles for which they act, and dress the part using second hand clothes from the TTYL thrift Store. Youth Volunteer Opportunities: A variety of opportunities are offered. Youth may docent the tours of the Leadership Center and Living Conservation Museum or engage in training programs for animal care or teacher assistant positions. Outreach Education: Occurring throughout the year, youth and staff transport the wildlife to schools, nursing homes, community groups and special events for an unforgettable one-hour discussion of environmental issues using the animals as living examples of how we have the power to squander or conserve our natural resources. Shows are adapted to varying age groups, special needs or topics of interest. Other forms of outreach include guided interpretive hikes along the San Pedro Creek, unique and fun benefits, and the dissemination of Migrations, the Talking Talons Newsletter.

The audience is watching and listening. In 2003,

People were reached through one-hour outreach educational wildlife presentations



n the beginning before we started this, I really didn't pay attention to my environment or to the animals or anything. I mean I never pay attention. And then when they bring in all animals and what happened to them with the rocks and the shooting and the cars and stuff, it kind of changed my whole attitude about everything."


the land

Talking Talons Youth Leadership, Inc. Annual Report Fiscal Year 2003

a non-profit organization


Talking Talons Youth Leadership, Inc. Annual Report Fiscal Year 2003

a non-profit organization

vision of a new facility

Coupled with technology, Permaculture can be a powerful tool for guiding us into a sustainable future--one that fells trees to build habitats that balance the forces of nature without pollutants, toxins or waste. We begin by understanding the system outside of ourselves. I intend to create a teaching tool in simple lingo to understand the thought process behind deciding to build where we will build and the thought process behind where we placed ourselves within the landscape. After all, we are a part of the landscape, not superior to it." Carol Tunell, Architect

In 1995, when the non-profit organization Talking Talons Youth Leadership moved out of the home of its founder and into its current location in Tijeras, opportunities opened that were previously impossible. The little "recycled house" on less than an acre, nestled between Canyon Crossroads Animal Hospital and the quaint gift store Another Place in Time, provided the organization with room to grow. Several small mews, or flight cages for birds of prey were constructed; the one or two staff members actually had office space; a summer science camp for small groups of children was now possible; and people had a place to deliver or report injured wildlife they encountered. It was a marvelous new frontier for the organization and the children it served. A tour through the Leadership Center today is an exercise in choreography and space management. With ten full time employees and a seasonal youth staff of fifty, visitors may definitely feel the buzz of conservation at work. Not to mention the animals. The birds and bats, the showstoppers of Talking Talons' educational outreach programs, have wings; they need space. Several of these beautiful creatures are already housed offsite. The many animals and people represent the current, and ever increasing, scope of work that Talking Talons takes on each year. All those employees are busy training children about wildlife and stewardship of the natural world, training injured hawks to feel comfortable around children, building signs and educational displays, restoring wildlife habitat, maintaining nature trails, advocating for human health, writing curricula, fundraising, grant writing, and so many more activities to make the mission a reality for the community and the environment. Each year another 400 youth are trained to become leaders through the pursuit of science and the advocacy of those living things whose voice goes too often unheard. They, and the animals that accompany them, in turn educate about 20,000 New Mexicans each year. Twenty acres of high desert prairie and piñon-juniper woodland now await the arrival of Talking Talons. On this site, provided by the Campbell Corporation, fresh air and enchanted sunlight will recharge and refresh the busy dedicated efforts of the organization. The staff, the Board of Directors, and other involved citizens have envisioned a facility that serves to live by example. The Leadership Center and Living Conservation Museum will be, in itself, a conservation project. Its architect, Carol Tunell, a permaculture expert, is currently analyzing the energies of the site. How does water drain? How does the wind flow? How does the sun orient on the slopes? How can a building that teaches conservation of natural resources actually, itself, conserve natural resources? Meanwhile, the staff and Board are grinding out spaces. How many offices will we need? What about in ten years? What should the fruit bat exhibit be like? Do we really need to build that space when there is a school just down the road? The new Talking Talons facility will be a challenging project as it integrates not only the programs it will house with the existing natural beauty of the land, but also with the multitude of zoning and political constraints, and the public input from neighbors and other community members. The end result, however, will be a model conservation and youth development facility in one. And that is the way it should be. Conservation does not occur without the dedication of the people who care about it and the investment of the surrounding community. Talking Talons believes that youth development, the future success of any child's life, depends on a profound reconnection with nature. To someone who has never heard of Talking Talons, the experience of the Leadership Center and Conservation Museum will be one that can be returned to over and over again. To see live animals so up close is a gift in itself. To learn that if you change your thinking about your back yard, it suddenly becomes wildlife habitat ­ and you can even enhance that effect. Let us witness the future being built before your eyes ­ not the building itself ­ but the living energy of children at work to protect what's left of trees, grasses, streams, birds, insects, bats, mammals, clear sky, breathable air, and the enchanted New Mexico sun. Daniel Abram Executive Director

Our fiscal year began with an unprecedented gift that has profoundly informed the direction of our organization. The Campbell Corporation, a prominent land development services group, announced their contribution of a 99-year lease of Tract D of the San Pedro Overlook Project currently underway. The parcel is twenty acres of high desert prairie in close proximity to the San Pedro Creek. Though the landscape is rather eroded from previous uses, it is recovering nicely. Presently, it serves Talking Talons as an outdoor classroom for young adult interns and a group of elementary school children from San Antonito Elementary School who are learning erosion control techniques to employ in certain designated areas. In fact, erosion control and other land management strategies based in the science of permaculture have been the approaches of choice since the generous gift from Campbell. Talking Talons architect, Carol Tunell has completed a site analysis focused on the only logical jumping off point for any new development--respect for the land and its energies. Carol has these words about her process:

"I am a student of Permaculture design. This is an ongoing process, as the les-

sons are as numerous and as vast as nature itself. Each project is site specific and begins with a thorough study to understand the natural systems that already exist at that location. These systems are beneficial and should not be changed. Our efforts to build on these systems require careful, thoughtful action. Our intent is to be an asset, not a detriment. The procedure that we will follow for the Talking Talons project is not complicated. It is logical and humble, led by the land itself. If you take care of the Earth, you automatically take care of the inhabitants. The challenge then is deciding upon and choosing techniques and materials that will take care rather than destroy. The challenge is installing a design that allows us to co-exist with nature rather that eliminate part of it to make room for ourselves. The stories associated with the animals cared for by Talking Talons teach us that all things are connected. When we ignore these connections we become potentially destructive. When we embrace these connections we become potentially abundant.

Our cities often separate museums into categories of Science, Art and Natural History as if nothing is connected. The Talking Talons organization intends to demonstrate that nature is Science, Art and Natural History through its own project with a living museum of examples to inspire the community to copy and learn from. Permaculture design is not an invention. It is a rebirth of old wisdom accumulated by indigenous people. It is pattern language restored for our practical use.

View of the south slope of the Talking Talons permanent site from the San Pedro Creek, just north of Campbell Corporation's San Pedro Creek Estates Sales Office



6 pages

Find more like this

Report File (DMCA)

Our content is added by our users. We aim to remove reported files within 1 working day. Please use this link to notify us:

Report this file as copyright or inappropriate


You might also be interested in

Microsoft Word - New Mexico Coalitions 10-07.doc