Not everyone gets shipped a cooler full of dead owls, but Alyssa Johnson isn’t everyone.
An environmental educator at the Montezuma Audubon Center, Johnson is bringing a whole new level of programming to the local bird branch — dissection. With about 30 dead barred owls at her disposal, Johnson will be offering a workshop in March for people to participate in (or just watch) as the bird’s anatomy is examined.
“There’s a lot of potential to learn from it,” she said. “I’m inviting people if they want to just come and watch, they’re more than welcome, but I also have dissection kits and birds and gloves, so everyone can explore with gloves if they want to, because it’s a very unique thing. Everyone has a fascination with biology, and you don’t very often get to do something like this outside of school.”
Johnson, who taught owl dissection at Finger Lakes Community College prior to working at the Audubon center, said it took some convincing to bring the program to her new job. The organization, she said, typically focuses its events on living birds through bird watches and counts, or presentations by rehabilitators and the like.