Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center will welcome the organization donating a baby Barn Owl to the nature center this Saturday, at 1 p.m. The owl is being donated by Love, Erin, based in Asheville, N.C. The baby barn owl, whose name will be unveiled on Saturday, will be present on Saturday for a limited time for pictures.
“We were in the process of acquiring a barn owl from World Bird Sanctuary in St.
Louis,” said Taylor Berry, director of Avian Conservation at Reflection Riding
. “Christie Pickel, founder of Love, Erin, reached out to ask about donating to the animals in the nature center.”
When Mr. Berry mentioned to Ms. Pickel that Reflection Riding was in the process of securing a baby barn owl to be part of their educational program, Ms. Pickel offered to provide the remaining funding for the new owl. “Love, Erin has gone above and beyond my expectations to provide Reflection Riding with everything that we need to raise and properly take care of this owl,” Mr. Berry said.
Love, Erin was founded in 2019 after the passing of Ms. Pickel’s daughter, 18-year-old Erin McKamey Pickel. Its mission is to spread Erin’s love by helping those in need by giving out Love, Erin totes. These totes hold baby wipes, food, school supplies, clothing and first aid kits and are given out in memory of Erin.
The idea for Ms. Pickel and the Love, Erin organization to donate to Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature came from Erin McKamey Pickel’s pediatrician and former Reflection Riding member, John Paschal. Owls were Erin’s favorite animal.
Typically, Reflection Riding only takes in wild animals that have been injured and need rehabilitation. The new barn owl will be the first animal brought in solely for educational purposes. Baby owls do best when brought into captivity as opposed to adult owls. “We will be able to properly train this owl for education purposes,” Mr. Berry sad, “because it will have had no previous negative experiences interacting with humans. We will be able to teach this animal to be as calm and stress free as possible with its interactions around the public especially in classroom settings."
It will take about a year to prepare the owl for the programs offered by Reflection Riding.