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Volunteers help wildlife thrive

Volunteers for Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationists will build platforms for Ospreys nests on Saturday.
Volunteers for Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationists will build platforms for Ospreys nests on Saturday. North Carolina Wildlife Federation

I often hear owls calling out from the woods around our house just before the sunrise. I had never actually seen one though – at least not in the urban wilderness.

Then one morning I heard the sound right outside my bathroom window. I peaked through the blinds. The grand, majestic creature was clinging to the side of a tree maybe 12 feet away. I was thrilled.

It was barely light enough to see, but I could just make out its spotted feathers. I hadn’t expected this predator, perhaps a barred owl, to be so big. I stood there smiling, and then it was gone.

“Oh, my gosh,” I said when I saw the incredible wingspan, which at the time seemed like maybe 6 feet or more.

As delightful as the moment was, it didn’t occur to me that perhaps I should take steps to make sure others could have a moment of awe like my own. Then I spoke with Tim Gestwicki, CEO for the North Carolina Wildlife Federation. He made it clear there is much we all can do to improve our surroundings for wildlife and our enjoyment of it.

Gestwicki and volunteers with Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationists were getting ready for a service project on Saturday. The volunteers will help create nesting sites for ospreys and plant native aquatic wildflowers to reduce erosion, among other things.

Fortunately, there will be other opportunities to get involved. Visit ncwf.org to learn about upcoming projects in or near your neighborhood.

Karen’s blog: charlotteobserver.com/living/home-garden/smarter-living/homelife-blog/; on Twitter @sullivan_kms. See earlier Homelife columns at http://homelifeclt.blogspot.com.

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