Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Crazy For Condors

The school program has begun! Wonderful e-mails are coming in! People are jumping on at the last minute! I've been crazed!

But I just have to share today's amazing adventure with you. Quick back story: The latest Sammy Keyes book (Sammy Keyes and the Wild Things)is a backpacking adventure where Sammy joins a bunch of eco-nutty girls who are dying to see a condor in the wild. Sammy thinks they're out of their mind, but by the story's end, she gets it.

Various combinations of my siblings, Scout troop, and friends spent years searching the forest and skies for a glimpse of a condor, so when I wrote Wild Things, I had lots of backpacking experience to draw from (and make total fun of).

When I was researching Wild Things, I discovered that a news anchor friend of mine was putting together a feature story about the condor recovery program (for which she went on to win an Emmy). Because of her position, she was allowed access to the release of a condor that had been kept and nurtured by a recovery team...and she offered to sneak me along as her "field producer."

In all those years of backpacking, I never actually saw a condor, so I was crushed when I learned that the release date was during a week that I was traveling out of state.

A year went by, and last week she called again with a second chance for me. The recovery team was ready to release two more condors into the wild, and once again she offered to sneak me along as her field producer. So today I spent the day awed by condors. There were about ten inside the flight pen and two perched on top (wild ones, dropping by to say hello), plus about a half dozen that cruised through the sky overhead during the day. With a nearly 10 foot wingspan, these pictures don't do this amazing bird justice.

Now back to sending out t-shirts, answering teachers' e-mails, and really, I've got to get to the dishes. Man, you should see my kitchen!

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