THE TALON

A Recap of the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition

Fun in the sun complete with birds, puppies, and everything in between

PAUL MULKEY

PAUL MULKEY

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An annual southern tradition, founded in 1982, the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition took place two weeks ago in Downtown Charleston as it has been for the last several years. Over the years the event has grown from a small community show into a huge weekend spanning exposition complete with over five hundred exhibitors and nearly forty-thousand attendees. The event invites local artisans, vendors, and wildlife specialists as well as members of these communities from all over the Southeastern region to come and spend the day appreciating southern wildlife. The event focuses on spreading awareness of endangered local species as well as founding a culture of appreciation for protecting the environment. Some of the features of the event included specialists from The Center for Birds of Prey, an organization for which one of our very own Magnet seniors, Belle Valiulis, is a longtime volunteer and expert. Belle attended the expo all three days and was a presenter for Birds of Prey, at one point she was even spotted carrying a large osprey around on her arm. I spoke to her about the event as a whole and asked her some hard-hitting questions about what protecting the local wildlife means to her.

Belle, how was your experience working the convention?

“It was a beautiful weekend filled with lots of learning and appreciation of our local birds. I also loved seeing all the cute hunting dog puppies people had brought to show.”

What was your job at the convention?

“I helped by handling birds and telling people about different birds native to our area (all which can be found at the Charleston Center for Birds of Prey). I spent my time holding the birds and answering any questions the event goers had. I also gave out conservation advice on how to protect the endangered species. “

Why is conservation of local species, particularly birds, important to you?

“I loved helping people advance their enthusiasm for wildlife and watching their amazement in such close proximity with wild animals. Over all it was a very successful even which I look forward to participating in for years to come. “”

— Belle Valiulis

Belle was not the only Magnet student touched by the weekend’s events as another magnet senior, Sam Kendal described the expo as his “favorite event of the year” and he is eagerly awaiting next years.

Overall this years SEWE event was a success and undoubtedly inspired future southern generations to conserve and protect their native wildlife.

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