Special open house celebration to highlight new additions

An open house will be held November 18, 2011 at the Werner Wildlife Museum to celebrate the newest additions to the museum: a prairie falcon, golden eagle, and bald eagle. Two versions of the open house will be held, one from 1 to 3 p.m. and another one from 4 to 7 p.m.

The afternoon open house is geared for school groups, and homeschoolers, and will feature educational activities created by the Casper College museum studies students. The 4 to 7 p.m. open house is geared toward all ages, according to Valerie Innella, museum studies instructor.

According to Kelsey Deus, Werner Wildlife Museum curator and biology instructor, the three mounts were transferred to the Werner from Scottsbluff National Monument in Scottsbluff, Neb.

“Obtaining any eagle specimen is quite difficult due to a standing U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director’s Order 69, which mandates that all eagle parts and carcasses be sent to a national repository. From that repository, the parts are distributed to Native Americans for religious practices and art. Only after all Native American requests are filled, can eagles be distributed for academic purposes. The number of requests from Native Americans for eagles and eagle parts far exceeds the availability, and museums across the country have a difficult time getting specimens for display for educational purposes,” Deus explained.

In April of this year, Deus submitted an application to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife for an eagle exhibition permit on behalf of the Werner Wildlife Museum. “Senator John Barrasso’s office submitted a Congressional Inquiry letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife office to support our application. Shortly after receiving the application and the letter from Senator Barrasso’s office, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Denver contacted me with an offer to transfer the mounts from the Scottsbluff National Monument to the Werner Wildlife Museum. Since the mounts were preserved through taxidermy prior to the enactment of Director’s Order 69, they are exempt from the order, and are now on display at the Werner with permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife,” Deus said.

The exhibit, which features the three new specimens is entitled “Wyoming Birds that Bite Back,” and was curated by students enrolled in the fall semester museum studies class at Casper College. In addition to preparing for the open house, and working on a number of other specimens in the museum’s collection, the students created several educational activities for visitors in the museum and educators’ classrooms to foster learning more about birds and their habitats.

Along with the new additions to the Werner, the open house will also feature tours, refreshments, and a collection of works inspired by the museum’s collection – ceramic pieces created by Casper College advanced ceramics students, and two wire sculptures created by a metal art student at the school.

Both open houses are free and open to the public. The Werner Wildlife Museum is located at 405 E. 15th next to the Casper Family YMCA.

Contact: Lisa S. Pearce Icenogle