Baby Owl’s Rescue featured in The Baltimore Sun

Author Jennifer Keats Curtis with wildlife specialist Kathy Woods.

Author Jennifer Keats Curtis with wildlife specialist Kathy Woods.

Jennifer Keats Curtis, author of the Fall 2009 title Baby Owl’s Rescue, was highlighted in The Baltimore Sun! Read an excerpt of the story here!

A Lesson in Nature: Arnold, MD author relays
vital tips on wildlife rehabilitation

Almost everyone likes animals at least a little, but there’s that handful who are born “animal people.” So says Jennifer Keats Curtis.

They pull over for wounded pigeons. They take in orphaned cats. They’re the ones the neighbors stop by to visit if a stray mutt comes calling.

It doesn’t mean they know what they’re doing.

Jennifer Keats Curtis (center) and fans in Baltimore, MD.

Jennifer Keats Curtis (center) and fans in Baltimore.

“So many people want to help animals, but honestly, a good heart isn’t enough,” says Curtis, a veteran journalist and children’s author whose fourth illustrated book, “Baby Owl’s Rescue,” debuts under the Sylvan Dell insignia next month. “If you don’t know some basics and follow the right steps, you can do more harm than good.”

The book, Curtis’ fourth, deals with a brother and sister who must figure out what to do when they stumble on a baby owl that has fallen from its nest. It’s based, in part, on the teachings of Kathy Woods, a wildlife expert who lives in Baltimore County.

Like all of Curtis’ books, it aims to help children learn, in her words, “what’s best for these wonderful animals who live right in our backyards.”

An Arnold resident, the author used to be such a kid. When she was 8, she and her little brother, Matthew, found a cute but badly injured rabbit in their Severna Park backyard and tried to nurse it back to health.

They kept it in a box, made it a nest, gave it a carrot and plenty of water, and watched, hoping they could will it back to life with love.

To their horror, it died.

“It’s one of my regrets,” says Curtis, 40.

If only she had known someone like Woods at the time.

Starting young

Kathy Woods grew up overseas, the daughter of a civil engineer. Her dream was to be a veterinarian. But her parents didn’t think it was fit work for a girl, so she ended up running doctors’ offices for more than 20 years, eventually coordinating surgical procedures at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Baby Owl Rescue_COVERBut if every person has a calling, Woods found hers in 1992. That’s when she volunteered for the whooping crane reintroduction program at the Patuxent Wildlife Refuge. She loved helping replenish the numbers of the rare birds and restoring them to the wild.

Within a couple of years, she was a full-fledged wildlife rehabilitator, one of only about 50 in Maryland.

If you’re anything like Jennifer Curtis was two years ago, you have little idea what that means.

“We take care of injured and orphaned wildlife,” says Woods – always with the goal of returning the animals to their native habitat.

For 17 years, Woods has schooled herself in the field: nursing stray and sick animals, reading the latest books, trolling for donated supplies, attending seminars and keeping in touch with local wildlife vets. In 2000, after earning licenses from the state and federal governments, she used her own money to start up the Phoenix Wildlife Rescue, a nonprofit outfit next to her house on Manor Road.

* * *

The full story is HERE. Look for Baby Owl’s Rescue at your local bookstore mid-September.


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