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Released April 19, 2004


Released April 9, 2003SCOTT AQUARIUM PROGRAM

BILOXI - Ollie the Owl will visit the J.L. Scott Marine Education Center and Aquarium from 10 a.m.-11 a.m. on Saturday. The great horned owl is a living example of what happens when good intentions go awry. He is also the star of "Worries of Wildlife," the presentation by a Gulf Coast organization dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating injured animals.

"We take in roughly 800 to 1,000 animals a year," said Alison Sharpe, director of the Wildlife Care and Rescue Center. "Thirty percent are baby animals that come in during the spring, beginning with baby squirrels. Well-meaning people are often rescuing animals that don't need to be rescued."

Sharpe said someone found Ollie as a baby still covered in down.

"The people thought it would be cool to keep him as a pet. They kept him in a parrot cage and fed him human's food until he became sick and weak and almost died," she said. Ollie was finally turned over to the rescue center and was rehabilitated, but he had lost his ability to survive in the wild.

Scott Aquarium guests receive a personal introduction to Ollie and Sharpe's other nonreleasable animals in Saturday's program, free with Scott Aquarium membership or paid admission.

Sharpe will provide baby animal do's and don'ts, along with information packets to keep on hand for helping to determine if a furred or feathered baby needs rescuing.

The program will provide an inside look at the rescue center's operation and the dangers humans create for migratory birds and other wildlife. Sharpe will also alert coast residents and visitors to laws that they need to know about keeping wild animals.

Sharpe formed the Wildlife Care and Rescue Center in 1994. She works with a network of veterinarians, who donate their services, and 19 volunteers who help carry out the center's rescue and rehab work.

"Worries of Wildlife" is part of the aquarium's Great Scott! membership program. May membership activities are being rescheduled with dates to be announced.

For more information, call Hale at (228) 374-5550. The aquarium is part of The University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Laboratory.


OCEAN SPRINGS -- Award-winning wildlife photographer Tom Ulrich will lead two photographic events at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory on Wednesday, March 10.

He will present a nature photography workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and then a talk and slide show called "Wildlife Images 2003" at 7 p.m., both at The University of Southern Mississippi GCRL.

Admission to the evening event is free and will be held in the Caylor Auditorium at GCRL. The veteran photographer will feature photos from his 2003 photographic safaris abroad and in North America. He will answer questions and sign his books during the reception following his slide show.

The registration fee for the all-day workshop is $50 per person, payable to GCRL. Registration includes a continental breakfast, light lunch and snacks. Participation is limited to 20. Though the workshop is geared toward beginners, Ulrich tailors the experience to meet needs for all degrees of skill.

"The beginners will definitely benefit from the workshop, but I always help the more advanced get something out of it also," Ulrich said. "I lead many photo trips and always find a wide range of levels."

Ulrich said participants do not need to bring their photographic equipment unless they need an explanation about some aspect of their equipment.

Topics include a brief review of the principles of photography, relationships between shutter and aperture settings, fundamental elements of composition, use and timing of fill-in flash, digital versus film photography, techniques of close-up photography, and a brief discussion of slide etiquette, the photography business and marketing.

Ulrich grew up in South Chicago, graduated with a degree in biology from Southern Illinois University and taught for four years before launching his career as a freelance photographer. He has supported himself with nature photography for the past 29 years.

His library of more than 300,000 transparencies includes birds and mammals from all over the world. His photographs have been featured in publications such as National Wildlife, Audubon, National Geographic, Montana Outdoors and Life.

He has published six nature books, including Mammals of the Rockies, Birds of the Northern Rockies, Once Upon a Frame and his 2002 release, Photo Pantanal. Dr. William E. Hawkins, GCRL executive director, said Ulrich brings the scientific and artistic worlds together.

"Tom earns his living photographing wildlife all over the world," Hawkins sad. "He is an outstanding observer and a biologist. His approach to photography is to capture his subjects exhibiting their natural behavior."

The GCRL is home to the university's Department of Coastal Sciences, the Center for Fisheries Research and Development, and the Gulf Coast Geospatial Center. The J.L. Scott Marine Education Center and Aquarium is also a unit of the laboratory. The GCRL is part of the Southern Miss College of Science and Technology. For more information, call the laboratory at (228) 872-4200.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM