We’re guessing you were previously unaware that September 1 is Vulture Awareness Day. Now that you know, the question is: How can you mark the occasion?
Although first you might wonder why you should mark it at all. We can answer that—or rather, the answer comes from Pasadenan Diane Lang, author of the new children’s book, Vulture Verses: Love Poems for the Unloved, published by hometown publisher Prospect Park Books. Here’s what she said in a recent interview with OneDublin.org:
“One day, while I was at the museum and talking to visitors, I passed a woman who was looking at a turkey vulture. She said aloud, ‘They are just so UGLY!’ I asked if I could tell her a little bit about vultures, and told her about their function as scavengers and how they actually stop the spread of disease – their digestive systems are so acidic that there is no bacteria that can survive the trip. No matter what the animal died of, it goes no farther when cleaned up by a turkey vulture. When I was done, the woman said, ‘You know, I guess they are not really that ugly.’ It was music to my ears.”
Vulture Verses is a collection of thirteen illustrated poems singing the praises of the unloved animals who deserve our affection, from the snake to the spider and the vampire bat to, of course, the vulture.
Alas, Pasadena will not have any events on September 1st—but it will have many a few weeks later, thanks to Lang, who will be on tour for her book. She’ll kick off her tour with a vulture she works with at the Lindsay Wildlife Center in Northern California on September 1. State law forbids traveling with birds of prey, so she’ll be making do with her tarantula, Madagascar hissing cockroach, and Official Spider Shuttle at these events:
Saturday, September 22, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Eaton Canyon Nature Center, 1750 N. Altadena Dr., Altadena
Saturday, September 29, 10 a.m., Vroman’s Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
Sunday, September 30, 2 p.m., Kidspace, 480 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena
Tuesday, October 2, Sequoyah School, Pasadena (private event)
Lang, who divides her time between Pasadena and Alamo, California, will be leading many more events in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. You can find the roster of all her events here.