Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Waiver for birthday parties a feather in nature park's cap

For party donations that exceed $80, McGough Nature Park will allow a bird to be part of the celebration. If donations top $250, the child is invited back to the park to spend time with a bird.

JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times (2011)

For party donations that exceed $80, McGough Nature Park will allow a bird to be part of the celebration. If donations top $250, the child is invited back to the park to spend time with a bird.

LARGO — Young nature lovers can now have their birthday parties free of charge at the McGough Nature Park. But there's a catch: no presents.

The program, called the Natural Gift Birthday Party, waives the park rental fee of $50 for parties as long as the lucky boy or girl asks party guests to make a donation to the park in lieu of buying gifts.

It's the brainchild of city parks superintendent Greg Brown. He said he came up with the idea from Ocean Unger of Clearwater and Averi Miller of Largo, second-graders at Country Day School who are big owl enthusiasts. They had guests at their joint birthday party at a skating rink donate to the birds of prey program at McGough instead of buying them gifts.

"The girls really created it, I just followed their lead," Brown said. "I just thought it was a wonderful, selfless act … it was the perfect idea."

Donations that exceed $80 earn the partiers a "wild birthday party" in which park handlers bring out a bird to join the celebration. If the birthday boy or girl raises more than $250, the child is invited back to the park to spend time with a bird of his or her choice.

Brown said he thinks the Natural Gift Birthday Party will catch on as more people are exposed to the idea.

Averi's mother, Amanda Miller, said she will encourage friends to take advantage of the program. "It's better for us, too, as parents," she said. "The children don't really need to have such excess."

And, Miller said, the experience teaches the children to give back.

Having reached the $250 threshold, Averi and Ocean two weeks ago got to help clean the enclosure of Matilda, a barred owl, and learn to feed her, said Pat Edmond, president of Friends of Largo Nature Parks.

The birds of prey program houses six rescued birds — five owls and a hawk — all of which were injured and remain too disabled to be released into the wild. If it were not for the birds of prey program, Edmond said, the birds would have been euthanized.

The girls' donation went toward food for the birds, Edmond said, which costs about $300 a month, their biggest expense.

Donations do not have to go to the birds of prey and instead can go into the park's general fund.

Josh Solomon can be reached at jsolomon@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4155. Follow @JSolomonTIMES on Twitter.

Waiver for birthday parties a feather in nature park's cap 01/21/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 12:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Senate GOP leaders face tough job in selling health-care bill to their members

    Health

    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders on Thursday moved swiftly to begin selling their health-care measure to substantially rewrite the Affordable Care Act to their wary members as they seek to garner enough support to pass the bill in an expected vote next week.

    U.S. Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled a proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The bill's chief author, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has said "Obamacare is collapsing around us, and the American people are desperately searching for relief." [AP]
  2. Rick Scott eyes Patronis as CFO, but it may not help him in Panhandle

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott's expected pick of Jimmy Patronis as the state's next Chief Financial Officer would be a solid addition to the Republican Party ticket but may not do much to smooth some rough waters developing in the Panhandle over schools, area Republicans said this week.

    Former state Rep. Jimmy Patronis, left, is being considered by Gov. Rick Scott for the state's chief financial officer. Patronis, seen with Scott in 2011, is considered one of the governor's chief loyalists. 

  3. Marco Rubio says he's studying Florida impacts of health care bill

    Blogs

    Sen. Marco Rubio is declining to take a position for now on the health care bill, saying he'll take time to study the effect on Florida.

  4. Women of 'GLOW' talk heart of cheesy '80s wrestling and their favorite moves

    Blogs

    The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling are back this summer, this time as a fictionalized dramedy on Netflix.

    Alison Brie, left, and Britney Young in GLOW.
  5. Aubrey Plaza smokes marijuana with the "Weed Nuns" (w/ video)

    Blogs