We were honored to be the host of a Flat Stanley from the son of a friend of mine that I grew up with, from grade school or possibly even earlier than that…. our Dad’s were friends and coached us in sports… here’s a photo of my friend, his Dad (Back row right) and I along with the rest of the team… from waaaaaaaaaaayyyy back in 1977….because this is on the internet I’m only going to tell you that I am the 2nd from the right in the back row of kids…… and that I was terrible at basketball even though in Indiana, tall kids are supposed to be born good at it…. I wasn’t…..
So my friend has a son now in third grade. He asked me if I would consider hosting Flat Stanley for his son… I’d love to!! Here’s the story of his visit:
Flat Stanley arrived in Maple Valley, Washington on Tuesday March 26th, 2013. I’d already had a scheduled “vacation” for the following Wednesday through Friday to transport a very special friend of mine. On our way to pick up my special friend in Arlington, WA Stanley and I stopped and grabbed this photo of him by Mount Pilchuck
My friend that I was picking up is a Raven named Sak’alus – it means Flying Colors in the Lushutseed language, the language of the First Nations of the Pacific Northwest. (Here’s a story and video of him getting his name if you want to learn about the natives of this area http://www.mikeynchristy.com/Mikey_Blog/whats-in-a-name/ ) He’s a 2 year old Raven that was brought to a wildlife rehabilitation center where I volunteer. He was what is called “imprinted” which means when he was a baby someone took him out of the wild where he belongs and tried to make him a pet. We believe he either escaped or was released and tried to live on his own in the wild but didn’t make it as he wasn’t taught by his real parents how to live in the wild, he didn’t even know he was a Raven, he thought ( and thinks) he’s a person!! We did our best to try to help him but it was quickly clear that he would never be able to live in the wild. So, SuK is in training to become an Educational Ambassador (a Bird Teacher!!) to help people, especially kids, understand about nature and saving the earth! Here’s a short video of him meeting Flat Stanley!
And a photo of him shaking with Flat Stanley too!!
While I was at the wildlife center picking him up for his trip down interstate 5 (a BIG road like I-65 in Indiana) , I-5 is the primary road from Canada to Mexico on the west coast of the USA, I also had flat Stanley visit with a baby squirrel that was brought in as an orphan and is was being hand fed and will be raised by the center and then released back into the wild when it’s ready.
Our center takes in over 3500 injured, orphaned, or diplaced animals a YEAR that need help!!!
Flat Stanley also got to meet a Bobcat that also can’t be released as he is used to people… his name is Baxter. Like you he doesn’t always eat his dinner right away, he plays with it sometimes..which for him is OK because he’s already all grown up…..but you’re still growing and need to eat before you play so you can grow big and strong!
Here’s Flat Stanley and Baxter ( Don’t worry Stanley is safe see the double fences and the locks?)
It was then time for SuK the Raven, my wife and I to head down to Oregon. It’s the state just below (south of) Washington. Kinda like Kentucky is to you in Indiana! We drive and drive and drive and drive..well I don’t drive my wife does!! I’m in the back seat with Suk giving him treats and toys while he’s in his carrier…this is the longest car ride he’s ever had! Over 5 hours!!! YIKES !!! He could probably fly there but we drove him instead as he didn’t have a map……. on our way down there we passed lots of mountains and volcanoes in the Cascade Mountain Range including Mt. Rainier which is a volcano!! Here’s a picture of Mt. Rainier from close to our house and one with Flat Stanley pretending to stand on top of it!!
We also passed Mt. St. Helen’s, a volcano that erupted really big when I was close to your age now! Here’s a video of when it BLEW!!!!
Here’s the route that we took – 330 miles each way!!!:
We finally make it to the Cascades Raptor Center who is going to give SuK some tests (yuck!! I don’t like tests either but they are part of life and we all have to do things we don’t like sometimes) they are in Eugene Oregon: Stanley, SuK, my wife and I here’s a photo of Stanley at their welcome sign:
We left Suk there to take his tests ( since then I’ve gotten the results and he passed, just like his name – [with] Flying Colors!!) on the way home we saw a lovely thunderstorm! One thing we don’t get much of out here in the Pacific Northwest and one of the things I miss about living in Indiana, I’m strange huh? but that thunderstorm created a beautiful rainbow that Stanley got to see:
We made it home safely and even Flat Stanley was tired!!
So besides being a Firefighter (I’m a volunteer) and a volunteer wildlife helper guy..I also work at a company that is really well known from Seattle …you might have heard of them… look at the photo and see if you can guess where I work and where I took Flat Stanley to get some hot cocoa ( he’s not old enough for coffee yet!)
If you guessed Starbucks you are RIGHT!! I work there as a Network Engineer..a fancy name for the guy that makes all your computers talk to each other and talk to things on the internet…. Did you know that Starbucks also owns Seattle’s Best Coffee? Yep….and Flat Stanley learned that too, he actually liked the hot cocoa from there better than Starbucks…
On the weekend I went out on an education program to help teach kids of all ages all about wild animals and how to save them and stuff… while I was there Flat Stanely got to meet a bunch of my friends here are some pictures:
He met my friend Ista the Peregrine Falcon!! I get to work with her a lot, we’re good friends but she’s a bit of a Diva…. she LOVES to get all the attention and like to have little hissy fits sometimes.. but I guess when you’re the fastest animal in the world you can do that…..
He got to meet Tadita the Barred Owl she wasn’t too sure about him… but we told her he was cool…. and she was OK with getting her picture taken with him.
Then he met Chetan the Red Tail Hawk, They were good friends right away, but Chetan doesn’t like me much he climbed all the way up my arm one time poking holes alllllll the way up with his sharp talons!!
this event that we were at was a big festival and I got a break and Flat Stanley and I walked around a little and took a couple of other photos for you!! Here he is with some crazy giant cockroaches!!!! I asked if they were for snacking and they said no… that’s good becasue if Flat Stanley had eaten them I don’t think he’d be very flat anymore… and he’d probably get car sick on the way home…
and then there was an Audobon Society disply and they had stuffed birds, not alive ones like we had… still a lot to learn from them when they die too, science is COOL!
From left to right – a Red Tail Hawk, Great Horned Owl, Barn Owl, Saw-Whet Owl, two Humming birds above Flat Stanley’s head, a Crow, two Northern Flicker’s and a Robin.
another long day for us and Stanley was all tuckered out!
When a lot of people think of Washington State or Seattle, they think it rains alllllll the time…and it does rain a lot here, but that’s what keeps it green 🙂 Washington is known as the “Evergreen State” and Seattle is also known as the “Emerald City” (Emerald is a green gem) Flat Stanley got to see a LOT on his visit, some rain, some sun, mountains, wildlife, rivers and lakes.
Here’s Flat Stanley hiding from the rain!
and here he is enjoying a lovely sunny day at Lake Wilderness…the weather in Springtime in Washington State can be crrrrrrazzzzzy… sunny and 70 degrees ( shorts and flip flop weather for us) then the next day it can snow and hail and not get above 40!! They say if you don’t like the weather in Washington wait 5 minutes because it will change…
I tried to get some photo’s of Flat Stanley in front of our two pro sports stadiums but things didn’t cooperate.. but he was there a few times and got to see CenturyLink Field where the Seattle Seahawks play football and Safeco Field ( it has a giant roof that can open and close depending on the weather! It’s where the Mariner’s play Baseball.
a couple of the biggest recreational activities here in Washington is hunting and fishing. I do both… Flat Stanley didn’t get to to either while he was here but maybe he can go somewhere else next that has a lot of that… one thing you should know though is that if you hunt or fish , be sure to use gear that doesn’t have lead in it! Lead is a reaaaaalllly bad thing for you and for animals too! When you go fishing also be sure to always clean up your fishing line that gets left and if see any laying around pick it up to, you will be saving a beautiful bird or some other critter that would get caught in it!!
Flat Stanley had quite the adventure out here on the West Coast of the United States and we’re glad he came to visit us!! He got to see a lot of neat things, meet some cool people and animals and I hope his story shows you a little bit about how beautiful our country is and how important it is to keep it clean and how much we need open spaces and nature for all the wildlife to live! You can all help, by saving energy – I bet you’ve learned all about that from your parents and your teachers! You can also recycle that’s realllllly important! By recycling you really help save wild animals by saving their homes!
Thanks for visiting Flat Stanley , it was super cool to meet you and I think you’re a great guy and doing some super cool stuff to help people learn about other places!! Safe Travels my friend! One last thing for you all is something I close a lot of the things write about … just some little things that Flat Stanely helped me with while he was here: