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Chief Matthews students invite other schools to start their own Animal Rescue Club

A recovered eagle hopped from a cage and took wing over a hushed crowd at Chief Matthews Elementary School last week.
There were “oohs” and “aahs” when the recovered eagle took flight again. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)

A recovered eagle hopped from a cage and took wing over a hushed crowd at Chief Matthews Elementary School last week.

The cheers only went up when the eagle did — the young bird cleared the school yard fence and then flew back over the yard to find a welcome perch in a tall tree.

Elvis Davis managed to get a blanket over the eagle about a month ago, after his wife and children saw that it was injured.

“There are people who have been feeding eagles, and they don’t realize if they feed them in small tight corners, they’ve got nowhere to fly away,” he said.

“They managed to get beaten up because they’re not experienced enough.”

It was the second eagle Davis has rescued, and he gave it to local wildlife volunteer Leila Riddall who then sent it to an animal rehabilitation centre off island.

Helping the whole effort was a brand-new group at Chief Matthews — the Animal Rescue Club.

Starting in December, club members Tian, Jamie, Hope, and Logan have so far raised $147 as well as donations of blankets and food to help local rescues. They also plan to volunteer their time to clean and care for the animals, as well as supporting ongoing efforts like the spay and neuter program for feral cats.

Some of the donations the club has collected so far came from individuals, and others from local businesses such as the Haida Gwaii Co-op, Masset Grocery, and TLC Automotive.

“We’d like to challenge other schools to take up a program like ours,” said Nonni Doll, one of the organizers. She said at some point the club is hoping to visit with Dr. Dane Richardson, the islands’ veterinarian.

To support the Animal Rescue Club, donations of cat food (dry or canned), cat litter, dog food (dry or canned), and old blankets can be dropped off at Chief Matthews School from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. Pick-ups can be arranged by phoning 250-626-5620.

From left to right, Hope, Nonni Doll, Jamie, and Tian get set for the eagle release. Not pictured is Logan, another Animal Rescue Club member. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
A rescued eagle takes wing again in front of an awed crowd of Chief Matthews Elementary students last Wednesday. The same week, south-end Haida Gwaiians were prowling at the Caturday Night Fever fundraising dance in Skidegate for the Haida Gwaii SPCA. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)