Marco Island resident Roseanne Pawelec is launching a new children’s book, “Ollie Finds a New Home,” and donating $1 from every copy sold to a fund which helps protect Marco Island’s burrowing owls.
The book takes children on a journey with Ollie, a burrowing owl on the island, as he and his family search for a new underground home. The book addresses the trauma of moving for young children and positive life lessons about change.
“In writing the book I became inspired by the burrowing owl communities near my home in the Tigertail Beach area,” Pawelec explained. “I feel privileged to have a small part in helping to protect one of Marco’s most cherished natural attractions,” Pawelec added.
Pawelec, working with the Community Foundation of Collier County, formed the Burrowing Owl Protection Fund of Marco Island. Donations to the fund will be used to assist the city and its group of “Owl Prowl” volunteers to maintain the rope and stick fencing around the burrows and to erect signage.
“The Community Foundation is honored to be part of this worthy projectthat is helping to preserve Marco Island wildlife,” said Community Foundation of Collier County President/CEO Eileen Connolly-Keesler. “Projects like this are a perfect fit for the Community Foundation, as we improve the quality of life in Collier County by connecting donors to community needs.”
Owl Prowl volunteer Jean Hall said, “As volunteers, we are always happy to get the word out on this wonderful little owl, and we are always scrambling for supplies to post new burrows!” Hall added, “The burrowing owl only exists in one state east of the Mason Dixon line, Florida, and ‘Ollie Finds a New Home’ will help spread the word about protecting and preserving this charismatic population.”
The burrowing owl population in Marco Island has grown significantly in recent years. New statistics from the city show that the number of burrowing owls on the island has increased from 326 in 2012, to 471 in 2015. The statistics also indicate that, in the last year alone, the number of active burrows has risen from 83 in 2014, to 114 in 2015.
“Ollie Finds a New Home” can be purchased at Sunshine Booksellers on Marco Island.