We are obsessed with viral videos of children and animals on the internet. But did you know that putting them together can really make a difference?

Why you should care:

Teaching kids to be compassionate about animals helps build their character. According to the National PTA Congress, “Children trained to extend justice, kindness, and mercy to animals become more just, kind, and considerate in their relations to each other.” Read more here.

Artist Julie Rustad Family Event at Barnes & Noble
Join us Saturday Jan 10th at Barnes & Noble Eastside

This Saturday I am hosting an event in conjunction with Tucson Wildlife Center to offer an opportunity for kids to not only meet a real great-horned owl, but learn more about our local wildlife in a fun jam-packed hour at Barnes & Noble!

Desert Dwellers Meet and Greet with a Great-horned Owl

A great-horned owl from Tucson Wildlife Center will be sharing the stage with local artist Julie Rustad who will be playing fun games with her popular Desert Dweller Flash Cards. Kids will learn about local wildlife and create desert animal crafts.

Saturday Jan 10th from 10am-11am
Barnes & Noble Eastside – 5130 E. Broadway Tucson, AZ

Julie Rustad created Desert Dwellers Flash Cards to teach kids about desert animals using her artistic talent. Because of her love for the work that Tucson Wildlife Center does, she will be unveiling a large original art piece that will be donated to them for their annual fundraiser. MORE DETAILS

baby bunnies tucson arizona
Two bunnies that were saved after a dog killed their Mother while she was pregnant with them. Photo from Tucson Wildlife Center.

Here’s other ways to teach your kids about local wildlife:

  • Set up a tour at Tucson Wildlife Center
  • Subscribe to Ranger Rick
  • Incorporate learning into every day by using Desert Dwellers Flash Cards while waiting for your food at a restaurant or while in the car
  • Build a bird box
  • Plant flowers for butterflies, bees, and other wildlife in your back yard.
  • Go on a birder walk and talk to the Tucson Audoban Society
great-horned owl with damaged wing
A great-horned owl who had been injured by barbed wire. Photo by Tucson Wildlife Center.

Why you should love Tucson Wildlife Center too:

  • They have a 24-hour hotline you can call if you find an injured desert animal
  • They are equal opportunity for animals with feather, fur, scales, hair and do their very best to rehab and release
  • They take care of animals who will never be able to survive. These sweet creatures require long-term care. Read about them here. (PS –Makes me cry)
  • They provide educational programs by visiting schools and attending events which bring awareness to our local wildlife and teaches children respect for our animals
  • They are a non-profit doing really hard work while competing for donors dollars. In 2013, Did you know that wildlife and environmental organizations receive only about 2.9% from donors, where religious institution receive the most at around 31.5%? (Source: Giving USA Foundation (2009; 2014)) Here’s an in depth look at non-profits.
  • Read real people’s reviews on Great Nonprofits about Tucson Wildlife Center.

Hope to see you this Saturday Jan 10th at Barnes & Noble!

Syver, Julie Rustad and Desert Dwellers Flash Cards!
Syver, Julie Rustad and Desert Dwellers Flash Cards!

Artist, Julie Rustad is known for blending painting with her design expertise to create the Addy Award Winning Desert Dwellers Flash Cards. She created the cards to teach her son, Syver, about the amazing surrounding desert wildlife. They contain amusing stories about desert animals and feature Julie’s acrylic art on canvas.

Born in upstate NY in 1978 Julie was an artistic only-child. She drew on any paper within reach and made hand-made greeting cards for her friends. Her parents Ray and Jane were teachers who supported Julie’s vision with encouraging words. Julie painted a mural in her middle school and earned her first freelance job in high-school.

After earning her bachelors in Graphic Design from Drexel University and a Masters in Business, Julie opened up her own creative studio. Since 2005 she’s been helping Tucson organizations with their branding and marketing materials, while her husband Jon runs an animation studio.

Today Julie loves combining painting with design to create new educational products for her Julie Originals line. Original paintings, prints, cards and more of her whimsical products are available at www.julieoriginals.com.

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