© Sue Fletcher
A three-week old owlet fell out of her rickety nest high in a mature pine tree in the city of Antigo, Wisconsin one fine spring day in 1997, forever changing the way the world looks at owls. She was cared for at the Raptor Education Group, Inc. in Antigo, but the injuries to her left elbow and wrist were too severe for her to ever fly and live in the wild. So she got a job as an education bird working at the Houston Nature Center through a string of serendipitous events.
Alice the Great Horned Owl was the only live animal at the small city-run Houston Nature Center in Houston, Minnesota (population 979). Eventually a "hatch-day" party was started to celebrate the day she hatched in early March (now known as the International Festival of Owls.) With live owl programs given by Marge Gibson of the Raptor Education Group and a few kid's activities, the International Festival of Owls had its humble beginnings.
Alice has made her mark on the world in numerous ways. Besides touching the lives of tens of thousands of people in educational programs, Alice also testified before the Minnesota House and Senate Environment Committees to have Great Horned Owls removed from Minnesota's "unprotected birds" list. In recognition for her efforts Alice received Special Permit #1. She also prompted the first vocal study on Great Horned Owls.
Alice is no stranger to the media. She has talked into the microphone on various radio stations (including Minnesota Public Radio and BBC Radio in England). She has appeared in newspaper articles around the Midwest. Her hoots appear on NatGeo TV's Xbox Kinect game. No less than four photos of her appear in Intriguing Owls by Stan Tekiela. Besides local television appearances, she was also featured on an episode of Pets 101 on Animal Planet.
For her efforts, Alice received the World Owl Hall of Fame's Lady Gray'l Award in 2010.
Alice began working at the International Owl Center when it opened in 2015 and is the regal matriarch of the owl ambassadors there.
The International Owl Center advances the survival of wild owl populations through education and research. We plan to accomplish our mission through biological and cultural programs and displays, green building design, citizen-science and other research, international exchange of information, the World Owl Hall of Fame, the International Festival of Owls, and other means.