The Story of Edna


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Meet Edna, a Hemlock-eating North American albino porcupine who works at the Center for Wildlife in Cape Neddick, Maine. Children of all ages will love reading Edna’s story while they learn about the habits and habitats of the North American porcupine. Edna’s touching story is told with humor and compassion through the words and illustrations of the students in the York, Maine schools. The story includes fascinating facts about North American porcupines, some tips for approaching and rescuing animals in the wild, and Edna’s own story of her separation from her mother and the new friends she makes at the Center for Wildlife – and in classrooms all across the United States. The book closes with fascinating porcupine facts and with a reflection of what wildlife and humans can learn from each other.

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The Story of Edna

  1. 1. The Story of Edna, The Albino PorcupineIllustrations by the Children of the York, Maine School SystemStory by Hannah Gennaro, Grade 5,assisted with data provided by the Center for WildlifeFront cover illustration by Julianna Kiklis, Grade 5Back cover illustration by Joshua Gennaro, Grade 3Edited by Kate Headen WaddellGraphics by Julie Garman, Pipedream
  2. 2. Copyright © 2012 Center for WildlifeAll rights reserved.ISBN-13: 978-1481020510ISBN-10: 148102051X
  3. 3. The Story of Edna, The Albino PorcupineChapter One: Edna is BornChapter Two: Edna Gets FoundChapter Three: The Center for Wildlife Raises EdnaChapter Four: Edna’s EnclosureChapter Five: Edna Goes for WalksChapter Six: Edna EducatesChapter Seven: Porcupines Help ForestsPorcupine Fun FactsWhat We Have Learned from One Another
  4. 4. 1Ambassador Series, Vol.2Edna is BornHi, my name is Edna. I am a North American porcupine. Notice anything super cooland unique about me? Look close… need any hints? Oooo you are lighting fast!Yes, I am not a boring brown, black or gray porcupine, because I am an albino.That means I am white with pink eyes – and that makes me extra special! I live at theCenter for Wildlife in York, Maine, a place with nice people who take care of me.This is the story of how I came to live here.Hannah Gennaro, 5th Grade
  5. 5. 2 Center for WildlifeI was born in the spring of 2009 in a cozy spot that my Mom made for us. Can you tellwhich one is me? Come on, it is kind of obvious don’t you think? I’m the cute one onthe right!I traveled around the forest with my Mom, feeding on her milk. Just add some mudand you have some yummy chocolate milk! Delicious! Ah, those were the good olddays I tell ya, just cruising along singing my favorite tune. Guess what my favorite tuneis? It is by Lady Gaga… yup, Born This Way.Alea Galbadis, 3rd Grade
  6. 6. 3Ambassador Series, Vol.2Grazing around in woods and meadows… long walks with my Mom… man, life wasgood!My Mom sometimes needed to climb trees to find food so she could have the energyto feed me milk all the time. When she did, she would leave me at the base of thetree to wait for her. I knew how to stay very still and safe just like a statue. One timewhile I was waiting, I got very tired, and before I knew it… snore, snore, zzzzzzzzz…Brooke Parsons, 2nd Grade
  7. 7. 4 Center for WildlifeEdna Gets FoundI remember I was dreaming of the delicious food my Mom was getting for me up inthat tree. Visions of hemlock needles and yummy leaves danced in my head. I neverworried when she left me because I always knew she would come back with treats.Well, maybe I’d worry just a little bit and that is why I always practice my ninja moves.Aiiii-yah, back off now, I have quills and I’m not afraid to use them!Evan Rankin, 3rd Grade
  8. 8. 5Ambassador Series, Vol.2That is my battle cry that I practice yelling as I spin through the air shooting quills atthe enemy. Just kidding, we can’t shoot our quills, silly, but sometimes I wish we could!As I dreamed of the sweet taste of hemlock, something made a noise. I felt likesomething strange was near me. I heard it, I smelled it, I sensed it. It was too bad,because I was just in the middle of a really tasty dream!Jay Gardoqui, 3rd Grade
  9. 9. 6 Center for WildlifeWhen I opened my eyes, I saw a giant figure reaching down to grab me. He priedme from my spot at the bottom of the tree. I knew he was taking me someplace, butwhere? Is he the enemy? Should I use my ninja moves? He better watch out, my Momis going to be mad. Don’t mess with Moms in the wild! They are pretty protective oftheir babies. If you think my ninja moves are scary you should see my Mom’s. She is ablack belt!Mary Kocev, 4th Grade
  10. 10. 7Ambassador Series, Vol.2The Center for Wildlife Raises EdnaIt turns out the guy was not the enemy, he was just trying to help me. He brought meto a hospital for wild animals called the Center for Wildlife. Other people just like thenice man put me in a covered box so I couldn’t see the tall predators. They tried tohelp me feel safe.Caitlin Edminster, 2nd Grade
  11. 11. 8 Center for WildlifeThe people at the Center for Wildlife told me that the man was a kind-heartedperson who thought I was abandoned. Silly man, doesn’t he know anything aboutporcupines? He didn’t know that my Mom was just up in the tree. They explainedto the man that this behavior is normal for a porcupine, and they went back to thewoods to try and return me to my mother. But she couldn’t be found. I think my Momwould be happy to know that I am in good hands.Luke Healey, 1st Grade
  12. 12. 9Ambassador Series, Vol.2We headed back to the Center for Wildlife. My new friends gave me proper nutritionand milk that was almost the same as the milk my Mom would give me! We albinoscan get sick very easily, so they knew to take extra special care of me. I could getused to this!Did you know that porcupines love to dance? I’m not kidding. Just have an adultsearch for “Albino Porcupine Dance by Edna White” on YouTube and I’ll show youmy moves! The music was added afterwards silly, they don’t play music at theCenter because we need it to be nice and peaceful.Ella Grace Abisi, 3rd Grade
  13. 13. 10 Center for WildlifeEdna’s EnclosureMy Center for Wildlife friends realized that I would be safer living with them becauseI wouldn’t survive as an albino in the wild without my Mom to protect me. I was alsovery sick a few times because of my special albino genes, and they knew they couldgive me medicine if I ever needed it again. So they got right to work setting up myenclosure. I got my own outdoor room! Yea, I love this place!Tyson Mathews, 4th Grade
  14. 14. 11Ambassador Series, Vol.2My new space was so cool! They tried to make it like my natural habitat, with treesfor me to climb and everything! I even got to nibble on the bark. Yum! Do you havetreats and climbing trees in your room? I didn’t think so!Kathryn Fountain, 2nd Grade
  15. 15. 12 Center for WildlifeHumans can be scary (my Mom taught me that they are predators!), but beingaround them all day let me get used to them. I later learned that they can actuallybe pretty nice. They feed me and clean my enclosure. (I can be pretty messy.) NowI trust humans! Especially my Center for Wildlife friends! I still practice my ninja movesand you should too because you just never know when you might run into a predator.Riley Short, 3rd Grade
  16. 16. 13Ambassador Series, Vol.2Edna Goes for WalksPorcupines need to exercise, just like humans! I pump iron at the gym and sometimesbreak a sweat! Just kidding. But my friends do take me for long walks, just like Momused to do.Lily Feugill, 2nd Grade
  17. 17. 14 Center for WildlifeEven though I like my enclosure, I sure do love going into the woods for walks. WhenI’m in the woods again, my body recognizes that I am still a wild animal! I sniff aroundlooking for food, just like my Mom taught me to do. My friends let me wander, but nottoo far. I can always find them by their scent. Pheew! I think humans are kind of stinky,poo tinkey! Just kidding, you humans don’t smell that bad.The humans always come with me on my walks. I think they’re worried I might runaway.Samara Kern, 1st Grade
  18. 18. 15Ambassador Series, Vol.2I really can’t run very fast, I mostly just waddle around like a duck and sniff around likea beagle, looking for treats and other interesting things. But I am excellent at climbingtrees! Ah, fresh air! This is keeping me healthy!Are you a klutz sometimes? Come on, you can admit it. Well I’m sort of klutzy andsometimes I wipe out when it gets steep, whoaaaaa… and just roll and roll and rolluntil I hit flat ground. Imagine if I could shoot my quills? How cool would it be if I wentrolling down a hill shooting my quills? I’d yell, “cowabungaaaaa!” and all thepredators would run away as fast as they could.Jillian Dorazio, 4th Grade
  19. 19. 16 Center for WildlifeEdna EducatesI love going with my friends from the Center for Wildlife to the schools, teaching kidsabout animals and especially porcupines. Learning about me will educate kids, andteach them what to do if they come across a wild animal. But I think some of you arewild animals!!Colleen Daly 3rd Grade
  20. 20. 17Ambassador Series, Vol.2I love seeing all of the kids’ wonderful smiling faces when they meet me. I make lotsof new friends when I travel to the schools. I don’t know how to count, but I bet thatI’ve met thousands of children and helped them to understand me better and learnabout protecting wildlife.But I still don’t understand why no one ever wants to give me a hug! Maybe it’sbecause I have 30,000 quills all over my body. But don’t worry, I can’t shoot them silly!Will Orso, 2nd Grade
  21. 21. 18 Center for WildlifeWhen kids ask questions, it gives everyone more knowledge about porcupines andother animals. Like, did you know when porcupines prune trees they keep them fromgetting sick or having too many insects live in them? I love it when everyone raisestheir hands all at once to ask questions, because the audience looks like one giantporcupine! Get it?Billy Bachelder, 3rd Grade
  22. 22. 19Ambassador Series, Vol.2Porcupines Help ForestsPeople don’t understand much about porcupines, especially albino porcupines! Didyou know that porcupines help the forest, just by being ourselves and doing what wedo? That’s right, we rock! Oh yeah!Porcupines are pretty important. We help the forest by eating the bark off of trees.(Now don’t try that at home kids!) This creates holes in the trees for other animals tolive in. Like who? Owls, that’s WHOOOO!Cameron Dalton, 2nd Grade
  23. 23. 20 Center for WildlifePorcupines also like to dig pits in the ground. This turns the soil, making perfect spotsfor seeds to grow. I may be all white, but I have a green thumb! They call porcupines“ecosystem engineers.” That sounds important! But you can just call me Edna, EdnaWhite.Lily Goldberg, 2nd Grade
  24. 24. 21Ambassador Series, Vol.2I sure hope you enjoyed reading my story, and learned a lot, too! Always remember,if you see a baby porcupine at the bottom of a tree, run for your lives before theystart busting out their ninja moves! Just kidding. If you see any animal in the wild, it’sprobably best to leave them be – especially during nesting season. If you are not surewhat to do, call my friends at the Center for Wildlife, they will know!Charley Feugill 3rd Grade
  25. 25. We would like to thank Kristen Lamb, Michelle Gorayeb, Susan Hansen and all therest of the Center for Wildlife staff, volunteers and interns; Yeoman TechnologyGroup for contributing the editing and graphic design to make this book happen; and all the studentsat York elementary and middle schools who participated in the art contest.Hannah Gennaro5th GradeAlea Galbadis3rd GradeBrooke Parsons2nd GradeEvan Rankin3rd GradeJay Gardoqui3rd GradeMary Kocev4th GradeCaitlin Edminster2nd GradeLuke Healey1st GradeElla Grace Abisi3rd GradeKathryn Fountain2nd GradeTyson Mathews4th GradeRiley Short3rd GradeLily Feugill2nd GradeJillian Dorazio4th GradeSamara Kern1st GradeColleen Daly3rd GradeWill Orso2nd GradeCameron Dalton2nd GradeBilly Bachelder3rd GradeLily Goldberg2nd GradeJulianna Kiklis5th GradeCharley Feugil3rd GradeJoshua Gennaro3rd GradeThank You!
  26. 26. Reader’s Art Contest: Have some fun and color Edna, or draw your own illustration of Edna.Then upload your art as a photo to the CFW Facebook to compete in our reader’s art contest.
  27. 27. Porcupine Fun Facts• Porcupines are the second largest rodents in North America, after beavers. Porcupines arenocturnal, which means they are active mainly at night.• Porcupines have approximately 30,000 quills all over their bodies - except for their underbelly.Porcupine quills are actually modified hairs with microscopic barbs on the tip. If lost, the quillswill usually grow back within a couple of weeks. Porcupines cannot throw or shoot their quills;instead, they will turn their back to a predator and strike out with their quill-covered tails!• Porcupine quills are covered in a greasy antibiotic layer. This can help prevent infection if aporcupine accidentally quills itself!• The porcupine’s number one predator is a fisher, a close relative of weasels and ferrets. Fisherswill circle the porcupine quickly to disorient it, and use quick jabs at the porcupine’s face toknock it over and gain access to its vulnerable underbelly.• Porcupines have long claws and are very adept climbers. They spend most of their timeforaging for bark in conifer trees. Porcupines are strictly herbivores, eating only plants, fruit andbark.• Unlike other mammals in cold climates, porcupines do not hibernate. The abundance ofedible bark from conifer trees means porcupines are able to remain active all winter long. Inthe winter, porcupines will also take shelter in dens, favoring those in rocky cliff areas.• Porcupines crave salt in their diet, so they sometimes get hit by cars when they try to eat thesalt used on roads for snow removal.What We Have Learned From One Another• Porcupines play a very important role in forest ecosystems. Nicknamed “nature’s pruners,”porcupines help keep destructive tree pests such as hemlock woolly adelgid and emerald ashborer from spreading. By “pruning” our forests they also prevent overgrowth of certain speciesof vegetation and allow for others to flourish!• Humans can help porcupines by co-existing peacefully with them, and covering trees theymay not want chewed instead of shooting or trapping porcupines.• Because we rely on healthy forests, eat the same food and drink the same water as wildlife,paying attention to wildlife health helps to keep humans healthy too!
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