Alessondra & The Great Horned Owl

Click Family

She just might be the cutest
little girl in the world. As she ran across the den to her play area, she
quickly grabbed a long banner, anxious to display last night’s art project.
“Guess, what?” she asked. The excitement in her voice made you just as eager to
find out the information she was hiding. “My birthday is on St. Patrick’s Day
and it’s going to be an owl theme,” exclaimed Alessondra. She proudly displayed
the banner that read ‘I love owls.’ Before you were able to respond, she
quickly pointed out her favorite part of the drawing. “I actually worked
hardest on the ‘L’ to make it look 3D,” she said. “I’m probably going to ask
mom if we can play pin the feather on the great horned owl!” It only made sense
for eight-year-old Alessondra to pick the owl as the theme for her party. It’s
played a major part in her life for the last year. As she continued to talk
about her party and her interest in owls, it was obvious that her knowledge of
the mysterious creatures extended well beyond the information found in typical
textbooks.

AlessondraAlessondra’s interest began in
February 2012 when a window box outside of her home became the nesting place
for a mother owl and her two eggs. Instead of scaring the owl away,
Alessondra’s parents, Jeff and Deziray Click, decided to incorporate their
daughter’s interest into her homeschool plan. “You can theme her learning based
on what she’s into,” said Deziray. After seeing the owl’s vivid stripes, Alessondra chose to name her Mrs. Tiger.
“When I did some research, I found out they were called flying tigers and I
didn’t even know that when I named her,” explained Alessondra. The Click family
decided to place the daily routine of Mrs. Tiger and her owlets on a popular
Internet streaming site. Four eggs and millions of hits later, Mrs. Tiger has
become an online sensation as people across the world watch her daily
activities right from the Click family window. “We’ve had dozens of teachers
contact us. They use it in their classrooms all across the county,” said
Deziray. Jeff also noticed various benefits from the way that Alessondra is
learning outside the box. “This experience was something so unique. We found a
way that we could incorporate this into numerous aspects of her education aside
from biology. She’s [also] learning about technology [and] how it can be used
in unique ways to study animals.”

Owl BabiesThe family’s unique approach to
education was not always their first option. Jeff and Deziray had planned on
sending their daughter to public school until they had conversations with various
parents who were opting to homeschool their children. “It was all God—He placed
people in our lives. We had always thought we would do public,” commented
Deziray. “When I initially decided to homeschool, I wanted her to love to
learn.” Not only has Alessondra developed a strong love of learning, but her
interests have also influenced other students and adults as well. After
discovering Mrs. Tiger and her eggs, Alessondra refused to miss a moment of the
live nature happening outside of the family’s window. Jeff and Deziray
initially set up the camera to keep her updated with all the latest on Mrs.
Tiger.

After researching video sharing
sites online, Jeff came across Ustream and decided to use the site to connect
Mrs. Tiger with viewers. The family didn’t think that their discovery would
attract such a massive online following. “We’ll probably hit 1.7 million
today,” said Jeff. The family has also received a number of heart-warming
letters and posts from viewers. Comments from other parents have also showed
Deziray the influence that the video stream has had on other students. “We’re
seeing children choose nature over video games. How many times do you get to
see an owl in the wild?”

Owl on roofThere’s no time for video games
in Alessondra’s life. She’s too busy sharing her vast knowledge of owls at her
various public speaking engagements. “She’s speaking to classes around the
city,” said proud father Jeff. While there is so much to take from the
experience, Jeff and Deziray hope that Alessondra continues to learn from the
daily lessons offered by Mrs. Tiger. “Any life experience that you have is
something that you can and should learn from.”

To watch the live video stream,
go to www.ustream.tv/okcowlcam.

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