A Green Country man is teaching Oklahoma kids how to appreciate and respect the outdoors through the art of falconry.
Greg Thompson doesn't have your average passion: he’s a falconer.
"Falconers practice the art of falconry, which is training birds of prey to hunt in companionship with the human," said Thompson. "The birds of prey are never pets; they are wild animals. A lot of people are surprised to find out you have to be licensed to have possession of a bird of prey.”
It’s not an interest he keeps to himself.
"A bird of prey, they say, can see the letters of a newspaper, three football fields away," said Thompson.
He shares his knowledge everywhere he can from his YouTube Channel to his Instagram Page. Thompson travels and speaks to scout troops and at community gatherings to teach kids an art that has brought him so much joy.
"My bird of prey's name is Shuri," said Thompson. "She is the most beautiful and amazing creature in the world to me."
Thompson believes interactions with these birds can be powerful, and help kids get involved in the outdoor world around them.
"I go out and teach people the basics of falconry and show them the birds. And the kid's eyes, some of the parent's eyes are just wide open," said Thompson. "Humans and animals need to learn to live together."
Anytime Thompson works with Shuri he is geared up with equipment that protects him as he cares for her, and equipment that protects her as she works with him.
"That there is a falconry glove. Very thick, double suede, cowhide," said Thompson.
There is a balance to this relationship, one Thompson is hoping Oklahoma kids learn and appreciate for themselves.
"With the environmental issues that are going on, animals are losing their habitat,” Thompson said. “So, I feel so privileged to be able to show a wild animal in a safe environment to a community at large.”