Thomasville-- They've been featured on a National Geographic Special and have appeared on the Tonight Show and Good Morning America. Today their audience was live, local, and totally captivated.
Students of all ages sat on the edge of there seats this morning listening to the adventures of Mark and Delia Owens as they fought to preserve wildlife in Africa for twenty-three years. "It was really neat," said student Jackson Leverett.
Alongside Mark, Delia has traveled and lived throughout the world, but still considers this place home. "I haven't lived here since 1965 but when anyone asks me where I'm from I automatically say Thomasville, GA," Dr. Delia Owens says.
Tueday they spoke about their efforts to save the elephant population in Zambia. Its a time in their lives they've detailed in their most recent book, Secrets of the Savannah, "an adventurous account of the soaring victory we won over commercial poaching by helping local people find alternatives to poaching," describes Mark Owens.
Life in Africa may seem a foreign topic for students in southwest Georgia, but Delia says her adventures started right here in Thomasville. "To have a dream, and to stick with it, and to work hard, that's part of making a dream come true, and it can happen," she says.
Another lesson the Owens hoped the students take with them is a new way to think about animals, other than just for sport. Mark Owens says, "hunting is, can be a valid conservation tool but also there are other ways to view wildlife other than down the barrel of a gun."
Reactions from the students promise its a lesson they'll take with them. Parker Watts, a student who attended the lecture said, "I think its good to rescue the animals."
It's sentiments like these, that make the Owens' thirty-plus years of work, that much more exciting. Today the Owens live in northern Idaho, working for grizzly bear conservation in the northwestern U.S.