Perhaps no one knows Rocky’s exact location these days, but at least his tree has come home.
Of course you remember the little bird who last year at this time unwittingly hitched a ride from his home in a tree in West Oneonta all the way to Manhattan’s Rockefeller Plaza, where that same tree stood to herald the holiday season in Midtown. Fans quickly dubbed the little guy “Rocky” as a result, and he attracted plenty of attention from visitors, media, and at least a dozen children’s book authors.
His temporary celebrity status affirmed, Rocky made it back into the wild through the good work of Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties, New York. Ravensbeard did not attach a tracking device to the owl and, when they set Rocky free, Rocky was free forever.
Free but not forgotten, of course, and this year, Habitat for Humanity of Otsego County received lumber milled from that same tree, Rocky’s original home.
“Habitat for Humanity International reached out to us to ask if we wanted the lumber,” said Karyn Wendrow, Vice President and Publicity Chair for HFHOC. “We were delighted to accept it for the projects we are working on.””
“We’ll use the lumber in our builds,” she said. “There’s certainly enough to do some trim work, at least, and each board is stamped and branded to show that it comes from the 2020 Rockefeller Center tree.”
Ms. Wendrow said HFCOC is currently evaluating the best use for the lumber, with plans for the branding to remain visible in any final construction projects.
“A portion of the tree is going to a build site in West Oneonta,” she said. “That’s full circle — West Oneonta is the tree’s original home.”
Habitat for Humanity of Otsego County seeks volunteers on a regular basis and also remains open to inquiry from families looking for housing options.
For more information, visit the organization’s website at www.habitatotsego.org.