Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” By the looks of how Big Sky Bird Rescue is caring for wild birds, we’d say the community of Bozeman, Montana is doing just fine.Whether orphaned, suffering from illness or critically injured, Big Sky Bird Rescue rehabilitates and releases wild bird species found in the Big Sky area. They aim to successfully return birds to their natural environment – bringing both a balance to the local ecosystem and fulfilling the community’s need for rehabilitation services to its more than 400 native bird species of Montana.In 2015, with a busy orphaned bird season soon upon them, Big Sky Bird Rescue knew it was time to take action, and raise awareness in their community about the importance and impact of their bird rescue mission.To increases their chances of success, Big Sky Bird Rescue decided to take part in a national effort to raise money in one single day, alongside hundreds of communities across the country. The organization not only participated in Give Local America, but reached out directly to their community on the giving day in a new, and creative way.“We took our show on the road May 5, 2015, to our local elementary, middle and high schools to engage our young community members in the joy of giving, and helping save our beautiful wild birds,” said Mava Jane Hurd, board treasurer and executive director of Big Sky Bird Rescue. “We brought along a rescue bird, Dolly, who was recovering from a shot wound… The children were very enthusiastic to get up close and personal with the bird and to understand the need for our services.”By visiting local schools and showing first-hand how the organization helps wild bird life in the area, the dedicated Big Sky Bird Rescue team created a much greater awareness of their mission among the youngest members of their community – and it created a ripple effect. “Student volunteers handed out raven and bluebird decorated cookies with tags providing the link [to donate] on May 5 for the children to take home to their parents,” said Hurd.Big Sky Bird Rescue raised nearly $1,900 in one day, at a time when the need for funding was dire. The organization’s’ decision to participate in Give Local America not only satisfied an immediate need but generated lasting effects.“Bird rescues from our immediate local area increased tenfold the following season, and more often than not it was a child that discovered the bird in need,” Hurd says, “[I am now] frequently stopped in public and asked how Dolly is.”Big Sky Bird Rescue’s efforts to reach out to the little members of their community goes to show that you should never underestimate power of your audience, no matter how big or small. Thanks to their endeavors, Big Sky Bird Rescue was able to rehabilitate and release over 300 birds in 2015.