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After an egret is attacked, a CT 8-year-old holds a memorial service in its honor

Jack Perch is an 8-year-old New London boy who had the idea of honoring an egret harmed by two teenagers in New London, Connecticut. Jack and his mom Annah Perch are residents of New London and live close to Ocean Beach Park where the egret was harmed and presumably killed.   (Tony Spinelli/Connecticut Public)
Tony Spinelli
/
Connecticut Public
Jack Perch is an 8-year-old New London boy who organized a memorial service honoring an egret harmed by two teenagers in New London. Jack spends a lot of time canoeing the waters around Ocean Beach Park and "seemed to be grieving the loss of a friend," said his mother, Annah Perch.

Eight-year-old Jack Perch was bothered when he heard that two teenagers attacked an egretat Ocean Beach Park in New London.

“What they did was not a good thing,” he said.

So he decided to do something about it.

“We want to show that we're sorry for the egret.”

Jack worked with his mom to organize a memorial service to honor the bird, which officials presume is dead.

On Monday, Jack and Annah Perch gathered with others at the park. The service featured a poetry reading (The Snowy Egret by Nancy Keating) and a musical performance by local musicians, Steve Elci and Friends.

Jack has spent a lot of time along the water, often in a canoe, and has seen all sorts of birds and egrets through the years.

“When you see one flying by, it kind of looks like a pterodactyl,” he said.

When Jack talked with his mom about what happened to the egret, he seemed to be grieving the loss of a friend, she said.

Jack his mom Annah Perch walk their Ocean Beach neighborhood.
Tony Spinelli
/
Connecticut Public
Jack and his mother, Annah Perch, walk their Ocean Beach neighborhood. “If we can feel the pain that we all feel towards animals, if we can make that into something good, and help them, then he didn't die in vain,” Annah Perch said.

“He definitely wanted to honor that friend, and memorial services are what he knows about, although I don't even know if he's ever been to one,” Annah Perch said. “But that just seemed to be the one thing to do – to serve cookies and to talk about the bird and to get together with our neighbors because he felt scared.”

After the vigil, people came up to Jack to thank him for what he did.

He felt proud.

“Like I accomplished something,” he said.

His mother is proud, too.

“I'm not surprised,” she said. “He's a very, very sweet boy.”

In recent days, Jack and his mom have been reflecting on the egret – how the bird was attacked, and how society treats animals.

“If we can feel the pain that we all feel towards animals, if we can make that into something good, and help them, then he didn't die in vain,” she said.

Jack offered his advice: Don’t hurt animals. Be kind to animals.

“Be the way you want to be treated,” he said. “Like they're in your family.”

He also offered a warning.

“Don’t go to Ocean Beach to make trouble.”

An egret takes fling along the Alewife Coe Nature Walk at Ocean Beach in New London CT.
Tony Spinelli
/
Connecticut Public
An egret takes flight along the Alewife Cove Nature Walk at Ocean Beach in New London, Connecticut.

Chion Wolf is the host of Audacious with Chion Wolf on Connecticut Public, featuring conversations with people who have uncommon or misunderstood experiences, conditions, or professions.

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