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Students honored for birthday donation
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Photo by JULIANA A. TORRES
City Attorney Alan Zimmet reaches down to shake the hand of Ocean Unger, left, and Averi Miller, who were honored Jan. 8 for donating their birthday gifts to the McGough Nature Park’s birds of prey program.
LARGO – Ocean Unger and Averi Miller celebrated their joint birthday by giving back to the birds of prey program at Largo's McGough Nature Park Nov. 30.

Instead of gifts, the girls asked their guests to donate to the program on their behalf. The city of Largo honored their combined donation of just more than $250 during the commission meeting Jan. 7.

“If you raise more than $250, you get to spend some time with a bird of your choice,” explained parks superintendent Greg Brown. “They got to do that this Saturday.”

The girls got to help clean the owl cages and prepare food, which involved handling dead rodents, Lisa Unger, Ocean’s mother who came to the meeting with her husband Jeffrey, explained. Averi has a pet snake that she feeds similar food already.

“I used to catch lizards and let them go in the house,” Averi said, as her parents, Amanda and Skip Miller of Largo, smiled indulgently.

Ocean and Averi, who both live in Largo, are such fans of the McGough owls, especially Matilda, that they started an owl club at Country Day School in Largo, where they both attend.

“They told me that they both are looking forward to working as adults at McGough, so we’re going to be looking for their resumes coming up here soon,” Brown said.

The “really wonderful, selfless act,” has already been repeated, he added. A second birthday was held at the park recently. In fact, the city now plans to start a program the Natural Gift Birthday Party, where participants will receive a free shelter rental if they donate the “proceeds” of their birthdays to the park.
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