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Allison Woods Outdoor Learning Center focuses on igniting curiosity, understanding, and respect for nature through education at our Classroom in the Forest!


In honor of World Down Syndrome Day on March 21st, Allison Woods Outdoor Learning Center would like to share a most heartwarming story with you that touched our non-profit organization and its team deeply.

Sarah Stikeleather is 29 years old and lives in Statesville, NC with her family. She is an athlete and global messenger for the Special Olympics as well as a 2-time cancer survivor!

Sarah has volunteered at the local Library, Yokefellow, Shoney’s, K-Mart, and Iredell Memorial Hospital. She has a poodle named Smokey Joe that is her best friend and she enjoys spending her weekends in the mountains and at the lake.

Sarah has been enrolled in a watercolor art class at the local college for 10 years. She has enrolled entries several years in the community Art Show. She even painted during many years of classes sitting across from Tom Allison.

 Sarah came out to the World Falconry Day celebration last November hosted by Allison Woods Outdoor Learning Center and the North Carolina Falconers Guild. While she liked seeing all of the different birds, she fell in love with Ruby, the Eastern Screech Owl Animal Educator for the Outdoor Learning Center. She decided that she wanted her next painting to be of Ruby.

After she finished her painting she asked if she could donate it to the Allison Woods Outdoor Learning Center. She made copies of her painting to sell because she wanted to raise money to help with Ruby’s care.

The prints made from Sarah’s painting are on sale for $1.00 each as per Sarah’s request. She will be kept informed of all those who, like her, want to help with Ruby’s care.

The attached pictures are of Sarah and her painting of Ruby. Ruby is on her handler’s fist posing with Sarah.

We feel it is extremely thought provoking how a young woman that has faced so many challenges in her short life still thinks of others around her.

Perhaps we should all be a little more like Sarah Stikeleather!

To purchase a print, please contact us at (704)873-5976, or All donors will be shared with Sarah.

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