SHERIDAN — The Sheridan Jaycees have admitted responsibility for introducing a non-native species of bird into the local ecosystem. The flock of approximately a dozen plastic pink flamingos has been traveling around the Sheridan area in an unpredictable pattern since it was introduced in mid-September.
Jaycees President Michelle Edwards said the group, also known as the United States Junior Chamber, has undertaken a call to raise money for malaria prevention. The flamingos establish the unique leverage of social pressure to get homeowners to donate to the cause.
“We’ve been putting the flock in people’s yards, and we post a note on the door explaining it and asking for a suggested donation of $20,” Edwards said. “People have had a really good time with it so far.”
After the donation is submitted, the flock’s host gets to choose the next site the flamingos should visit, and they are then whisked away by Jaycees volunteers.
Edwards said she expects the flock will travel around the Sheridan area until the weather prohibits further relocation of the birds.
Edwards said proceeds from the flamingo funds will be donated to the nonprofit group Nothing But Nets, which provides bed nets for people in countries where mosquitos transmit the deadly disease.
According to the United Nations Foundation, which sponsors the Nothing But Nets campaign, a child on the continent of Africa dies every 45 seconds from malaria infection. A ten-dollar donation provides for an insecticide-treated bed net to be distributed to an individual living in a high risk malaria area.
Sheridan’s Jaycees have taken up the project in conjunction with the organization’s national initiative.