Sadness has hit Bird TLC. We lost our long time member, volunteer, Eagle presenter, Snowy Owl presenter, and friend Leslie Lancaster and her daughter Morgan in a car accident outside of Girdwood this past Saturday.
Leslie Lancaster was the 48-year-old single mom who met with families or prescribed interventions when a student needed behavioral help, clothing or a shower at school, friends and colleagues said. She also was a fixture at bird festivals and schools around the western Kenai Peninsula, where she gave frequent presentations about the live bald eagle and snowy owl she kept at home.
Morgan was the little girl in pink and purple who always had a spare pencil and some mathematical insights for her classmates. She was a day short of her seventh birthday when she died.
Lancaster had a lifelong love of animals. Three dogs perished with her and her daughter in the car, and she kept a bald eagle and snowy owl that had been rehabilitated through the Anchorage-based Bird Treatment and Learning Center.
Center executive director Rachel Morse said Lancaster previously served as board president, and was trained and licensed to keep the injured birds. As a bird education presenter, she was required to make 12 educational appearances with each bird annually, so school kids up and down the Peninsula knew her as the eagle lady or the owl lady.
"She was probably one of those tomboys running around and coming home with a fistful of frogs and baby birds," Morse said. "She was very kind."
Morse said she believed Lancaster moved to Anchor Point to raise Morgan in true Alaska style.
"She was extremely devoted to her daughter," she said. "She really got into the type of life that Alaska can let you have. You can be a free thinker and a single mom and have wild birds in your backyard and have that kind of quintessential Alaska life."
Leslie was a very friendly woman I always saw with a smile. Morgan was also a happy child. You can tell her and her mom got along well. They both will be missed for a long time.
Links to the different news stories.