PERALTA — A world-renowned expert in modern methods of livestock handling to improve animal welfare and productivity will be visiting Valencia County later this month.
Temple Grandin, Ph.D., a Colorado State University professor of animal sciences, animal behaviorist and autism activist, will be visiting Peralta nonprofit Wilderwood Equine Therapy on Saturday, Feb. 18.
Grandin will speak to community members and sign copies of her newest book, “Visual Thinking: The Hidden Gifts of People Who Think in Pictures, Patterns, and Abstractions.”
Dr. Rebecca Evanko, the executive director at Wilderwood Equine Therapy, in Peralta, a program created by Evanko, who is autistic, and her husband, Mark, to serve autistic adults, invited Grandin to the facility to promote her latest book.
“We are both autistic women, both have Ph.D.s, both love and advocate for animals,” Evanko said. “We are going into our fifth year and have seen incredible growth, especially in the last 12 months or so.
“Dr. Grandin is a high-profile person, so this seemed like a good way to connect with our local community with her and a local organization they might not know about.”
The day at Wilderwood is a fundraiser for the nonprofit, Evanko said, but she hopes it will be accessible to community members.
The meet and greet with Grandin will be from 10 a.m. to noon, and admission is a donation at the gate, Evanko said.
“It’s what people can give; if it’s only a dollar, that’s great,” the executive director said.
The morning meet and greet will be followed by an afternoon $30 ticket-only event from 2-4 p.m., featuring a lecture by Grandin, a presentation by participants of Wilderwood’s youth program, and a demonstration of Légèreté dressage by James Riedeman, one of only a handful of Foundation Level Instructors of Ecole de Légèreté in the United States.
“We wanted to make this as appealing to as many people as possible. This is a major fundraiser for us, as well as a way to increase community awareness,” Evanko said. “The demonstration with the kids is called ‘Sharks in the Sea.’ It teaches cooperation and problem solving, and it’s a lot of fun to watch.”
Named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential people in the world in 2010, Grandin has authored multiple bestselling books, and an HBO movie, “Temple Grandin,” was made about her remarkable life.
Tickets to the afternoon event are available at templegrandinatwilderwood.eventbrite.com, as well as the $300 sponsorship tickets for one of six horses at Wilderwood.
Sponsorship includes being photographed with your sponsored horse and a dinner with Grandin and the executive team from Wilderwood.
Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.