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12-year-old makes life ‘Bearable’ at Amicalola Falls

POSTED: November 30, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Photo/Submitted/

Interpretive Ranger Lauretta Dean, Ethan Phillips and Site-Manager Bill Tanner pose under the new black bear schedule-holders. The 12-year-old artist donates time and artwork to Amicalola Falls State Park on a regular basis.

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A volunteer at Amicalola Falls decided to give the park a face-lift ... by replacing worn out “Ranger Rick” signs promoting free public programs, with black bear characters holding monthly schedules. 

  

Ethan Phillips, a resident of Clayton, has been traveling to the state park since May to help with the birds of prey. He even spent his birthday cleaning birdcages and carriers, repairing mews, feeding critters and helping rangers. 

  

As a Friend of Amicalola Falls State Park, Phillips wanted to work with the animals and “make a difference.”

  

That mission was accomplished when Phillips, encouraged by site-manager Bill Tanner, used his artistic talent to sketch two prototype bears, then let rangers “vote” for their favorite.

  

After the Friends group purchased the raw materials, rangers and volunteers worked on the signs that were completed in October, just in time for the new November programming schedule at the park.

  

“Phillips is an inspiration,” Tanner said. “He works hard, doesn’t complain and is always dependable. He’s very talented, not only with the animals, but with a pencil as well. It’s refreshing to find a volunteer with work ethics like his, and all the more amazing when you learn he’s just 12-years-old.”

  

Visitors can view Phillips’ handy work simply by visiting the park shelters, amphitheaters and the Visitor Center. 

  

Amicalola Falls State Park is located on Hwy. 52, between Dahlonega and Ellijay.

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