Not long ago a turkey was seen strutting through Leigh Farm Park, Piedmont Wildlife Center's new location. It got me thinking, like Ben Franklin, what a great emblem that bird would make -- although instead of an emblem for the United States, as Franklin argued in a letter to his daughter, I think it could be an emblem for Piedmont Wildlife Center.I make my case on somewhat different grounds, though. Yes, the turkey is a "respectable bird, and withal a true native of America," as Ben wrote. But I point instead to the amazing resiliency the turkey has displayed in recovering from a low of 2,000 birds in North Carolina in the 1970s to the more than 150,000 birds proudly populating the wilds of our state today.The decline of the turkey was certainly aided by human activity -- by development gobbling the gobbler's habitat, and by hunting and pesticides that directly and indirectly decreased the population. But the recovery is also due to human intervention; a program of relocation and careful wildlife management has resulted in a remarkable rebound.Piedmont Wildlife Center has been here for five years and would like to be a part of the preservation, support and expansion of turkeys and other North Carolina wildlife populations in the future.Our mission is clear: to support native North American wildlife through rehabilitation, education and scientific study, with emphasis given to the conservation of wildlife and its habitat in North Carolina. Our hospital has treated thousands of animals, our education program has reached thousands of kids through school programs and camps, and our research efforts have identified leading causes of wildlife morbidity in our area. Which is why I argue that the proud, strong, proliferating turkey would make a great emblem for Piedmont Wildlife Center. Please support Piedmont Wildlife Center in celebrating our fifth year of existence. Check into our camps being offered this summer for the first time at Leigh Farm Park. Join the Run for Wildlife on April 13 at Lake Crabtree County Park or come to the Festival for Wildlife at Leigh Farm Park on May 3 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. There will be great music, animals, games, face painting, stories and much more. Details are available at www.piedmontwildlifecenter.org or by calling (919) 489-0900.