Minerva's Eye

Here at the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary we get many requests to visit schools and other worthy organisations to give talks, lectures and the occasional flying demonstration.

These events are something we love to do, as it gives us the opportunity to share our beautiful birds with the community at large and at the same time educate, entertain and hopefully promote the centre in regard of the rehabilitation and re-release work with the wild injured birds of prey that are brought in to S.O.S. every year.

However, every now and then these requests take an unusual turn and that was the case when we were recently asked to make a ‘surprise’ appearance at a local Ipswich school.

The school in question was Ipswich High School for Girls, which is currently celebrating two very significant anniversaries - the first being its being established for 130 years; and the second, it being the 15th anniversary of the schools move to its present 84 acre site, located just outside the town in the grounds of Woolverstone Hall.

The impressive facade of Ipswich High School for Girls at Woolverstone

In recognition, the school decided it was time to give their existing logo a face-lift, and they chose an owl as the inspiration for the new graphic because the school is a member of the Girls’ Day School Trust, whose logo is the Roman goddess Minerva.

For those unfamiliar with Roman mythology, Minerva was the goddess famed for having an owl as a companion.
The Romans, adapting the original Greek myths, believed that Minerva was born in a rather usual way - the story goes that when the god Jupiter once suffered a horrible headache, his compatriot Vulcan opened up his head and out came the goddess Minerva. She was fully grown; dressed in armor, a long trailing robe, a helmet, a shield and a spear; & was accompanied by an owl. As Jupiter's daughter, Minerva was thus regarded as the virgin goddess of warriors, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, crafts, and the inventor of music. As Minerva Medica, she was also the goddess of medicine and doctors.

Ready for action - the goddess Minerva is born dressed ready for battle - and with an Owl in tow

Therefore the choice of this particular goddess was totally in sync with the current hilosophy of Ipswich High School for Girls, which encourages its students to pursue many of the vocations and pastimes listed above.  And as Minerva’s owl was also thought to be very wise, benefiting symbiotically from the goddess’ own great wisdom, an owl provided a fitting symbol from which to develop a new logo. As possibly the most widely known of all owl attributes is their incredibly good eyesight, the school focussed on this as the basis of the new graphic.

And that was where we came in.  The logo was developed earlier in the year, ready for the new school term to beginning in the Autumn, and we were asked along to the school to help launch it, together with the help of our Indian Eagle Owl, Baloo.

The new logo is presented to the School at a special ceremony

Elaine Purves, head of the school, said, “We are delighted with the new-look logo. It is fresh, bright and meaningful.  At first glance it could be a  flower or a sunburst, both images which reflect the energy, growth and optimism which permeate the school: to further understand the connection of our logo with Minerva’s Owl is also to appreciate the link with our GDST heritage and its commitment to the dynamic education of girls.”

Baloo and some of the students pose for the local press

Speaking for S.O.S., we're delighted that in today’s modern society, owls still have a very significant part to play in the education of young people, and that these fascinating creatures are still as important and inspiring today as they have been throughout history. We hope that the school will continue to go from strength to strength under its new logo, and we were delighted to help with its launch.