2016 Chatter Reunion & American Eagle Day Celebration a Big Success!
June 20th, 2016
Our 3rd Annual Chatter Reunion was held June 16-18 at Pigeon Forge, TN. Chatters, Moderators, and Cam Operators came from all over the United States and even Canada [16 states plus Canada] to experience and celebrate what the American Eagle Foundation stands for, and to join with other Kindred Spirits for fun and fellowship.
Activities were planned that educated and entertained us—a trip to the AEF National Eagle Center on Thursday to see the raptors and their facilities (and to shop in the gift store), followed by a dinner and auction that night attended by approximately 100 excited individuals, eager to renew friendships, meet new people, participate in the raffle and auction, and enjoy a delicious dinner. During this event, $12,391.23 was raised for the Foundation.
Some of the top auction items included:
- Food prep and feeding the non-releasable Bald Eagles in the aviary on Eagle Mountain Sanctuary
- Boat trip to the Hack Tower with Laura and Tim Sterbens.
- Photos with Al Cecere and Challenger; John Stokes & Osceola
- Challenger jesses
On Friday, many Chatters & Mods made a trip to the Hack Tower located on Douglas Lake, and some even climbed the steep ladder to see the young eagles that would soon be released.
Everyone gathered for lunch at Angelos on Douglas Lake afterwards.
Later that day, mods and remote cam operators met with Al Cecere, Laura Sterbens, & Julia Cecere at AEF headquarters for a review of the season and to plan ways to make the next season even better.
Celebrating American Eagle Day at Dollywood
American Eagle Day (June 20) is a special day to commemorate the anniversary of the Bald Eagle’s selection as our National Symbol—to celebrate its physical recovery to America’s skies and to observe the American values, ideals and attributes for which it stands.
Chatters and Mods joined other Dollywood visitors on June 18 to celebrate American Eagle Day. Having the celebration 2 days earlier on Saturday allowed more people to be able to attend and participate in all the activities. Favorites included John Stokes with Bald Eagle Osceola, story time with Al Cecere — who shared many memorable moments from his travels with Challenger—and a rousing performance by James Rogers, who entertained an enthusiastic audience with songs.
Booths for children and adults were placed close to the Wings Over America Theater, providing crafts and opportunities to learn more about eagles and the Foundation. Wings Over America birds of prey show lived up to its expectations, with performances by Christian Knatt, Beth Parker, & Karen Wilbur – and their majestic raptor friends!
This American Eagle Day, governors of 48 states out of 50 issued proclamations, the most ever! In addition, both the U.S. Senate and House acknowledged American Eagle Day on June 20th.