[/av_textblock] [av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=” custom_class=”] An initiative to preserve the American Bald Eagle and promote literacy
Pigeon Forge, TN – February 7, 2007 –The American Eagle Foundation (AEF) has teamed up with the Fraternal Order of Eagles (FOE), a million member non-profit charity organization active in 1,700 communities, and Timberlin Creek Elementary School (TCE) to support the TCE’s American Eagle & Literacy Challenge, a nationwide initiative to help preserve the Bald Eagle and promote childhood literacy in the United States.
Students from Timberlin Creek Elementary School in St. Augustine, Florida generated the project idea after learning about the importance of literacy and America’s freedom symbol, the Bald Eagle – the Timberlin school mascot. Their students are challenging schools in Florida and across the country to participate in the program, which will equally support literacy projects and the AEF’s “American Eagle Fund” endowment.
“Sponsoring this program is a natural fit for the Fraternal Order of Eagles,” said Grand Worthy President Bill Loffer. “We provide our fundraising efforts to those organizations vowing to make a difference in our communities. Promoting literacy and preserving our beloved Bald Eagle is something we truly believe in supporting.”
TCE students held a statewide kick-off of their American Eagle & Literacy Challenge at their school on October 9, 2006. They have challenged 150 eagle mascot schools in florida to raise $1,000 each (a total of at least $150,000) for literacy and bald eagle preservation. Participation in an essay contest titled “How Reading Makes Me A Better American” was also encouraged. The AEF’s trained educational Bald Eagle ‘Challenger’ performed a free-flight at the event. The AEF also donated a copy of their children’s story book Challenger, America’s Favorite Eagle to each school (by Margot Raven, Sleeping Bear Press).
A national kick-off is planned for April 2007 in Orlando where Timberlin Creek students and their sponsors will challenge eagle mascot schools in the other 49 states to participate in essay contests and potentially raise $7.5 million ($150,000 per state) to support literacy programs and American Eagle Foundation efforts to continue recovering and protecting the national bird.
“After the Bald Eagle is removed from Endangered Species Act protection in June 2007, substantial funding will still be needed to ensure that its population numbers in the lower 48 states will continue to prosper,” said AEF President Al Cecere. “The Timberlin Creek students and FOE are doing a wonderful deed for our nation by helping protect this precious national treasure for future generations to enjoy.”
During the kick-off, the FOE will also join students in supporting the American Eagle Foundation’s letter-writing campaign asking governors nationwide to proclaim “American Eagle Day” on June 20th for Americans everywhere to annually celebrate – the date the Bald Eagle was officially selected as the U.S. national emblem by the Second Continental Congress in 1782. Once all governors have signed on, the AEF and students involved will ask President Bush and Congress to declare it as an official national day on the calendar. The TCE students wrote to former Governor Jeb Bush to enact the day in Florida.
Schools interested in participating in the “American Eagle Day” letter-writing campaign can learn more about it by visiting the AEF’s website, (www.eagles.org). To learn more about the “American Eagle & Literacy Challenge”, visit the Timberlin Creek School website ( http://www-tce.stjohns.k12.fl.us/ )
“Very early in the planning process, we wanted to make this a nationwide challenge and the Fraternal Order of Eagles met that need through their 3,300 aeries and auxiliaries in North America,” said TCE Committee Chair Kim Kendall. “Through their leadership efforts in engaging members across the country, we’ll be able to spread the word and celebrate reading and our country’s national symbol.”
The program is supported nationally by the Fraternal Order of Eagles, Leap Frog, American Eagle Foundation and Miley Cyrus (featured on Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana).
About the American Eagle Foundation:
The American Eagle Foundation (AEF) is a not-for-profit charitable organization established in 1985, dedicated to the care, recovery and protection of the bald eagle and its habitat. Headquartered at the Dollywood entertainment park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, the Federal and State licensed AEF conducts both environmental and eagle-focused education and recovery programs. It operates the world’s largest bald eagle exhibit and breeding facility. Since the mid 1990s, the AEF has appeared with its trained, free-flying bald eagle “Challenger” from coast-to-coast, including at the White House and various sporting events like the MLB World Series, Olympics, NFL Pro-Bowl All-Star Game, NCAA Men’s Final Four and BCS National Championship. The conservation group has appeared with non-releasable eagles and other birds of prey on national TV shows including Good Morning America, Larry King Live, David Letterman, Regis & Kelly, Fox & Friends, Dateline NBC, Jeff Corwin Experience, Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures and Animal Planet. The AEF has also received a wide range of positive national press, from publications such as Audubon Magazine, USA Today, New York Times and Washington Post. Al Cecere is the AEF’s Founder & President.
About the Fraternal Order of Eagles:
The Fraternal Order of Eagles, an international non-profit organization, unites fraternally in the spirit of liberty, truth, justice, and equality, to make human life more desirable by lessening its ills, and by promoting peace, prosperity, gladness and hope. Founded in 1898, the Eagles fund research in areas such as heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes and cancer, and raise money for neglected and abused children and the aged, as well as work for social and civic change.
For more info, please contact:
Al Cecere, Founder/President
American Eagle Foundation
P. O. Box 333, Pigeon Forge, TN 37868