Conservation Award Given to National Eagle Charity
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Honors American Eagle Foundation
Pigeon Forge, TN, May 3, 2007 — The American Eagle Foundation (AEF) received the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) Conservation Award on May 1, 2007 at a special ceremony in Atlanta. The federal agency recognized the not-for-profit organization’s 22 years of work to help recover America’s Bald Eagle population in the lower 48 states – especially in the Southeast. The AEF cares for the world’s largest collection of non-releasable Bald Eagles, which include a Bald Eagle exhibit and breeding program at its United States Eagle Center, located at the Dollywood family adventure park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Presented by Sam Hamilton, Southeast Regional Director for the USFWS, the award comes at a time when the Bald Eagle will soon be “delisted” from Endangered Species Act protection (June 2007).
“It’s truly an honor to have our Foundation’s work recognized by the nation’s key federal agency responsible for fish and wildlife protection,” said AEF Founder and President Al Cecere, who accepted the Conservation Award. “Our staff has worked hard over the years to help bring back our majestic national bird from the brink of extinction. This endangered species success story would not have been possible without state, federal and private groups all across America working cooperatively together.”
Although the FWS applauded the AEF for its comprehensive strategy – including eagle reintroduction, captive breeding, and extensive environmental/wildlife education efforts – Cecere was quick to add that the national bird isn’t out of the woods just yet.
“The Bald Eagle may soon be removed from the ESA’s threatened species list, but it has still not fully recovered. The birds’ fight for future survival will continue. It will cost millions of dollars to monitor and protect eagle nests on private lands nationally for the remainder of this decade and beyond – to fully return our living symbol of freedom to America’s lands, waterways and skies.”
About the AEF:
Established in 1985, the AEF is a not-for-profit charitable organization dedicated to the recovery, protection and preservation of the Bald Eagle and its habitat. The Federal and State-licensed organization conducts environmental, ecological and eagle-focused recovery and education programs, and operates the world’s largest Bald Eagle exhibit and breeding facility. Since 1995, the AEF has appeared coast to coast with its trained, free-flying Bald Eagle ‘Challenger,’ including at the White House and various sporting events such as the World Series, Olympics, Men’s Final Four, and NFL Pro-Bowl.
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