[/av_textblock] [av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=” custom_class=”] A World-Famous Raptor Soars into Cyberspace!
Pigeon Forge, TN, June 21, 2007 – On MySpace.com he’s described as an athletic, 2-foot tall male. He goes by the name of “Freedom Flyer,” and makes his home in the Tennessee foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Meet Challenger, the celebrity Bald Eagle with a special mission to educate people about protecting our nation’s natural resources – including bringing eagles and nature to young people absorbed day and night with the Internet.
With kids spending substantial amounts of time everyday at their computers and fewer hours playing outdoors appreciating the natural world, Challenger—who is cared for by the not-for-profit American Eagle Foundation (AEF) located at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee—is soaring into cyberspace to find a few nature-minded friends.
The first Bald Eagle in U.S. history trained to fly untethered (called “free-flying”) at major public sporting and other events, a page was created for Challenger on MySpace.com, and several of his famous and dramatic free-flights – including appearances at MLB World Series and NFL Pro-Bowl games – can be seen on a new four-minute music video on YouTube.com.
“Many children today are not spending much time outdoors discovering the wonders of nature. With most having cell phones, instant messaging and various personal on-line websites, they’re spending many hours absorbed in a wired world,” said AEF President Al Cecere. “That’s why we’re taking our eagle conservation message into the electronic playground they now favor and frequent. Challenger is well-known to many of these kids already and makes a big impression on them.”
Off-line, too, Challenger is no stranger to the American people. For over 10 years, he’s been visiting schools and free-flying during the national anthem at high-profile public events coast-to-coast. Along with his high-profile appearances on most major talk/news shows and at many championship sporting events, Challenger has a State of Tennessee specialty license plate that features his regal image, his own children’s story book – Challenger: America’s Favorite Eagle – and will soon even be featured on a U.S. mint commemorative coin (to be marketed in 2008). An animated motion picture that tells the celebrity eagle’s life story in a kid-friendly manner is also in the planning stages.
“Since millions of young people are spending so much time on the web and in front of the computer screen, it makes a lot of sense for us to reach out to them right in the very places they gather daily,” said Cecere. “Being an intriguing raptor and the majestic symbol of our nation, Challenger has a special way of connecting with everyone, young and old.”
Challenger’s free-flying video can be seen on YouTube.com at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCxLQXHpdTw. For more information about the American Eagle Foundation and to make a donation, visit www.eagles.org.
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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 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, U.S. Capitol Building, Pentagon and various high-profile sporting events such as the World Series, Olympics, Men’s Final Four, and NFL Pro-Bowl.