Katelyn Dotson and Kayla Jackson educate school children about bald eagles
Brad Skinner at the Wings of America theater
Jenna Penland with Jupiter, the Barn Owl
Carly Hamilton and Desi at the SandHill Crane Festival
Challenger in Flight at San Diego School
Ashley and George the Turkey Vulture provide virtual education through distance learning on Zoom
“In the end, we conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.”
Those words are as appropriate today as they were when Baba Dioum first spoke them in 1968 at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
American Eagle Foundation’s mission pillars of conservation, education, and protection are core to everything that we do. Our educational mission inspires future conservationists to join us in our mission to conserve and protect birds of prey.
AEF carries its outreach programs into schools, parks, veteran organizations, and corporate events with bird of prey programs featuring our non-releasable raptors. At Dollywood, our Wings of America birds of prey show has educated millions of visitors, while providing a fast-paced, always entertaining hour of fun. Our Avian Care Staff are knowledgeable and entertaining and delight their audiences with stories unique to each bird and the species it represents. In 2021, our outreach expanded into the virtual platform, reaching viewers across the country on platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
We are proud to present our live HD cams on several bald eagle nests, where our viewers can see the lives of these magnificent creatures unfold from the comfort of their classrooms, computer rooms – or even their mobile devices. Our cams feature an online chat, whereby those watching the eagles can ask questions or share observations with others. This chat is monitored by moderators and cam operators—individuals immersed in eagle knowledge, who welcome and help inform those who visit. Our moderators also encourage teachers to set up a scheduled viewing time just for their class, so the students can ask all the questions they want in a friendly, welcoming environment.
Our resident raptor ambassadors provide additional educational outreach through their social media presence, and these charismatic raptors are the most well-known (and well-loved) birds of prey around. Challenger, now retired from his famous stadium flights, continues to educate in more personalized, intimate programming. George the turkey vulture, Poe the raven, and Bash the black vulture delight through their Instagram presence, offering behind-the-scenes glimpses into their day to day lives.
In 2022, American Eagle Foundation will be able to host fieldtrips, camps, conferences, and other educational programming at our own facility for the first time in our 35+ year history. Project Eagle, our new facility, will contain three adaptable, high-tech classrooms for visiting schools and organizations. Here, we will provide Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS) aligned curriculum for seamless integration into lesson plans, along with STEM-based experiments that deepen learners’ appreciation of raptor natural history. Exhibit space within our Educational Building will be equipped with cutting-edge, interactive technology that allows visitors to see American Eagle Foundation’s illustrious history come to life. Finally, Project Eagle will be open to the public, allowing us to enact our mission pillars like never before.