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What is the Youth Raptor Program?

The Youth Raptor Program is a unique opportunity for the children of Haines to learn about Southeast Alaskan natural history and North American raptors. This program is an excellent chance for students interested in science or animal care to learn the basics of raptor anatomy, behavior, care, and more. They will take part in hands-on husbandry and science activities, and develop public speaking skills.

This program is focused both on academic learning, and personal growth and development. In addition to examinations on lecture material, students are encouraged to explore their individual strengths and passions through fun activities. Our number one goal is to foster a lasting connection with the natural world, and to give students the skills they need to share this connection with others.

Program Duration & Requirements

The 2017 Youth Raptor class begins on Saturday, February 25th with a mandatory parent/student orientation. Students must be no younger than 9 years of age, and no older than 17. Classes will take place every Saturday from March 4th until April 29th between the hours of 11am to 12:30pm (ages 9-13) and 12:45pm-2:15pm (ages 14-17). Punctuality is crucial. In order to complete the course and receive a certificate of graduation, each student must pass all tests and complete a final project to be discussed in class. If a student misses a class, it is their responsibility to make up the missed material and training with the education and outreach coordinator.

Each student must have written permission from their parent or guardian, a signed photo release, a current tetanus immunization, and a signed medical wavier accepting full responsibility for their child’s medical care in the case of an injury related to working with live raptors. We have never had a serious injury in this program and we aim to maintain this perfect record.

This class is both challenging and rewarding. Youth Raptor Program students will be taught complex concepts, and need to dedicate an appropriate amount of time to expect to graduate. In return, they will gain unique experience that will be valuable to them throughout their lives.

After the Course

When the course ends, exceptional students may be invited to continue their education through volunteering. Youth Raptor graduates can be paired with ABEF staff or interns to participate in daily operations through activities including the preparation of raptor diets, interaction with guests, aviary cleaning, watching wellness evaluations and various day to day tasks. Students who show serious dedication, a willingness to learn, and extreme animal sensitivity may be taught how to handle some of our birds with supervision.

History of the ABEF Youth Raptor Program

The American Bald Eagle Foundation Youth Raptor Program was created in 2011 by our previous Raptor Curator, Dan Hart. The initial class enrolled 11 students and produced five graduates. Since then, the ABEF Youth Raptor Program has graduated 37 students.

If you have any questions, please contact Sidney Campbell. She may be reached by telephone: 907.766.3094 or email: sidney(at)baldeagles(dot)org