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We are busy training new volunteers to support our birds and the increasing demand for our educational programs. We have added a new non-releasable raptor to our organization, a male juvenile Aplomado Falcon. This is an important educational bird because the species is on the Endangered Species List in the United States. It gives us a chance to educate not only about the Aplomado Falcon itself, but also about endangered status birds.
HawkQuest is a Colorado non-profit, tax exempt 501(c) 3 charitable organization founded in 1986 by Kin Quitugua, Terry Vogel and Alex Carter. HawkQuest was incorporated in 1987 and initially provided a home for 7 non-releasable raptors (i.e., birds that have gone through the rehabilitation process but were deemed non-releasable due to a physical or behavioral condition.) Today, the organization provides a home for 36 raptors. In the beginning, only one outreach program was offered to the public. Today, we offer seven distinct programs and can tailor these to the audience's needs, i.e., age/grade level, handicapped audiences, content. HawkQuest has a team of about 40 volunteers, up from 2 volunteers in the beginning, that assists in all facets of the organization, including education, volunteer training, newsletters, marketing material development, fundraising and providing care for and exercising and feeding the birds. In 2014, HawkQuest saw over 525,000 people through lectures, special events, special appearances and booth presentations. HawkQuest was recognized at the January 2013 National Western Stock Show, receiving a blue ribbon for the "Best Educational Display."
HawkQuest's mission is to "provide an educational opportunity to understand and appreciate the interaction of wild living things in their natural environment and the importance of preserving the world in which they live." Our "feathered teachers, "HawkQuest's birds, drive our mission. The birds (along with our volunteer team) see thousands of school-aged children each year. These birds add another dimension to the learning experience by taking education out of the textbook and by bringing nature up close and personal. They become the focus of the environmental discussions and are themselves the living ambassadors of HawkQuest's mission and for the wild animals that live in and around our communities. They directly teach the public the importance of being good stewards of the world in which we live.
Donations to HawkQuest will be used for the following:
1) Food for raptors
2) Veterinary care for the raptors
3) Building (mews) maintenance
4) Fuel for vans for outreach programs
Executive Director Statement
It's somewhat ironic that I was born in Guam, an island that has no native raptors; yet for nearly 30 years, I've been surrounded by raptors. Driven by a passion for birds of prey and falconry, I co-founded HawkQuest in 1986. In those days, I was giving lectures to school children with only one bird, a female Harris' Hawk. Today HawkQuest cares for 38 non-releasable raptors. I built the organization on the belief that environmental awareness is a key to the survival of the world as we know it, and that education - of our nation's youth in particular - is paramount to this process.
All of our programs are done on an outreach basis, meaning we bring the birds to the event site. This is a big cost and time saver for teachers and other student groups since the school doesn't incur the expense or time for off-site transportation.
Our student programs, featuring live raptors, are geared to specific age groups and educational needs. We offer an owl program for pre-schoolers, a field program for middle schoolers studying predator/prey relationships, and for teens, a presentation focusing on students making positive choices and life decisions related to drug and alcohol use. And our Birds of Prey Lecture is captivating for all ages, featuring four raptors - an eagle, a hawk, an owl and a falcon, including a free flight demonstration by the hawk.
I know our educational efforts are having a positive and long lasting impact on many people. Everywhere we go, throughout Colorado and bordering states, we see birds of prey enthusiasts returning to listen to our presentations, ask questions and to tell us their personal stories related to raptors and always to take another longer look at the birds who are perched just a few feet away. We're now even seeing second generations going through the HawkQuest programs. It's so rewarding when a parent will recall a HawkQuest program from his own school days while his child is seeing HawkQuest's birds for the first time.
Through the years, there have been so many interactions with so many students of all ages, but the one that really sticks with me is the 4th grade student who asked me: "If the Bald Eagle becomes extinct, will it still be our national symbol?" Fortunately, Bald Eagles have made a great comeback (as have Peregrine Falcons and California Condors); I like to think HawkQuest's education has in some way contributed to these successes, and to a better understanding of wildlife and ecosystems.
Thank you to all the wonderful HawkQuest volunteers and our supporters who have made it possible for us to continue our environmental education mission and care for so many incredible raptors.
Board Chair/President Statement
By the time a bird of prey becomes a resident of HawkQuest, that bird has already been deemed by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service and the Colorado Division of Parks & Wildlife to be non-releasable. The physical injuries and/or the impact humans have had on the bird's mental state are permanent and not reversible. The bird will never recover and would never be able to survive in the wild on its own. HawkQuest is the last stop in the bird's life, and we are committed to providing the best possible life for the bird, always respecting its role in the environment, its beauty and its wild nature.
We are thankful that the HawkQuest birds have been placed into our care, giving us the opportunity to educate the public about the species, the environment and the interaction of raptors with all living things. Our goal is to use these Raptor Ambassadors as feathered teachers to make education meaningful and fun, while also creating an atmosphere of respect for our land and encouraging the stewardship of all living things.
Through the dedicated efforts of 3 paid staff and some 40 volunteers, HawkQuest brings our birds to hundreds of public and private events each year, providing environmental education and the opportunity to see these magnificent birds at close range. I am fortunate to be one of the volunteers privileged to get the chance to hold a raptor on my glove, present the bird in public and answer so many questions about our birds and the environment. Discover your next chance to see HawkQuest in your area by checking the online calendar on our website. Or consider becoming a volunteer yourself by contacting us at HawkQuest.
I attended the Owls of the World presentation at Cherokee Castle today. I wanted to pass along to whomever loves to hear the 'good stuff' that being an owl lover, I surely enjoyed the event.
More importantly I wanted to say that the volunteer Barbara, did the most comprehensive and interesting presentation I've seen in a long time. She certainly knows the subject and her manner of presenting it was delightful. She also answered questions wonderfully well.
Just wanted you to know that I appreciate the time and effort that the volunteers invest in putting on these presentations.
Thank you, Barbara and all.
Susann B., Littleton, CO
Attendee of Barr Lake Bird Festival
"Last week I attended the Barr Lake Bird Festival. There were several different presenters there with their raptors and your group was the most engaging and congenial.
But the reason I am taking the next step and supporting you financially is because of your volunteer named LeeAnn. She went above and beyond the call of duty to allow me to take some pictures of your birds of prey. I asked her to step outside the tent so I could get some pictures against a more natural backdrop and she was happy to accommodate me.
Compared to the other groups at Barr Lake that day, yours was by far the friendliest and most willing to answer any and all questions and engage in conversation.
Keep up the good work!"
Boulder Valley School District Administrator
"It is with great pleasure that I write this letter in support of HawkQuest to provide onsite programming for elementary schools in the Boulder Valley School District. The presentations given by HawkQuest directly align with our science curriculum. I had the great pleasure of observing a HawkQuest presentation at Lafayette Elementary School. The presentation was very engaging. Students not only learned about the birds of prey themselves but also the importance of conserving bird habitats. The HawkQuest presenters were extremely professional and informative."