Raptors swoop into Beulah Elementary
Beulah Elementary students got a first-hand look at some pretty big birds last week during special presentations held on Friday.
The program included a book on owls, bringing out a Screech Owl, an American Kestrel and a Red-Tailed Hawk and offering detailed information to the students on how the animals would live in the wild.
John Halverson, co-founder of the Black Hills Raptor Center, led the presentation. Halverson’s been working with raptors for about five years, starting right before founding the center in 2010. His mission? To educate youth throughout the region on the subject.
“I personally do about 100 programs a year with the birds, which is about 70 percent of our normal program load,” he said. “Our mission meshes with the requirements of our U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Use Permit, to provide a quality science-based conservation education experience.”
The day-to-day responsibilities involve keeping the birds healthy and ready to showcase during school presentations.
“That means gutting mice, rats, and other less-than-lovely tasks,” he stated. “By my first cup of coffee, I am often training Hendrix, an American Kestrel. His mouse gets diced into about a dozen pieces and he has to fly on command for each and every one of his tidbits.