American Bald Eagle Foundation         May 2019

(e)agle newsletter   113 Haines Highway Haines, AK 99827 907.766.3094
Intern Spotlight

Mike Flunker is one of the six summer interns joining us this summer season. He is a Marine Biology major at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau. The ABEF has a partnership with UAS with a dedicated spot for a UAS student each year. Mike was looking for a summer job with practical working experience rather than a traditional internship. He hopes to gain a personal sense of fulfillment and to feel that he is contributing to a lasting organization.

Mike came to Alaska for school before discovering the ABEF. He loves the environment and UAS’s emphasis on practical, environmental learning was the perfect fit when he was choosing a place to study. The closeness to nature is a constant motivator to work to protect the environment and do his part to preserve the wild.
Cruise Ship Season Begins

In Southeast Alaska, cruise ship season is in full swing between the months of May and September. Haines hosts large cruise ships once or twice a week, bringing in guests from all over the world. Staff and interns spend the day presenting programs, interacting with guests, and educating with the help of the avian ambassadors.
The ABEF is only about a quarter mile up the road from the cruise ship dock in Haines. Travelers step off the ship and begin their walk into town, the Foundation is one of the first places they see. Tour groups and walk-in visitors explore the aviaries and museum throughout the day, interacting with exhibits and meeting the ambassadors. Programs include natural history talks about local animals, bald eagle chats, and trainer talks with the resident raptors. With four cruise ships in the past week, the ABEF has welcomed almost 2,000 guests from Florida to Australia to England. This season is shaping up to be a busy one, but our staff and interns are prepared and excited to get started!
Intern Spotlight
Mya Esquivel recently completed her sophomore year at Humboldt State University in the Wildlife Management and Conservation program. She chose the ABEF to expand her knowledge on raptors and other birds found in Alaska. During her time here, Mya hopes to become a better educator and animal caretaker. Mya was excited to experience life in a temperate rainforest during her first visit to Alaska.

Mya came to Haines not only for the weather, but for the opportunity to work at a facility with a small, hands-on staff. At some facilities with larger staff and a larger number of interns coming through their doors, there isn’t always enough time to give everyone the attention and learning experience that they desire. With the ABEF’s small staff, Mya will have the opportunity to work with all of them and get the one-on-one time that she is looking for to learn as much as possible.

Interpretation is an important part of education at any organization. This gives guests the opportunity to read and learn as much as possible about a given subject, and sometimes answering questions they didn’t know they had. In May, the ABEF staff installed new interpretation around the raptor center to help guide guests and introduce our team of ambassadors.

Last year, when the ABEF’s Program Coordinator, Josh Sanko, was an intern, the education project he chose was to create individual and species information signage for all the ambassadors at the raptor center. The signage would include broad species information as well as information about each ambassador’s personal story and what makes them unique. Josh wrote and was awarded a grant from the Chilkat Valley Community Foundation under the guidance of Curator of Collections and Exhibits, Katie Dickerson. The grant included funds for the outdoor signs for the interpretations. Katie oversaw the project and designed the signage. The entire staff came together to complete this project, from grant writing and information editing to sign design and installment. With the signage complete, each ambassador in the raptor center has easy-to-read and accurate information for guests to enjoy.
Bear Corner

The natural history museum saw another update this past month with the Bear Corner. The bear exhibit in the museum has been a popular draw for guests as soon as they walk in the door. It featured a blonde brown bear and a cinnamon black bear, two unique color morphs. The display helped visitors learn about the different colors of brown and black bears and which physical features can be used to tell the difference between the two. 

Katie Dickerson, Curator of Collections and Exhibits, created a display featuring two brown bears and two black bears of varying color morphs with interpretation explaining the discernible physical features. This exhibit shows guests that you can’t always judge a book by its cover, or a bear by its fur.
When you become a member of the American Bald Eagle Foundation, you’re helping to fund educational programs such as our Youth Raptor Program, reduced price programs for low-income families or groups, as well as the resources we need to give our avian ambassadors the best possible care via husbandry, enrichment and training. Interested in joining?