American Bald Eagle Foundation                         August 2017

(e)agle newsletter   113 Haines Highway Haines, AK 99827 907.766.3094
Goodbye to Raptor Curator
Alaska's first certified professional bird trainer heads South

This August, ABEF staff said goodbye to one of our most dedicated and influential employees. Since she began with us in 2014, Leia Minch has been a force of positive change. Under her direction and guidance, ABEF has become a birds-first facility dedicated to the highest quality of care possible. ABEF now employs non-coercive, choice based raptor training which has enhanced both the birds’ quality of life, and the quality of our programming. She wore many hats during her time here, and never stopped developing her skills and furthering her education. In 2016, she became the first Certified Professional Bird Trainer in the state of Alaska. She also spearheaded the pre-development process for our Aviary Redesign project and made countless other contributions to the Foundation in her time here.

In addition to her dedication to the birds, Minch has been a passionate educator, an eloquent writer and communicator, and a joy to work with. She has never shied away from honesty, and her direct communication with staff led us to be an efficient and cohesive team. Both personally and professionally, Minch is an inspiration. With this inspiration, staff will continue pushing the ABEF toward higher standards and better pursuit of our mission. While her coworkers are sad to see her go, we will never stop being proud of the accomplishments she made here, and we wish her the best of luck as she pursues her education.

Haines Rocks
National trend reaches
small town Alaska
Rocks have overtaken Haines. Yes, you read that right. Haines, like much the United States, is obsessed with the rock craze. The idea behind this trend is that people collect rocks, paint them, and then hide them for others to find and either keep or re-hide. The ABEF did not take this opportunity for “granite,” for our August First Friday event we held a rock painting evening, with complimentary rocks, and a showing of PBS’s Wild Alaska. We hosted approximately 30 guests at this family-friendly event, along with a pop-up booth for the local chapter of Big Brothers and Big Sisters. All sorts of animal-themed rocks were painted and hid that evening!
More Goodbyes as Interns Head Back to School
The 2017 summer interns out did themselves creating a range of different projects for the Foundation this summer. Two interns, Jen Sleeman and Mary Kate Cullen, focused on raptor characteristics to create a cohesive interactive on raptor vision and pellets. These interactives provide guests with the opportunity to feel, see, and play with the exhibit in order to gain a better understanding of these aspects of raptors. Another project developed by intern, Erin Milhbachler, involved crowd sourcing to better understand how our visitors are thinking about protecting raptors, paired with an informational flyer. Last, but not least, intern Jake Shurba created a birding guide focused on the Chilkat Valley using images captured by local photographers.

For all their hard work on projects, programming, and husbandry, the ABEF sends a warm thank you and wishes them the best of luck. We look forward to following your accomplishments!
ABEF Strives for Improved Programming
All summer long the ABEF has been surveying our visitors to better understand who is coming in our doors and how . The survey focuses on demographics, programming, and conservation-mindedness. At this point we have collected over 300 surveys and are beginning the input and analysis process. We hope this information will help us better understand our audience, who they are and where they are coming from. We also hope that this project will provide insight into the effectiveness of our programming and the messages our visitors are walking away with. We hope to share the results of this survey process in the coming months. Stay tuned!
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?