The Raptor Education Foundation (REF) has been promoting environmental literacy since 1980 by providing schools, corpora...

The Raptor Education Foundation (REF) has been promoting environmental literacy since 1980 by providing schools, corporations, conventions, and gatherings of all sizes unique innovative programs and seminars that connect people with the natural world. REF utilizes an extensive cast of live, non-releasable raptors to focus attention on environmental concepts and issues. Other environmental Consulting Services are also available.  These consulting services benefit from REF’s extensive natural history experience and network of associations at an international level.  REF has field experience in Africa, the Caribbean, Micronesia, Fiji, Mexico, Central and South America, Australia, Indonesia, and Russia.

What is a Raptor?

Eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, kites, osprey and harriers are all raptors! Their beaks are hooked, rather than straight, and they seize and kill their quarry using powerful feet and sharp talons. In the annals of human history, raptors have always been an integral part of mankind’s material and spiritual world. Over 4,000 years ago raptors began to be used in some cultures to help put food on the table via the art and science of falconry. Spiritually, they symbolize the highest aspirations of purpose, power, clarity, and focus. Eagles, for instance, are mentioned in virtually all of  the great religious texts, and they are central to the spiritual beliefs of many of  America’s  native peoples. Today, scientists use the world’s 557 raptor species as barometers of environmental health. Drastic declines in the populations of Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons, for example, pointed to the larger problems posed by habitat  disturbance and destruction, environmental toxins, and shootings to name a few. The Raptor Education Foundation (REF) uses these magnificent birds as ambassadors for the vast “silent majority” of living creatures: the diversity of plants, animals, and organisms that grow and support human life. The raptors in the Foundation’s care are permanently impaired, unable to survive any longer in the wild. Instead, they have found a new home and a new role as educators, and nature’s ambassadors. In a hyper technological age they connect us back to the elemental forces of nature.  In a digitally scattered and confused culture, they focus our vision. In a world trapped in a myriad of abstractions, raptors help connect us back to the primary organic realm.  REF is not a rehabilitation facility. REF takes over when rehab fails and provides these magnificent birds a meaningful sanctuary to live out the rest of their lives. For instance, eagles in captivity can live past 50 years of age.

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