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Mudge students adopt birds of prey

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Fundraising project allows class to sponsor two injured raptors

By The Staff

By KELLIE ETHERIDGE

Turret Staff Writer

kellie.etheridge@us.army.mil

Fort Knox’s Mudge Elementary School was invaded by some impressive raptors April 30, but not raptors of the Jurassic Park Velociraptor variety.

Raptors are birds of prey and include eagles, hawks, owls, falcons, and vultures.

Belinda Glenn’s second grade class at Mudge received a collective lesson in reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies by simply wanting to help endangered and threatened animals.

During every fourth unit of the school year, Glenn likes to have her class focus on an endangered animal. After the students did some research on the Internet, they discovered Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky, Inc., based in Louisville.

RROKI helps to rehabilitate injured and orphaned raptors. Additionally, the organization ensures that the public has the opportunity to become educated and knowledgeable about raptors and gain an appreciation for them.

 Glenn’s class wanted to participate in the Adopt-a-Raptor program, which allowed the students to sponsor a bird of their choice for $50 a year. But first they needed the $50.

So the students had to decide how they were going to raise the money. They first thought up an idea for a product to sell and decided on flower pots and seeds for Mother’s Day.

Next, the students were advised by Glenn to create a feasibility survey so they could determine if anyone would be interested in purchasing their product. The survey also inquired whether someone would pay $1.50, $2, or $2.50 and how many items they would buy. The surveys were then distributed among students and their parents in the first, second, and third-grade classes. After the surveys were completed, the students collected the data and examined the results, which showed that there was an interest in their product and that most people were willing to pay $2.

“The kids had ownership (of the entire project),” Glenn said.

The flower pots and seeds sold for $2 each and Mother’s Day pins also were sold for 50 cents apiece.

After the completion of the project, Glenn’s class had raised a little over $106—enough to adopt two raptors.

The students decided to adopt Pudge, the Eastern screech owl. Pudge is a female who was hit by a car in 2001 and lost an eye. They also adopted Sophie, a North American kestrel who unfortunately wasn’t able to make it to the show because she was acting as a foster mom and vigilantly sitting on some eggs.

“It’s really nice for the kids to have a community activist-type project,” said Dr. Gregg Mowen, the principal at Mudge. “They’re learning that they can identify a topic through discussion, through someone reading an article, or finding something on the Internet, and turn it into an activity that really will help the condition—in this case of the raptors.”

The idea of the raptors was contagious and spilled out into another classroom. Carol Johnson, Glenn’s fellow second grade teacher, also encouraged her class to participate in raptor education and taught her students a unit on owls. They wrote poems about owls and even created an owl mural, which was on display in the auditorium/cafeteria during the show.

The students met Pudge for the first time when Raptor Rehab’s founder, Eileen Wicker, brought her to the show. During the display of raptors the students received a lesson in how the birds maintain a balance of nature by controlling rodent and insect

populations.

Wicker also explained to the students that raptors are carnivores and distinguishable by their hooked or curved beaks, which makes it possible for them to tear into the flesh of their prey. Raptors also have powerful feet that are used for gripping and killing their prey.

After displaying and describing some raptors to the students, Aquila, the bald eagle, made an appearance for the finale of the show.

Wicker was presented with the check for the money raised to aid the raptor rehab program, as well as a cart filled with paper towels, washcloths, paper, rubbing alcohol, and other items for the Raptor Rehab Center.

“Belinda (Glenn) has been stressing (to her students) that one person can

make a difference, so don’t look at things as being hopeless or too big,” said

Mowen. “Just do what you can do and it will make a difference.”

If you should find a raptor that needs help, call RROKI at 502-491-1939 or call the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Office at 800-858-1549.