The Raptor Center-inauguration connection
For immediate release
Nick Hanson, Academic Health Center, 612-624-2449
Drew Swain, University News Service, 612-625-8962
Eagle feathers from The Raptor Center to be part of Obama presidential inauguration day
MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (Jan. 16, 2009) – At the request of the federal government, 11 white bald eagle tail feathers from The Raptor Center will be used at the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama on Tuesday, Jan. 20, in Washington, D.C.
The feathers will adorn a treaty stick that the chairs of the 11 Minnesota tribes will carry with them during the inauguration celebrations.
"We are honored to provide the feathers for this historic occasion," said Juli Ponder, executive director of The Raptor Center. "These feathers are from the same eagles that have graced countless classrooms and events throughout Minnesota."
Shortly after Obama won the election, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service contacted Ponder for her assistance in acquiring the rare feathers. For this special occasion, Raptor Center eagle handlers selected and sent tail feathers molted from the ambassador eagles in the education program.
"While our contribution certainly won't be the centerpiece of the day, we are still greatly privileged to be a part of this moment in American history," said Ponder.
Established in 1974, the Raptor Center specializes in the medical care, rehabilitation and conservation of eagles, hawks owls and falcons. In additional to treating approximately 800 birds a year, the internationally known program reaches more than 240,000 people each year through public education programs and events.
The College of Veterinary Medicine improves the health and well-being of animals and people by providing high-quality veterinary training, conducting leading-edge research, and delivering innovative veterinary services.