Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Bald Eagle Foundation receives $25K donation


September 21, 2017

The American Bald Eagle Foundation recently received a $25,000 donation toward its aviary redesign project.

The nonprofit is in the early stages of fundraising to redesign enclosures for its resident birds and improve its outdoor education facilities. A GoFundMe account was set up for the effort last October.

Harold Williams, a 20-year ABEF board member, and his wife Ailene donated $25,000 to the project, bringing the foundation’s crowdfunding total up to $46,000.

Williams taught building construction at Auburn University and designed the existing aviaries at the foundation.

Although the enclosures meet minimum size requirements for the raptors - owls, eagles, hawks and falcons housed at the foundation - Williams said, “They are way out of date. They need to be torn down and rebuilt.”

Museum coordinator Katelyn Dickerson said the project will cost about $800,000.

The foundation hopes to fundraise $100,000 and obtain the rest from grants, matching donations and corporate sponsorships.

The foundation worked with the Foraker Group, Earthscape Alaska and architect Steve Fishback in early 2016 to create a conceptual design, which includes larger, more open aviaries for at least eight birds, new parking spaces and a bus parking zone, easy walking access to the outdoor aviaries from the main building, learning nodes and a learning plaza, a bird sunning yard, a bathroom facility and updated landscaping.

“What we’re starting to do right now is look for smaller foundation grants, around the $2,000 to $10,000 range,” said education and outreach coordinator Sidney Campbell. “Having the support of the community and a successful GoFundMe should represent us as successful when going for larger grants from the Rasmuson Foundation or MJ Murdock Charitable Trust.”

Williams, who lives in Alabama and often visits his vacation home in Haines, said he heard about the foundation’s efforts to seek out grant money.

“I believe in the mission of the foundation to protect the bald eagle and its habitat,” Williams said. “We needed to get some money into that fund. My wife and I had the money, so I sent a check to get it started.”

The foundation created new T-shirts to benefit the project, available at the foundation’s gift shop. Staff and interns have incorporated information about the aviary redesign into their daily presentations this summer and fall to encourage donations from tourists.

Visit American Bald Eagle Foundation Aviary Redesign on Facebook or GoFundMe for more information.


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