Sanctuary offering new virtual visits

Bringing raptor education to anyone in the world

Posted on December 01, 2012 in Education

Hawk Mountain is now offering virtual education programs as part of its goal to provide the best raptor education and to spread its conservation message globally. This new initiative is available through a partnership with the Schuylkill IU 29.

The Sanctuary's first virtual program was presented on November 28 when Educator Denise Peters reviewed the adaptations in raptors with assistance by the Sanctuary's non-releasable American kestrel. A participating group of students watched Denise and the falcon from their classroom, yet were able to ooh and ahh when the bird appeared, to raise hands and ask questions, and to otherwise interact with our educator as if she were in the room.

One goal of the new service is to provide programs for schools that may never be able to visit Hawk Mountain due to budget cuts or geographic location. A second goal is to present introductory programs to a classroom before a visit to the Sanctuary to improve the overall experience.

"A pre-visit review is a great way to guarantee a smooth visit. It helps us to meet and reinforce each teacher's goals and learning objectives, and it builds excitement for the students. It also allows Hawk Mountain to emphasize respect for the Sanctuary and to share tips for the very best visit. It's an all-around win-win," says Peters.

She adds that as the service grows, Hawk Mountain will tailor programs to fit a teacher’s specific needs.

Virtual programs also offer an easy way to teach about raptors and Hawk Mountain during the winter months, when students typically never visit, and it saves school districts money by eliminating the high cost of bus transportation.

Hawk Mountain intends to build on its first virtual experience by offering programs through the Schuylkill IU 29, and eventually, direct from Hawk Mountain following completion of its Common Room Improvement Project. The Common Room is headquarters for raptor education at Hawk Mountain, and high speed internet, a SmartBoard and video conference capabilities will allow students to either visit our School in the Clouds, or to have a visit from the School in the Clouds. Funding for this technology is being provided through a grant from The Prospect Hill Foundation.

To learn more about video conferencing at Hawk Mountain or its other education programming, please contact Education Coordinator Jeremy Scheivert at 610-756-6000 x210 or Denise Peters at 610-756-6000 x209.

To contact the Schuylkill IU 29, please call Dale Zulick at 570-544-9131 x 2382 or email [email protected].