An Update for our Supporters

Posted on March 23, 2020 in General

Dear friends,

Here at Hawk Mountain, the health of our supporters, visitors, volunteers, and staff remains our top priority. As the coronavirus continued to spread and following recommendations from the CDC and the Governor’s office, last week the board and staff closed all Visitor Center facilities and trails, and cancelled programs and events through May 10.

This was the most difficult decision the Sanctuary has ever faced, but these are unprecedented times, and your continued support has been humbling.

Like many of you, we recognize the solace our members, neighbors and visitors find at the Sanctuary, but we also have a responsibility to safeguard both you and the property, which we also manage as a sanctuary for wildlife and its habitat. Many of our trails are simply too narrow to avoid close contact with passerby, restrooms must be locked, and we are not staffed at a level to manage large and unsupervised crowds. Pennsylvania's governor has also ordered the closing of all businesses that are not "life-sustaining."  Although there is some ambiguity in this order, we are being conservative and modeling good citizenship by considering ourselves subject to the Governor's directive.

Above all, we want to do our best, follow science-based suggestions, and be part of the solution. We want to reduce the need to travel and encourage everyone to explore nature outside your window and in your own backyards and neighborhoods. We want to help control the spread of this virus and reopen as quickly as possible.

Looking ahead, I am grateful for the generosity of many people over our 86-year history. Our reserve fund is strong and we are able to keep staff employed for the foreseeable future. Technology allows work to continue remotely, and limited on-site staff is able to keep the facilities secure and our live raptor “educators” remain healthy and safe.

All staff can and will respond to voicemail messages and emails. We may reach out to you personally to say thanks and check in, and encourage you to do the same, anytime. We will continue to share messages on our ongoing spring surveys and field research, which continues following new guidelines for safety and distancing, as well as share stories from our trainee graduates and many colleagues and partners who are studying and helping to conserve raptors, local to global.

This is a challenging time for everyone and we feel a deep responsibility for your health and welfare. We remain dedicated to ensuring the legacy of Hawk Mountain continues and we thank you again, now more than ever, for your ongoing support.

Please stay connected through our website and social media channels, watch for more email updates, and above all, be well.

Yours in health and conservation,

Sean Grace