Wednesday morning, over 40 students from Parkside’s Pre-School and School Age Program were treated to a special presentation from Antigo-based Raptor Education Group Inc. (REGI) at the Prairie River Middle School Auditorium.
Presented by Director of Education Elise Schuler and summer interns Natalie Erickson (UW-Stevens Point) and Emilee Nissen (St. Norbert College); Parkside students were introduced to and learned a range of fun facts about 5 species of raptors commonly found across the state of Wisconsin.
The guests of the morning were ‘Millie’ the Northern Goshawk, ‘Storm’ the Barn Owl, ‘Fonzie’ the Great Horned Owl, ‘Benji’ the American Kestrel and ‘Otis’ the Peregrine Falcon.
Click the video below to meet them!
Examples of the many fun facts discussed during the hour long presentation; ranged from the Peregrine Falcon being the fastest bird of any other across the globe, capable of reaching top speeds of 240 mph when in a full dive; to Owl’s only being able to turn their heads in a 270° axis, rather than the commonly believed ideas of an owl having the capability of rotating its head a full 360°
The presentation was coordinated by Parkside (3’s and early 4’s) Lead Teacher Jenny Ratliff.
“We try to involve our students in as many activities and field trips as possible throughout the year. I felt a presentation from the Raptor Group would be a great idea and an interactive way for students to learn about species of birds who live in their local area,” she explains.
“REGI happened to be local, being based in Antigo, so I reached out to them. They were very happy to come to Merrill and introduce a few of their friends to our students. They do presentations with groups of all ages throughout the year, and I felt they did great! Even our younger students remained engaged throughout the presentation, I think it was very educational for everyone. As a matter of fact, the presentation and the birds were the talk of the day, when we returned to Parkside later this morning.”
According to Schuler, REGI was founded in Antigo in 1990 and assists in rehabilitating an estimated 800 birds of various species annually.
“We really enjoyed our presentation today with the Parkside children,” she adds with a smile.
“We were very impressed with the many great questions they had for us and how attentive and enthusiastic the students were. We do presentations all over eastern and northern Wisconsin with groups of all ages, and in most cases youngsters start to disengage after about a half hour or so, but our audience today was excellent! They remained very engaged for the most-part through the entire hour of our presentation. It was a lot of fun.”