By Ivan Raconteur
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN This year’s Prairie Days celebration in Lester Prairie will feature some very special guests four raptors from the University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center.
The event will take place at Sunrise Nature Park at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 17.
The 50-acre park is located east of McLeod County Road 9, just north of the East Park Estates development on the east side of Lester Prairie.
The Raptor Center will make a presentation that will include four raptors, including a bald eagle.
The program is sponsored by Angvall Hardware & Mercantile in Lester Prairie.
Owner Eric Angvall said he and his wife, Judy, chose to sponsor the event because it is a way to give something back to the community, and because it is an educational program that will give people the opportunity to experience things they otherwise wouldn’t see.
“These are fun events for the whole family, and it will give people another way to enjoy the nature park,” Eric said.
He added that he sees the Raptor Center presentation as something unique, similar to the stargazing classes that he and his wife have sponsored in the past.
“It also helps the University of Minnesota and the Raptor Center. It helps raptors, in general, and the rehabilitation of injured ones,” Eric added.
“This is a way we can benefit multiple things at once,” Eric said.
Including a bald eagle in the presentation costs extra, but to Eric, it is worth the extra cost.
“They are, like, the rock stars of the raptor world,” he said.
Eric hopes that the Raptor Center will be able to release a bird into the wild during the presentation, but he said that will depend on whether or not the center has a raptor that has been rehabilitated and is ready for release at the time.
Sunrise Nature Park includes 50 acres of undeveloped woods and grasslands.
The hour-long outreach program will feature hands-on props and activities.
The programs typically include an owl, a hawk, and a falcon, in addition to the bald eagle.
The Raptor Center, located at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, was founded in 1974, and specializes in “the medical care, rehabilitation, conservation, and study of eagles, hawks, owls, and falcons.”
In addition to treating more than 800 birds per year, the center provides training in raptor medicine and surgery for veterinarians from around the world.
The center’s mission is “to ensure the health of raptors and the world we share through teaching, research, and service.”
This will be the first time a Raptor Center program has been presented during Prairie Days, or at Sunrise Nature Park.