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LEMONWOOD EAGLETS MAKE NEWS!; Ventura County Star - July 15, 2008
Topic Started: Jul 16 2008, 06:45 AM (1,682 Views)
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You are famous and we are sooooooooooooooooo proud of you!

From the Ventura County Star:

Healthy young eagle returning to Santa Cruz Island

Third-graders say goodbye to 3-month-old

By Terria Smith
Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A 3-month-old bald eagle huddled in the back of its carrier crate Monday as cameras flashed in the auditorium of the Channel Islands National Park visitor center in Ventura.

Skye, as the eagle is called, was scheduled for release Monday to a hack tower on Santa Cruz Island following his recovery from a broken wing. The bird, and his sibling Spirit, were both injured in May when another bald eagle attacked them in their nest — an incident watched by hundreds of people via the Channel Islands live EagleCAM.

Behind the cameras and spectators at the visitor center were 18 third-graders from Lemonwood Elementary School in Oxnard. Regan Nelson, their teacher, said the class has watched on the Institute for Wildlife Studies' EagleCAM since the birds' eggs were laid in February.

This was the first time the students got a live viewing of the bird.

"Today we got to see Skye, and we learned about his brother too. It's exciting because I never saw a bald eagle before," 8-year-old Lexis Martinez said.

Nelson said she has been watching the EagleCAM for the past three years.

"I have a passion for the environment and animals. I wanted to share it with them," she said of her students.

She said her class watched the eagle chicks every morning as they grew, fought for food and learned to fly.

The two chicks were first placed on the island this spring. On May 19 they were attacked in their nest by a sub-adult bald eagle. The chicks were taken from their nest by the bird and dropped more than 30 feet. Spirit's beak was cracked, and Skye's wing was broken.

When the eagle chicks were attacked, Nelson said her class was going through state testing, and she waited until the testing was done to tell them. She said some of the students were in tears.

"Me and my friend were crying. It was sad because I thought we wouldn't get to see them out in the nest," Lexis said.

Nelson said she made a shrine of flowers and candles for the class. The students made get-well cards, which she took to a veterinary facility where the birds were kept.

Spirit was released back to the island in early June. He took his first flight July 1, according to a release from the Montrose Settlements Restoration Program.

Wires and pins were used to help heal Skye's broken wing. Once they were removed, the eagle was ready to return to the island.

Nelson said Channel Islands National Park invited the class to the celebration of Skye's release. The park even rented a bus for the trip, and the students were given cake before they had a chance to ask questions of Dr. Peter Sharpe of the Institute of Wildlife Studies. Then they got to see the bird.

Sharpe said the island program has been very successful.

"We're very happy to have a high retention rate and high survival out there on the island," he said.

Sharpe said 61 bald eagles have been released on the islands as a result of the Montrose Settlements Restoration Program, and close to 35 remain there.

At this stage, Skye's biggest obstacle to survival will be finding food, Sharpe said. Although food is left out around the tower for the eagles, sometimes the birds don't stay there.

"They're scavengers for the first year," Sharpe said.

(photos by Juan Carlo / Star staff)
Posted Image Posted Image
Dr. Peter Sharpe, of the Institute of Wildlife Studies, explains to third-graders
from Lemonwood Elementary School in Oxnard how the eagle chick will be tracked.

Posted Image Posted Image
The students get a closer look at Skye, left, at the visitor center,
while teacher Regan Nelson, and her student Vicky Vildosola, 8, watch the chick.

:clk: Pictures of Lemonwood Eaglets Excellent Adventure :clk:
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Another article about the 2008 Lemonwood Eaglets!

Oxnard class takes part in eagle rearing
By Alex Wilson 08/14/2008

A dedicated educator was honored for utilizing bald eagles and the Internet to engage her students in science and history during a recent class visit to Channel Islands National Park Headquarters.

Regan Nelson’s third-grade class from Lemonwood Elementary School in Oxnard closely studied a Santa Cruz Island bald eagle family on a popular live Internet Webcam. They watched with joy when two chicks hatched during April, and fascination when the parents brought home fresh fish.

Sadness confronted the class and other eagle fans on May 19 when an older rogue eagle knocked the chicks from their nest and injured them.

During July, the class viewed the bird nicknamed Skye on his way back to Santa Cruz following his recovery from a broken wing and surgery at an Orange County veterinary hospital. Skye currently soars free along with his brother Spirit that was treated for a beak fracture.

The field trip included a surprise retirement party for Nelson, after 39 years of teaching, that included cake, a certificate and a Channel Islands photography book signed by students and park staff.

Park spokeswoman Yvonne Menard says the way Nelson involved students in science through the eagles has been remarkable. “Having opportunities for students to connect with their own local environment and to make the learning real is really a valuable thing,” says Menard.

The students called themselves the Lemonwood Eaglets and posted details about their daily observations on an Internet discussion board where they interacted with other fans. “They were sent some eagle-watching badges that were handmade by one of the eagle enthusiasts who lives in Long Island, New York,” says Menard.

The class was devastated when Nelson explained how the chicks they had gotten to know were injured. “So that morning, I grabbed flowers and a candle, and I set up a shrine in the classroom and I told them I wanted to empower them. I said they could make a shrine at home and bring some flowers, and the next day my room was filled with flowers,” says Nelson. “They made get-well cards, and it gave a voice to their sadness.”

Yesenia Melenedez was ecstatic to see Skye looking healthy and ready for freedom after witnessing his ordeal. “I was crying at that time. I was really sad, but then I said ‘This is nature, this is life,’ ” says Melenedez.

Her classmate Lexis Martinez says Nelson brought education to life. “I think she’s a great teacher because we got to learn about eagles with her and she put a lot of effort into it. We learned a lot about the bald eagles,” says Martinez.

Menard hopes other teachers will follow Nelson’s example and engage their students with educational opportunities involving the park. They’re partners with the Ventura County Office of Education, which set up the popular EagleCAM. It can be viewed at http://chil.vcoe.org/, which offers links to other educational resources. “There’s a whole host of opportunities where they can connect to different curriculum relative to the Channel Islands, whether it’s underwater resources and kelp forests or the ecological restoration.” says Menard.

Menard says students in Nelson’s class had a special opportunity.

“Many of these students at Lemonwood School had never heard about the Channel Islands or anything about bald eagles, and now I feel that they will have that connection for the rest of their lives, thanks to the efforts of Regan Nelson,” says Menard.
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