20 Years with Outreach for Earth Stewardship!

Have you ever met a mighty bird of prey here on the Farm? If so, it is all thanks to Outreach for Earth Stewardship! 2017 marks 20 years of partnership with OFES, and we’re so grateful to Director Craig Newman, Co-Founder Eveleen Cecchini, and the dedicated team of volunteers for all of the hard work they put into both caring for injured wildlife as well as facilitating educational programming near and dear to our hearts. Their commitment inspires joy, wonder, and respect for nature and all of its gifts.

OFES is an all volunteer nonprofit wildlife education and raptor rehabilitation organization located on the Farm. Its mission: to strengthen respect and understanding for wildlife through education. Many volunteers make this work possible. (A few of them are pictured above.)

OFES Director Craig Newman (above left, with Barred Owl, 1984), has had a lifelong passion for rehabilitating birds. Craig dedicates every day to caring for both the patients and education birds of OFES. His work doesn’t stop on the Farm; OFES impacts thousands of Vermonters each year through presentations at schools, festivals, farmers’ markets, and special event programs. Eveleen Cecchini (above right), co-founded OFES along with Craig in 1989. As Director and an educator for many years, Eveleen catalyzed the creation of both OFES and the partnership with the Farm. The above photo was featured in our 1997 Fall Program Calendar, the year the partnership between the two organizations began.

This Red-Tailed Hawk, known as Abbey, was hit by a car in 2002, rehabilitated at OFES, and has been an OFES wild ambassador ever since. Wild ambassadors are birds whose injuries, even after rehabilitation, prevent them from being returned to the wild. Instead, through permits from US and VT Fish and Wildlife, they can be used in educational programming.

From May to October, Raptors in Residence is just one of the ways you can meet and learn about OFES’s wild ambassadors on the Farm. Keep an eye out on our calendar for winter opportunities (like “What Do Owls Eat for Lunch?” on January 27, 2018!)

OFES takes in about 50 injured birds a year for rehabilitation. OFES specializes in the rehabilitation of raptors, like the female American Kestrel (above left), that was fished out of a stream with a wing injury. It’s not uncommon, however to find other types of birds in their rehabilitation space, like the Pileated Woodpecker returning home (above right)!

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Thank you for this update on OFES. Craig and Eveleen are friends of raptors and all living things. I am lucky to have known Eveleen for almost fifty years.

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