A $3.2 million expansion is under construction at The Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey, and one of the new exhibits is being made possible through a very powerful collaboration. The brand new Idaho Power Flight Lab is coming to life through the vision and leadership of Idaho Power, Kaddas Enterprises, the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC), and Northwest Lineman College (NLC). Today, the groups gathered to celebrate the completion of a model power line that will be inside of the exhibit and provide perching for the birds on display.
“On any given day, visitors to the World Center for Birds of Prey may see local species of hawks such as a Red-tailed, Swainson’s, or Ferruginous – or even a Turkey Vulture on exhibit in the Idaho Power Flight Lab,” says Tate Mason, Director of the World Center for Birds of Prey. “This exhibit will tell the story of local falconer and conservation hero, Morley Nelson, and our local energy company, Idaho Power, working together to stop a common threat to birds of prey – electrocution. Their work has prevented raptors from being killed by power lines, not only here in Idaho but, around the world.”
“We are excited to join the World Center for Birds of Prey in this next step for raptor conservation. The Flight Lab connects Idaho Power’s past, working with Morley Nelson on the important issue of raptors interacting with electrical equipment, and the future, where we will collaborate to find new tools to protect these birds for generations to come,” says Brett Dumas, Idaho Power’s Director of Environmental Affairs.
Heather Meuleman, V.P. of Development for The Peregrine Fund and a lead on the project adds, “We wanted to create a space where industry, technology, and conservation could converge. We know that working together to find ways to coexist with wildlife gives us our best chance at conserving birds of prey. This exhibit will give visitors a first-hand, insider look at the power of partnership in creating environmentally sustainable solutions that benefit humans, raptors, and the landscapes we all rely on to survive.”
Hatch Design Architecture designed the center’s expansion and construction, led by Jordan-Wilcomb Construction, which started in November. Idaho Power, Kaddas Enterprises, and APLIC supported the project as an opportunity to create deeper STEM-learning and inspire the next generation of conservationists. The Northwest Lineman College has donated their skill and expertise to install the model power line in the exhibit, using this as a learning experience for their current class of students.
“This is a powerful education partnership that will improve awareness around the environmental impact of our nation’s electric system. Also, our students are excited to learn how their new career can have positive impact on the environment for years to come,” says Eric Eriksen, NLC Idaho Campus President.
Since the center opened, nearly 500,000 students have visited through school field trips and family visits. Visitation has grown by 48% over a 5-year period. The expansion will provide new raptor exhibits as well as other needed infrastructure including expanded parking and restrooms.
Treasure Valley residents who would like to be a part of this exciting expansion have until February 14 to sponsor a brick. Sponsoring a brick provides the opportunity to inscribe your name into the history of the World Center for Birds of Prey while helping to support the project. More information about brick sponsorship can be found online at peregrinefund.org/hatched