NEI TEC Talk: Rehab Raptor Week

NEI TEC Talks: Rehab Raptors Week – “Considerations for Program Success”

Welcome to TEC Talks, by the Natural Encounters, Inc. Training and Education Center (NEI TEC)!

Join us at 2:00 pm EST on Monday, November 2nd  for Kit Lacy’s presentation, “Selection Process for Non-Releasable Raptors: The First Step in Bird Welfare,” Wednesday November 4th for Jason Andrew Beale and Sidney Campbell’s presentation”Welfare as a Continuum: A Practical Approach,” and on Friday, November 6th for Kristin Dean’s presentation, “Welfare and Conservation Messaging of Rehabilitated Raptors,” and our NEI TEC in Conversation panel discussion with all of our guest speakers from the week and Steve Martin as they wrap up the week by sharing their final thoughts and answering attendee questions.

Selection Process for Non-Releasable Raptors: The First Step in Bird Welfare - Kit Lacy (Monday, November 2nd 2:00pm EST; 1-hour seminar, 30-minute Q&A)

The selection of ambassador animals coming out of wildlife rehabilitation facilities is an evolving process as information grows regarding long-term physical impacts of disabilities on an animal’s quality of life. Ambassador animal welfare traditionally addressed nourishment, length of life, and physical safety while in human care. More facilities are now focusing on cognitive well-being, including examining if individuals are free from pain, fear, and distress as a measure of welfare. And, as more trainers are adopting choice-based training methods using the least number of aversive stimuli possible, bird selection is the first step in the welfare process. Cascades Raptor Center has developed rigorous criteria for all birds before they are added to our team. Data collected from wellness monitoring of our current bird collection coupled with nearly 30 years of comprehensive necropsy reports have provided information indicating that many disabilities that result in non-releasable status also preclude individuals from having a high quality of life in human care. Setting an ambassador animal up for a successful life in human care begins with appropriate, well considered selection. This presentation will discuss assessment of suitable candidates, and some initial training steps of a new ambassador.

"Welfare as a Continuum: A Practical Approach" - Jason Andrew Beale and Sidney Campbell (Wednesday, November 4th, 2:00pm EST; 1-hour seminar, 30-minute Q&A)

Day two will focus on a practical approach to improving welfare at raptor centers of all sizes. Jason and Sidney will share practical lessons from directing their facilities through change from a folklore husbandry model to evidence-based practices. They will discuss what good welfare looks like for humans and animals, how and why to build fundamental behaviors, and troubleshooting common problems. 

Welfare and Conservation Messaging of Rehabilitated Raptors - Kristin Dean (Friday, November 6th, 2:00pm EST; 30-minute seminar)

Determining the best role for ambassador birds can greatly improve their overall welfare. This lecture will highlight some of the successful case studies and how changes in welfare inspired the evolution of Carolina Raptor Center’s conservation messaging.

NEI TEC in Conversation: Steve Martin, Kit Lacy, Sidney Campbell, Jason Andrew Beale, Kristin Dean (Friday, November 6th, 2:30pm EST; 1-hour Q&A)

Join us for a panel discussion of NEI TEC guest faculty members and Steve Martin as they gather to have a conversation about their thoughts on the presentations and questions from the previous sessions. The panelists look forward to sharing their final thoughts and answering attendee questions.

NEI TEC Welcomes Kit Lacy, Jason Andrew Beale, Sidney Campbell, and Kristin Dean as guest speakers for Rehab Raptor Week.

Kit Lacy completed a master’s degree in biology from the University of Oregon, publishing papers on social behavior and communication in Caribbean Iguanas. Kit began volunteering at Cascades Raptor Center while also teaching college biology. After a major career shift and many years at the center, she now oversees both the ambassador animal collection and rehabilitation cases at Cascades. Kit is passionate about improving the quality of life for all raptors in human care through positive reinforcement training. She has been a board member of the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators (IAATE) since 2013. She has presented papers on the training, raptor wellness programs, lead workshops and webinars, acts as a mentor to other trainers, and presented on Cascades’ criteria for selection of non-releasable raptors for ambassadors.

Jason Andrew Beale is Animal Care Program Director at Shaver’s Creek, Penn State University’s environmental center. Jason has a diverse background in conservation and advocacy, with a focus on animal care and education. He has led and served on three major programmatic assessments and redesigns focusing on zoo operations, nature center management, and regenerative agriculture in conjunction with governmental, nonprofit, and community partners. Jason currently serves on the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators Board, as well as a variety of administrative, conservation, and education committees. He lives in State College, Pennsylvania with his family.

Sidney Campbell is the Raptor Program Manager at the American Bald Eagle Foundation (ABEF) in Haines, Alaska. Sidney has managed the raptor center through a large-scale cultural shift focused on increasing welfare for staff, guests, and ambassadors alike. She led a major facility expansion and renovation, from fundraising to DIY demolition. Sidney is active in the IAATE community, supporting career development through the ABEF’s internship program and her work with Alaskan Raptor Centers. When not training with her team she spends her time enjoying the Alaskan wilderness with her dog, Eider.

Kristin Dean is the Bird Curator at Carolina Raptor Center. She is responsible for the care and management of over 90+ bird of prey ambassadors and leads the Animal Training and Husbandry Department. She has been working with birds, primarily raptors for 16 years. She started her career as a wildlife rehabilitator and while she is still responsible for the primary medical care of ambassador raptors, her focus has shifted to bird behavior, training and promoting conservation through education.

CEUs may be available for IATCB (CPBT-KA and CPAT-KA), IAABC, CCPDT (CBCC and CPDT), and KPA – if you are interested in CEUs for another organization, please contact them for additional information. Contact if you have any questions.

NOTE: If you miss a webinar, don’t worry! Access to the recordings of all three of these webinars will be sent in an email to registrants within 24-48 hours after the last webinar ends.