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Extension office hosts raptor exhibit for students

Children in the county haven’t started back to school just yet, but thanks to the Franklin County Extension Office, some of them were treated to an educational program on Tuesday that was both informative and fun.
Katernia Cole, extension coordinator for Franklin County, said the extension office hosted members from the Coosa River Science School (CRSS), which is based at the Alabama 4-H Center, who put on their “Raptor Trek” program featuring various birds of prey.
Students involved in the summer T.R.A.C.K.S. programs in both the county and city schools as well as many 4-H students attended the program, which was held at the Ralph C. Bishop Community Center in Russellville.
Megan Vanderkooi and Aaron Baugham, instructors with CRSS, brought five different “raptor” species to show the students, including a screech owl, a falcon, a Eurasian Eagle-Owl, a Great Horned Owl, a broad winged hawk and a bald eagle.
“This was a very fun and informative program for the students and even the adults who were in attendance,” Cole said.
“Megan and Aaron got out each bird so the children were able to actually see what the bird looks like in person instead of just seeing a picture of the bird in a book or on a computer screen.”
With each new bird that was introduced, a new round of questions was asked by students who wondered how long the bird lived, how many eggs it laid, where it lived and what it liked to eat.
“The students really seemed to get into the program and interact well with the instructors,” Cole said.
“I think they had a really good time.”
Cole said the “Raptor Trek” program was something they had as part of their “4-H Fun Shops” special summer programming that the extension office holds for students while they are out of school.
“During the months of June and July, we offer different programs for children in the city and county so they can continue learning while they are out of school but have fun while doing it,” Cole said.
“We have done several things this year like soap and candle making, cake decorating, food preservation and art in the garden.
“We started looking for something different to do and I got in touch with Becky Collier, the program coordinator for the Coosa River Science School, and decided this raptor program that they offer would be something a little different than what we normally do and would offer the students some good information on environmental education.”
Cole said the program was made possible by donations from the Franklin County Commission and Sen. Roger Bedford.