CAROLINA RAPTOR CENTER LAUNCHES ‘OUR QUEST' CAMPAIGN

Elevations courtesy of BB+M Architecture and building owner Mecklenburg County.

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Contact: Michele Houck, Associate Executive Director
Direct: 704-875-6521 x128, Mobile: 704-252-0967
Email: mhouck@carolinaraptorcenter.org

Carolina Raptor Center raising $11.6 Million for New Facility, Updated Trails and Amphitheater, Renovated Medical Campus

Huntersville, NC, December 7, 2016 – Carolina Raptor Center (CRC) is announcing the public phase of its $11.6 million campaign, “Our Quest.”  Following nearly a decade of discussion and visioning, Carolina Raptor Center is partnering with Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation to create the new Quest Adventure Center at the Latta Plantation Nature Preserve in Huntersville, N.C.  

“This state-of-the-art environmental education center will serve as the gateway to Latta Plantation Nature Preserve, which boasts the highest number of visitors of any of Mecklenburg County’s nature preserves, connecting almost half a million people a year to the natural beauty of North Carolina’s Piedmont region,” said Jim Garges, director of Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, and CRC Executive Director Jim Warren in a joint statement. 

This once-in-a-generation project promises to increase CRC’s impact across a wide spectrum of audiences to include expanded conservation efforts, increased access to education programming and an estimated $3.88 million/year economic impact. 

The project includes:

  • Per the pending operational agreement, the design and construction of a County-owned modern, 13,000-plus-square-foot center with: 
    • interactive exhibits focused on the ecosystem at Mountain Island Lake 
    • expanded indoor/outdoor learning spaces to offer year-round programming
    • increased administrative space for staff and volunteers
    • improved amenities for visitors including a 1,000-square-foot gift shop  
  • A new raptor trail system to include a modern resident bird care facility and exhibit, aviaries for more than 35 species of raptors and a technologically advanced amphitheater.  
  • A renovated Raptor Medical Center to include increased capacity for the care and treatment of injured birds of prey, including eagles, owls and hawks.

To date, CRC has secured $8.8 million of the $11.6 million needed for the project, which includes $1.8 million in private resources that adds to the approximate $7 million capital project by Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation for the facility. This support includes a leadership gift from the Duke Energy Foundation and two cornerstone gifts from Charlotte area individuals:

  • Duke Energy has committed the largest single gift in the history of Carolina Raptor Center, pledging $400,000 toward the construction of the amphitheater, which will be named for Duke Energy, and to support the construction of the new raptor trail. Duke Energy’s ongoing engagement with CRC includes program grants, ongoing volunteer participation and sponsorship of its Sustainability Salon series. 
  • Retired founder and president of Falcon Metal Corp. Bruce Roberts and his wife, Nancy, made a gift of $300,000 in support of “Our Quest,” currently the largest gift from individuals to the campaign. Bruce and Nancy began their relationship with Carolina Raptor Center over 20 years ago when they volunteered at the fledgling center at Latta Plantation. Bruce is a former board chair of the organization, now leads the Quest Chairman’s Circle and is a member of the “Our Quest” Campaign Cabinet.
  • Retired president of First Union Securities Ross Annable and his wife, Michele, made a $250,000 gift. Ross, who has been a financial supporter of the organization for nearly two decades, currently serves as a member of the “Our Quest” Campaign Cabinet.

“The Quest Adventure Center will create a unique and rich experience for visitors at Latta Plantation Nature Preserve,” said Shawn Heath, president of the Duke Energy Foundation. “Duke Energy is pleased to support Carolina Raptor Center. Its commitment to environmental education for children and families across the Carolinas supports the strategic objectives of our philanthropic giving.” 

CRC must raise an additional $1.8 million to construct the raptor trail, as well as renovate the Raptor Medical Center. A $1 million endowment is also being raised to ensure that this new community resource will inspire visitors for many years into the future.

CRC’s board chair Brian Hughes said: “CRC has raised a significant amount of the funding needed to make ‘Our Quest’ a success. We now turn to the community – including individuals, companies and foundations – to help us make this project a reality.”  Brian is an employee of Duke Energy and is serving in his fifth year on CRC’s board of directors.

CRC will engage in activities throughout 2017 and 2018 to increase awareness regarding the project and to encourage contributions. More information about the campaign can be found on CRC’s website: carolinaraptorcenter.org/support/quest-campaign/