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Carolina Raptor Center Welcomes New Director Of Development Robert Touchstone

Robert web

HUNTERSVILLE: Carolina Raptor Center is pleased to announce Robert Touchstone, formerly of Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte, as its new Director of Development. Mr. Touchstone is responsible for conceiving and executing a comprehensive development plan, building relationships with donors, and raising the vital funds that make Carolina Raptor Center’s mission possible.

Robert brings over six years of fundraising experience as the Director of Marketing and Development at Actor’s Theatre, where he acquired over $100,000 in new grant funding, including a major, multi-year gift from the Women’s Impact Fund. His efforts increased contributed revenues by 86% from FY11 to FY12, and his development of a new major gift strategy yielded $120,000 in commitments for Actor’s Theatre over the past two years. Over the same period, he also increased the number of individual donors by 75% and gifts by 300%.

            Robert has bachelor’s and master’s of business administration degrees from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. 

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Carolina Raptor Center is dedicated to the conservation of raptors. Over 35,000 people walk the Raptor Trail each year, enjoying our 25 species of raptor including hawks, eagles, owls and vultures. In 2013, 1,014 birds were treated in the Raptor Medical Center with almost 70% of those that live through the first 24 hours being released back into the wild. CRC Educators present programming to over 25,000 school children a year onsite and in their classrooms.


 CRC Admits 1,000th Patient of 2012

Mille - webHUNTERSVILLE: The Jim Arthur Raptor Medical Center at Carolina Raptor Center admitted its 1000th patient this year, an all time record for the Huntersville facility that only treats eagles, hawks, falcons, vultures, owls and various other raptors. The patient (Medical Chart #16690), a Barred Owl, named “Mille” for the Latin thousand, was admitted on December 26th at about 1:45 pm with a fractured coracoid (a bone in the shoulder), emaciation and eye injuries consistent with a car collision.

CRC admitted a record 834 birds in calendar year 2011, but the 1000 milestone is a big one according to veterinarian Dave Scott. It puts Carolina Raptor Center at the forefront of raptor medicine in the United States. No other center has publically documented over 1,000 birds treated in a year.

“As we get more well known in this part of the world, we seem to get more and more patients each year,” said Scott. “I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to keep our release rates at around 70% -- this is a great testament to the professionalism of our staff and volunteers – they do a great job.”

Dr. Scott’s expertise is a big part of the equation as well. He has presented surgical techniques at international avian medicine conferences and has written “The Handbook of Raptor Rehabilitation.” Developed by Dr. Scott, CRC’s electronic medical record “RaptorMed™” is used by centers as far away as Beijing, China. Dr. Scott shares his expertise with veterinary students from all over the country in a two week externship entitled “RaptorVet™” offered in 8-10 sessions throughout the year.

But as for Mille -- the bird was found on the side of the road in Davie County and transported to Carolina Raptor Center by transport volunteer Sandy Hagen who picked up the bird at the Davie County Animal Control. Barred owls are the most common patient that the Raptor Medical Center sees – with 193 Barred Owls admitted in 2012 to date.

Mille will spend the first night at Carolina Raptor Center indoors in an isolation area kept quiet for newly admitted birds. After about a week, the owl will progress to an outdoor rehabilitation area where volunteers will feed it every day and provide the medicine it needs to recover. Physical therapy sessions 2 or 3 times a week will follow and as the bird progresses toward release it will be transferred to a flight cage to build up the flight muscles that it will need to survive again in the wild. The last step for Mille will be to pass mouse school where it proves that it has the ability to hunt live prey.

The public can follow Mille’s progress at by entering the medical chart number 16690.

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About Carolina Raptor Center
Carolina Raptor Center is dedicated to environmental education and the conservation of birds of prey. Our ¾ mile Raptor Trail in Latta Plantation Nature Preserve houses over 25 species of native and exotic raptors including hawks, owls, eagles, kites, falcons and vultures. Our educators teach over 25,000 students a year onsite and in their classrooms. The Jim Arthur Raptor Medical Center has treated over 1,000 injured or orphaned raptors in 2012, with almost 70% released back into the wild. For more information, visit us on the web at


Riverbanks to Release Rehabilitated Bald Eagle on Veteran’s Day
Zoo Partners with Carolina Raptor Center to Return Eagle to the Wild

[Columbia, SC] – A timely show of patriotism will take place on Monday, November 12—the Federal Government’s official observance of Veteran’s Day—when Riverbanks Zoo and Garden and the Carolina Raptor Center partner to release a previously injured bald eagle back into the wild.

The adult eagle was brought to Riverbanks this past summer with a foot injury and a number of soft tissue wounds. After several weeks of medical care at the Zoo, the bird was transferred to the Carolina Raptor Center in Charlotte where it underwent surgery to remove one of its toes and repair damaged feathers. In late September, the eagle began an exercise regimen to rebuild flight muscles and prepare it for release—which was approved by CRC veterinarians on November 1.

Riverbanks and CRC staff plan to return the bird to the wild on Monday at 2:00pm. The release will take place near the Village at Lake Murray located at 820 Village Lane, Columbia.

Also on Monday, Riverbanks will honor our nation’s heroes by offering free admission to all active duty, retired military personnel and veterans who present their military ID. In addition, adult family members who accompany these brave men and women to the Zoo on Monday are eligible to receive Riverbanks’ military discount of $10.75 per person.


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About Riverbanks Zoo: For nearly 40 years, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden has connected individuals, families and groups with the world's wildlife and wild places. It is the mission of Riverbanks to foster appreciation and concern for all living things. Riverbanks Zoo is located at 500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia, SC 29210. The Botanical Garden entrance is at 1300 Botanical Parkway, West Columbia, SC 29169. The park is open daily from 9am to 5pm, except on Thanksgiving and Christmas days. Admission to both the Zoo and Garden is $11.75 for adults, $9.25 for children ages 3 – 12 and free for children 2 and under. Group rates and other discounts may apply. For more information, call Riverbanks at 803.779.8717, visit or

About Carolina Raptor Center: Carolina Raptor Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of birds of prey through research, education and the rehabilitation of injured and orphaned raptors. The ¾ mile Raptor Trail is a living museum with over 25 species of native and non-native raptors including one of the Southeast’s only collection of American Bald Eagles. Our formal education program works with over 25,000 teachers and children from the surrounding region to teach curriculum based STEM units on natural history, ecology, biology and the physics of flight. Over 800 injured or orphaned raptors are treated in our raptor hospital each year; 65-70% of these are released back into the wild.


STEM Outdoor Learning Fair ~ 9:30-1:30 Friday, Sept. 28


500 5th graders to get hands-on lessons from area businesses, colleges

red-tailed hawk
Carolina Raptor Center will release a hawk at 1:20 pm

WHAT - 500 fifth graders from five Mecklenburg and Gaston schools will get their hands and minds into science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts.

WHY - The Catawba River District, a nonprofit group that is working to create a lasting model along the Catawba for our region's future, has partnered with local schools, businesses and UNC Charlotte STEM Education Center to spark the interest of fifth graders in learning math and science skills needed for future good jobs.

WHEN AND WHERE - 9:30 am-1:30 pm Friday, Sept. 28, at Duke Energy's Energy Explorium, beside McGuire Nuclear Station on Lake Norman. MAP AND DIRECTIONS

CONTACT - Rich Haag, 980-875-7528, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Event highlights

  • 500 fifth-graders working and learning in hands-on STEM centers - 10 a.m.-12:30 pm
  • 19 groups and businesses teaching children in the STEM centers - 10 a.m.-12:30 pm
  • Wrap-up and comments by CMS and Gaston leaders (see list below) - 12:30-1:15 pm
  • Raptor Center release of red-tailed hawk at 1:20 pm

School and elected leaders addressing the group at 12:30

  • Charlotte-­Mecklenburg Schools Supt. Heath Morrison
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board Chair Erica Ellis-­Stewart
  • Gaston Schools Board Chair William Marcus Upchurch, Sr.
  • Gaston Schools Deputy Supt. Lory Morrow
  • Charlotte City Councilman James Mitchell, a member of the River District Board of Advisors
  • Mount Holly Mayor Pro Tem David Moore

Key event organizers to talk with today or at the event

  • Edna Chirico, Executive Director of Catawba River District - Edna is the key organizer of the event. 704-562-8847 (cell) or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • Alisa Wickliff, assistant director for the UNC Charlotte STEM Center - Alisa is the key person overseeing hands-on STEM activities. 704-687-8818 or  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • Joel Gilland, STEM parent advocate at Mountain Island Elementary. Joel also is on the River District Executive Board. 704-399-3399 or  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • Michele Miller Houck, Carolina Raptor Center community relations director - 704-875-6521 x 128 or  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The event will have fifth graders from five Mecklenburg and Gaston schools that serve the Catawba River District.  

  • Mountain Island Elementary
  • River Oaks Academy
  • Whitewater Academy
  • Ida Rankin Elementary
  • Catawba Heights Elementary


 The event will have 19 interactive learning stations, coordinated by the UNC Charlotte STEM Education Center and run by the following groups and businesses:

  1. Belmont Abbey College - Elementary Education
  2. NC State Education Forest at Mt. Island
  3. Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation
  4. UNC Charlotte Recycling
  5. Mecklenburg County Air Quality
  6. Mecklenburg County Environmental Health Groundwater
  7. UNC Charlotte Center for STEM Education
  8. Grease Free Education Program by Charlotte Mecklenburg Utilities
  9. NC Wildlife Federation
  10. NC Cooperative Extension - Gaston County
  11. Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Elementary Science
  12. Huber Technology
  13. Presbyterian Hospital Huntersville
  14. DoYourPart - Terri Bennett
  15. Recycling -Mecklenburg County
  16. Weather - John Wendel, Meteorologist
  17. Vulcan Materials
  18. Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Storm Water Services
  19. Carolina Raptor Center

STEM Learning Fair sponsors

Lead sponsors include:

  • Presbyterian Hospital Huntersville
  • Huber Technology
  • Piedmont Natural Gas
  • Fabrix
  • ReVenture Park
  • Duke Energy - Energy Explorium

Also providing financial support are:

  • Charlotte Paint Company
  • Citizens South Bank
  • Griffin Brothers Companies
  • Mountain Island Fitness
  • Northlake Mall

About The Catawba River District

The Catawba River District is a regional organization committed to sustainable and vibrant communities, strong schools and economic development for a 16,000-acre area along the Catawba River that includes the historic downtowns of Mount Holly and Belmont and the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Mecklenburg County.

The Catawba River District and its partners have developed several programs to promote STEM learning within River District schools and the broader community, including:

  • Schoolyard gardens - The Catawba River District launched schoolyard gardens at Whitewater Academy and Whitewater Middle School last spring. Students and teachers tended the gardens until June. Since then, teachers and other volunteers have come daily to keep the gardens going until the students return in August.
  • K20 Learning World - The Catawba River District and a team of science education experts have designed a network of free, public STEM learning centers at parks, greenways, and other locations around the River District. These centers will help youngsters, parents and even college-level researchers build their STEM knowledge.
  • Farm To School program - This project will create a working farm on private land and partner with nearby middle and high schools on programs such as animal husbandry, hydroponics and agribusiness. The project includes a food hub to process and market food from school gardens and small farms across the region.

Stay in touch with the Catawba River District

Our main website: 

Community blogs: 





Carolina Raptor Center Volunteer Anne Steinert named 2012 Wildlife Volunteer of the Year at the Governor's Conservation Achievement Awards on Sept. 8

HUNTERSVILLE: Longtime Carolina Raptor Center Volunteer Anne Steinert was named the 2012 Wildlife Volunteer of the Year at 48th annual Governor's Achievement Awards last Saturday evening at a ceremony at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Cary.

"We are thrilled that our nomination of Anne Steinert resonated with the judges," said Jim Warren, Executive Director of Carolina Raptor Center. "There is not a more deserving individual in our organization, and we wanted to thank her in a big way by nominating her for this honor."

Here is an excerpt from the evening's remarks regarding Anne:

I'm not sure we've ever received a nomination for anyone as effusive and even breathless as the one for Anne Steinert. Her nominator wrote that "Packed into Anne's 5'3" frame is the strength of three women, the heart of a lion, and the hands of a surgeon." I was a little scared of even considering her for an award because I feared what such a person might do to me if I mispronounced her name.

For more than 10 years Steinert has volunteered at the Carolina Raptor Center in Charlotte, racking up an average of 800 volunteer hours a year. But it's not just her time commitment that makes her such a special volunteer. It's her total commitment to raptor conservation. If you need to get a hawk out of your industrial warehouse, she's the one to do it. If you need to have 100 baby raptors fed in a hurry, call Steinert. When the Raptor Center has a tricky eagle release, she's the one. A few years ago Steinert released an rehabilitated eagle at a lake, but the eagle mysteriously crashed into the water. Steinert grabbed a canoe, paddled 200 yards into the freezing water, wrestled the eagle bare-handed into the canoe, and paddled it back to shore.

Steinert does it all at the Carolina Raptor Center, from serving on the board to wielding a mean mucking rake. That kind of unselfishness is inspiring, and has inspired us to name Anne Steinert the 2011 Wildlife Volunteer of the Year.

The North Carolina Wildlife Federation first presented its conservation awards in 1958. "Each year we are amazed at the commitment and creativity of North Carolina citizens in protecting wildlife and wild places," stated Tim Gestwicki, executive director of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation. "Many of our award winners tell us their Governor's Conservation Achievement Award represents the high point of their career—whether they are full-time scientists or full-time volunteer conservationists."

Awards winners are nominated by the citizens of North Carolina and decided upon by a committee of scientists, environmental educators, and conservation activists. "This awards program brings together a remarkably diverse group of conservationists to highlight the 'good news' about wildlife conservation in North Carolina," said Gestwicki, "Our primary focus is to applaud and honor these people who work so hard for wildlife and the air, water, land that they and all of us depend upon".

These prestigious awards honor those individuals, governmental bodies, associations and others who have exhibited an unwavering commitment to conservation in North Carolina. These are the highest honors given in the state. By recognizing, publicizing and honoring these conservation leaders – young and old, professional and volunteer – the North Carolina Wildlife Federation hopes to inspire all North Carolinians to take a more active role in protecting the natural resources of our state.

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Carolina Raptor Center is dedicated to environmental stewardship and the conservation of birds of prey through research, education and the rehabilitation of injured and orphaned raptors. Over 35,000 people walk the Raptor Trail each year, enjoying our 25 species of raptor including hawks, eagles, owls and vultures. In 2012, 834 birds were treated in the Raptor Medical Center with almost 70% of those that live through the first 24 hours being released back into the wild. CRC Educators present programming to over 25,000 school children a year onsite and in their classrooms.


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