January – Raptor Center

For our very first Working Toolgether on January 21, 2023, we partnered with our friends at the Carolina Raptor Center. 

Carolina Raptor Center (CRC) is currently celebrating the 40th year since the first patient, a Broad-winged Hawk, was brought to Dr. Dick Brown in the basement of the biology building at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. CRC’s mission goals include environmental education, the rehabilitation of injured and orphaned raptors, and environmental stewardship. 

Located in Latta Nature Preserve, the Raptor Trail is a ¾ mile trail that over 30 birds call home. These birds act as ambassadors for their species, helping to bring awareness and fundraising so that the CRC can fulfill their mission of rehabilitating and releasing injured birds back into the wild.  

The Charlotte ToolBank began their partnership with the Raptor Center back in 2011! Obviously, they have a lot of land that needs maintaining, and over the years we’ve loved helping them equip their staff and volunteer groups so that they can grow and maintain their facility. Working amongst raptors is tricky. Heavy equipment and power tools make a lot of noise that scares the birds and can cause them to injure themselves, so most of their work has to be done as manually as possible to minimize disruption to the birds.  

The Team: 3 staff members, 4 board members with 3 family members, and 2 ToolBank weekday volunteers 

The Project: Digging a trench to run electrical to bird enclosures and clearing out the condor enclosure’s flooring and replacing it with fresh gravel and sand 

The Tools: 3 wheelbarrows, 12 pairs of work gloves, 10 shovels, 10 loppers, 15 plastic buckets, and 4 pick axes 

Our workday was led by Ernie Clewis, the Property Manager, and Maggie Stein, the Volunteer Manager. Our group split into 2 teams: one team took on project of digging a trench to run and bury electrical line. The other team took on cleaning out Matilda the Andean Condor’s enclosure. The electrical we ran will help provide better lighting for nighttime safety of the birds, and cleaning out Matilda’s cage ensures that she remains clean and healthy.  

One last fun note about our day: the handlers at the Raptor Center surprised us with a fly-by from Bindy the Laughing Kookaburra! We got to watch her fly between handlers and snack on some superworms, her favorite treat. We had such a good time working the Ernie and Maggie at the Raptor Center, we hope you are able to visit and support them, they’re an awesome group doing great work for raptors and the environment. 

See you in February!