A group of student Eaglets from Eagle Nest Elementary recently decided to band together to save some real-life eagles.
Rhonda Edwards’s fourth-grade gifted and talented class raised $477.10 to give to the Center for Birds of Prey in Awendaw – a project that began in March.
Edwards explained via e-mail that at Eagle Nest Elementary the school delayed building some sections because of the fledging of bald eagles adjacent to the playground.
Recently the eagles relocated to their previous nests at Middleton Place, right across the Ashley River from the school. Upon their relocation, building continued so that what used to be a haven for birds of prey has now become a housing development – something that did not sit well for Edwards’s students.
“The loss to this type of habitat for a creature such as our nation’s symbol created a stir with my students,” Edwards said. “As I was planning a project for one of my classes I thought, why not let them do some type of community effort so they can help make a difference?”
This is how the Eaglet Rescuers came to be. After receiving clearance from Principal Tamara Diebold, the class began to make plans to create a club, and decided they wanted to work with birds of prey. They found their group to sponsor and then got permission from the district for students to make bracelets from rainbow looms to sell for funds. The class worked with Stephen Schabel, the education director for the Center for Birds of Prey.
In mid-March Edwards’s students set up tables, made posters and bracelets – with no reimbursement for materials – and promoted their cause. They raised $477.10, which was used to purchase a camera for the Center for Birds of Prey.
As a thank-you Schabel brought two birds to show to Edwards’s class on May 29. Schabel said that Edwards, once upon a time, was his supervisor when he was a student teacher.
“She has a passion for wildlife,” he said. “Everything she does revolves around animals. It was nice to reconnect with her this way.”
Schabel praised Edwards’s students for their charitable project. He said this is the first time he has had a class raise money on its own.
“I think it was a great way for them to see something begin and carry it through,” he said. “Charitable giving is always a nice thing. I think they learned a lot through it and hopefully it leads them to look for ways to do more.”
Edwards hopes to continue to sponsor efforts such as the Birds of Prey and to educate Eagle Nest students on ways to become environmentally friendly and eco-conscious. Within the last couple of weeks of school her students took one of her books, “Adora the Albino Alligator” (inspired by Alabaster at the aquarium in downtown Charleston) and created a play.
They made props, scenery, wrote the script and music. They were able to present the play to parents and a third-grade class on May 29.
“Through methods such as this play and continued sales of their choice next year, I hope to create mindful future leaders,” Edwards said.