Birds of a Feather Flock to Sadie Casper

Perhaps it should not be surprising, but Sadie Casper’s favorite bird is a vulture at Carolina Raptor Center. After all, they share the same first name. A 5th grader at Cotswold Elementary School, Sadie is a regular participant in CRC’s programs. In December, she recently completed her second year of winter camp, and she has every intention of returning for her sixth summer camp later this year. Her father Christian Casper is not surprised. “She knows all of the birds,” Christian said. “She loves visiting and reconnecting with the staff. I asked her recently if she wanted to go back to CRC for camp, and she looked at me like I was crazy – of course she wanted to go back.” With a goal of inspiring campers to make environmentally friendly choices, CRC’s Kids for Conservation Day Camps offer an opportunity for hands-on learning and up-close encounters with the environment and the creatures in it. And for Sadie, that includes one very special vulture. “I love to visit all of the birds, but Sadie, the Turkey Vulture, is my favorite,” Sadie said. “Vultures are different than the other raptors because they don’t hunt for their food. I like them because they are kind of odd, and that makes them interesting.” As has happened for so many young people who visit CRC, Sadie has developed a deep fascination with raptors and their role in the ecosystem. She has expressed interest in volunteering when she gets old enough, and wants to do all she can to support conservation. “Without the Raptor Center, there would be no outlet for this kind of exploration,” Christian said. “We live in Charlotte and consider the Raptor Center an important part of our child’s life.” MORE CAMPS, MORE YOUTH SERVED STEM education is at the heart of Carolina Raptor Center’s programming, and engaging the region’s youth to live lives of conservation and involvement in science is a top priority. On its current campus, the organization is constrained by the availability of youth engagement space. If there is bad weather, there are few places for students. The new campus promises to significantly increase Carolina Raptor Center’s capacity to serve students, with web-enabled learning labs and improved capacity for field trips and day camps. “Our Quest promises to better position us to serve the tens of thousands of children and their families who visit us each year,” Michele Miller Houck, Associate Executive Director said. “Ensuring that bright students like Sadie have a place to go to be inspired is mission critical for CRC; the next generation will be the ones to continue the work of caring for our world and its creatures.”