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Review for National Eagle Center dba Eaglewatch Inc, Wabasha, MN, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

When I moved to Wabasha six years ago, I immediately became a volunteer at the National Eagle Center. I began with scooping poop and joyfully hung out in the mew in the presence of the eagle ambassadors, learning to answer visitors’ questions, to handle eagles and to present programs.

The part I find most rewarding and energizing of being a volunteer at the National Eagle Center is listening to visitors’ stories. Virtually all visitors enter our doors eager to share their own ‘eagle story’. Countless times I’ve laughed with folks indignantly sharing fishing tales when ‘the rascal eagle snatched up my big one!’ Our heads shake with wonder and pleasure as someone relates ‘I’ve lived in my house for decades, and now – now eagles live in my neighborhood, where there were none before.’

Every week brings visitors who are receiving medical treatment nearby. It is powerful to share the room with other creatures who have felt pain, known the loss of the pattern their lives had been expected to take, who made adjustments to a whole new world, yet who remain very much as they had been created: beautiful, majestic, unique. Eagle and human, individual, altered, survivor.

I’ve wept with parents grieving the loss of a child who had felt some special affinity with eagles and raptors. For the parent, the National Eagle Center can be part of an unfathomable journey of loss and hope; sharing in this is a rare, humbling privilege.

It is listening that makes every day different and new when I come to volunteer. Listen with me: Loud strident eagle calls. The amazement of people being close to an eagle. Bright joy encountering these American symbols in the wild. Hopeful healing. Resolute strengthening. Whispers of mourning. I listen, and learn.

People crossing the threshold don’t necessarily know the story they want to tell will be important to anyone else, but echoes of recounted narratives become part of the entire fabric of the experience shared here by visitors, staff, volunteers. Eagle stories in a multitude of voices are ephemeral treasures of the National Eagle Center.

Role:  Volunteer