Christina Funk, TNS Assistant Naturalist; David Lambert, TNS President; Wyatt Lucas; Honorable Ethan Baker, City of Troy Mayor; Janaire Rowland; John Ragan, TNS Founder & First President; Carla Reeb, TNS Executive Director. Photo credit, Cindy Stewart.
(TROY, MI) JUNE 2021. The Troy Nature Society (TNS), a nonprofit organization, recently completed a three-year project to construct a permanent home at the Stage Nature Center for five rehabilitated owls. In 2018, the Society adopted the owls from a local organization that was in the process of disbanding and could no longer care for the owls. The three species of owls are different ages and each was found with various injuries that prevent them from living in the wild and taking care of themselves.
While waiting for their new home to be constructed, the owls where housed in a temporary location at the nature center and began serving as Educational Animal Ambassadors as part of the various public nature programs offered by the Society. The newly completed structure has been a project that friends and supporters of the Society had anxiously awaited along with many residents of our community. Visitors from all over now have the opportunity to view these magnificent birds of prey in their enclosures from dawn until dusk daily.
Leading the dedication ceremonies were City of Troy Mayor Ethan Baker, TNS President David Lambert, TNS Executive Director, Carla Reeb and TNS Assistant Naturalist, Christina Funk. As part of the ceremonies, Funk introduced one of the barred owls to the group of approximately eighty invited guests which included Troy City Council Members, city administrators, donors and staff of the nature center. Also addressing the guests were two enthusiastic young people who conducted successful fundraisers in support of the owls.
Early in 2018, the Society’s fundraising efforts were kicked-off by Wyatt Lucas a local Boy Scout from Troop 1036 who was just 15 years old at the time. Wyatt and his family are avid fans of the nature center and active in various community organizations and events. Wyatt was passionate to see the new home for the owls get built and began organizing numerous fundraisers including a returnable can and bottle drive, designing owl t-shirts to sell along with launching a Facebook fundraiser to collect donations which eventually raised over $15,000 towards the construction
of the structure. Now an Eagle Scout, Wyatt continues to be passionate about the owls.
In 2019, another enthusiastic young person, Janaire Rowland stepped forward to raise over $1,400 in funds for the owls through fundraisers which she held at her school. Janaire was ten years old, a fourth grader at Hamilton Elementary School in Troy and determined to help out the owls she dearly loved. Janaire conducted bottle drives and collected donations from fellow students along with recruiting family members to put donation jars at their workplace. The Society along with Janaire’s family members, fellow students and teacher couldn’t be more proud of
her unselfish efforts.
A total of $145,000 in funding was secured for the large structure that contains three separate enclosures. Fundraising efforts were headed by members and friends of the Society in the amount of $50,000 along with $95,000 in financial support from the City of Troy.
The Society’s Executive Director, Reeb commented, “This new permanent Raptor House will serve the needs of these current owls and will be a home to any future raptors in need of care. The daily medical care and feeding of the raptors will necessitate the Society to continue extensive fundraising efforts monthly to ensure the special needs of these owls are continually met.”
The Stage Nature Center is operated by Troy Nature Society a nonprofit organization committed to providing educational nature and science programs. The nature center exhibit hall is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm and Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, excluding holidays. The trails and Raptor House viewing are open daily from dawn until dusk. To make a contribution in support of the owls’ care, feeding and medical needs, visit troynaturesociety.org/getinvolved/owls/ or call 248.688.9703.