The Peregrine Fund Home
Sign In
The Peregrine Fund Notes From The Field
Third Annual Harpy Eagle Day Celebration the Biggest Success Yet
Marta Curti — in Neotropical Environmental Education Program    ShareThanks to the efforts of many individuals, organizations and groups, the government of Panama officially declared the Harpy Eagle as the nation’s national bird on 10 April 2002. In order to commemorate this momentous act for raptor conservation, and to make the general public more aware of the Harpy Eagle, The Peregrine Fund began hosting an annual festival, called “Festiarpia,” in 2005. It started out as a small activity, with approximately 500 people participating. This year, its third year, we had the best turnout yet, with more than 3,000 people attending this event.

Organized in conjunction with Summit Zoo and Botanical Gardens, and held on their property next to the wonderful Harpy Eagle exhibit, throngs of adults and children came to learn more about raptors, conservation, and other NGOs currently working in Panama. Local schools, the Ministry of Education, the National Environmental Authority, the Panama Canal Authority, Friends of the Harpy Eagle, Mission: Harpy Eagle, national parks, Ecological Police, pet adoption groups, and other conservation organizations set up booths with information and fun activities for the whole family.

Children create Harpy habitat mobiles.
Children create Harpy habitat mobiles.
We hosted a booth with an art table, where children colored pictures of Harpy Eagles, trees, and some prey animals that they then put together with string and popsicle sticks to make a “Harpy Habitat Mobile” – a fun, educational souvenir that they could take home and hang in their rooms. We also had a raptor dart game, where participants gained points by landing their darts on photos representing prey, habitat, and raptor conservation. They lost points, however, if their darts landed on photos of deforestation, hunting, or pollution. Participants who got more than 12 points received a prize.

We hosted a raptor costume contest for children and adults and saw some amazing, elaborate costumes! The day’s activities also included traditional dances from the Embera/Wounaan and the Kuna indigenous groups, arts and crafts sales, and tours of the Harpy Eagle exhibit.

Crowd gathers to watch Luigi's flight.
Crowd gathers to watch Luigi's flight.
The highlight of the event, however, was when we flew our education Harpy Eagle, Luigi. He flew a total of seven demonstration flights in two time blocks, and did amazingly well. His flights were met with great enthusiasm, “oohs” and “aaahs” and applause all around. The following day, his picture was in almost every local newspaper that hit the stands! What a great Ambassador for wildlife conservation!

Though it takes weeks and weeks and a lot of work to organize this festival that lasts only five hours, the rewards are well worth it. We were we able to raise some funds for our programs through the sale of t-shirts and hats, we reached more than 3,000 people with general conservation and raptor information, and we joined forces with other environmental groups working in Panama, who also considered the 3rd Annual Harpy Eagle Day Celebration a resounding success!

Find more articles about Harpy Eagle, Neotropics

Most Recent Entries Atom feedshow-hide

Our Authorsshow-hide

Our Conservation Projectsshow-hide

Species we work withshow-hide

Where we workshow-hide

Unknown column 'Hits' in 'field list'
Support our work - Donate