Third Annual Harpy Eagle Day Celebration the Biggest Success Yet
Marta Curti— 7 May 2007 — 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.
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.
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!
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