The Carolina Raptor Center, CRC is a not for profit organization that is home to a wide variety of raptors. Located just north of Downtown Charlotte, at Latta Plantation Nature Preserve in North Carolina, CRC is home to the most extensive collection of raptors or birds of prey including; hawks, eagles, owls, vultures and falcons.
The goals of the Carolina Raptor Center include; rehabilitation of injured and orphaned raptors, environmental stewardship and environmental education. Your visit to the CRC starts at the Edna S Moretti Educational Center then you will take a stroll through the trails in the woods where you will see over 20 species of raptors on display. These are injured birds under rehabilitation so they cannot be released to the wild.
The highlight of the trail for many is the Golden Eagle and the Bald Eagle cages. These are rare species of eagles and the only ones of their kind in the Carolinas. There is a lot of information displayed about the species of the birds on display so you will leave educated.
The CRC started out as Carolina Raptor Rehabilitation and Research Center, CRRRC, back in 1981 but the idea was born in 1975 when the first bird a broad winged hawk was received by Dr. Richard Brown an Ornithologist. CRC was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1981 and was co-founded by Dr. Brown and his student Deb Sue Griffins.
The CRC started out at the basement of the UNC building but was later in 1984 moved to the current location. It was not all rosy, as the location wasn’t developed and didn’t have any power or water. The conservationists had to fetch water from the lake and get electricity from battery power.
The first cage at the site was constructed the same year and by 1986 the center had seen admission of bird number 1000 which was an Eastern Screech Owl. Ever since the center has seen several renovations and so many improvements to have it looking the way it does today.
The Edna S Moretti environmental Education Center was completed in 1992 during a major facility improvement. By 1993, the center had received bird number 4000 which was a Mississippi Kite. The annual Raptor Research Foundation Meeting was first held at the CRC in the same year with over 200 researchers from 7 different nations attending.
The center started the educational outreach initiative in 1994 with an educational staff member hired to visit schools all over the Carolinas to provide formal education aligned with curriculum goals.
By the 2016 over 20,000 birds will have been received and over 8000 birds released from the CRC. There have been many other developments to the center over the years including; The Wendy Ella Guilford Owl Observatory, the Vulture Culture Exhibit, The Weyerhaueser Flight Training facility, Corvid exhibit, Silver Screen exhibit and so many more. There have also been a lot of marketing campaigns done to get more people in the Carolinas visiting the center.
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