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Women for Shepherd University hosts raptor demonstration, nature center tour

ISSUED: 26 April 2021
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Thirty alumni, community members, faculty, and staff attended the Women for Shepherd University (WSU) raptor demonstration and tour on Saturday, April 17, at Trego Mountain Nature Center located in Keedysville, Maryland. The event was sponsored by the Shepherd University Foundation.

The raptor demonstration, which was the 16th marquee event for WSU, featured federal- and state-licensed master falconer Dina Spanomanolis, who is the director of the Nature Center and is dedicated to educating the public about the need for conserving Maryland’s natural resources, namely birds of prey.

Participants at the event were introduced to several of the birds housed at the Center—Lancelot, a Finnish goshawk; Shasta, a broadwing hawk; Hector, a great horned owl; Steady, a Harris hawk; and Jasmine, a white gyrfalcon. The presentation opened with Jeremiah, a 19-year-old red tail hawk. Spanomanolis shared with the group that the call of red tail hawks is usually used as the sound effects for eagles in movies and television shows.

“Eagles actually make chirping noises,” Spanomanolis laughed. “That’s not ferocious at all.”

Following the raptor demonstration, attendees were allowed to roam the property and visit the other animals onsite. Of particular fascination were a pair of emu babies born in February, a large female Eurasian eagle owl, and an iguana named Doc. Most, if not all, of the participants captured their time at the event through photographs taken either by phone or professional cameras. One such photographer was Cecelia Mason, who serves as a staff writer for Shepherd’s Office of University Communications.

“It was a really fun event,” said Mason, who attended with her husband, Shepherd alumnus Ken Molenda. “Seeing those birds was amazing.”

WSU planning committee members Judy Childs and Katie Gordon were instrumental in providing support for the event, which was originally scheduled for April 2020. The planning committee meets biannually to select events for the upcoming year and strives to choose activities that will be both fun and educational.

If you are interested in learning more about Women for Shepherd University or would like to help plan future events, contact Meg Peterson, Shepherd University Foundation, P.O. Box 5000, Shepherdstown, WV 25443, 304-876-5021,, or visit the Foundation webpage.

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