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South Florida Eagle Watch, Inc., a Florida Not-for-Profit Corporation, was organized on March 23, 2012 to promote conservation and repopulation of Bald Eagles in South Florida. Our goal is to foster a sense of wonder of nature and a love of the environment, especially in young people, through the observation and study of these emblematic birds. We are collaborating with West Broward High School to develop a cross-curriculum education program inspired by Bald Eagles that can become a model for the region’s schools. In addition, a citizen science program will be established to monitor and record eagle activity throughout the region. A key element will be installation of a robotic high definition video camera at the Pembroke Pines Eagle Sanctuary to capture, broadcast, and archive live streaming high definition video and photographs of eagles nesting behavior over the internet.
We are partnering with the Bird Lovers Club of South Florida, West Broward High School, Broward County Schools, the City of Pembroke Pines, Broward County’s NatureScape Broward program, American Flyways, and other interested local and state agencies and organizations to develop this project. The organization requires funding in the amount of $20,000 to $25,000. Once established, it is believed that this program will be self-funded through online advertising, sales of associated products like photos, videos and other items, and solicitation of sponsorships and donations. The project’s website posted at http:// southfloridaeaglewatch.com presents our plans, a complete history of the Pembroke Pines eagle nest, hundreds of breathtaking photos, and live streaming video of a Bald Eagle nest in Iowa that exemplifies what can be accomplished.
Something extraordinary is happening in Pembroke Pines, South Florida. For the first time in more than 35 years in urban Broward County, Bald Eagles are nesting in a tall pine tree on undeveloped municipal land. The City of Pembroke Pines has designated the tract the Pembroke Pines Eagle Sanctuary. There are over 1000 breeding pairs of Bald Eagles in Florida, but at present this is the only nesting pair south of Lake Okeechobee. This pair has successfully raised 8 eaglets from 2008 to 2011. This year, one eaglet was hatched on January 15, 2012. Surprisingly in late March it left the nest. We do not know for sure whether or not it survived since we didn’t think it was ready to fledge. This exemplifies the uncertainties in the life cycle of these birds. Fortunately, the adult eagles have remained in the general vicinity and have been sighted many times near and even on the nest. Consequently, experts are confident that they will return to nest again in the fall.
The Bald Eagle is our national bird, an important icon of America, and a symbol of strength, boldness, and courage. Anyone who has ever seen an adult Bald Eagle in the wild, whether in flight or perched, knows how inspiring they are with their 7 foot wingspans and powerful countenance.
It is a species of special concern that until recently was on the Endangered Species List of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Because of conservation measures taken in recent decades, Bald Eagles are making a strong comeback in many areas of the United States including central and northern Florida. We are hopeful that the Pembroke Pines eagles will play an important role in repopulating South Florida. For these reasons the City of Pembroke Pines, one of Florida’s leading green cities, designated the nesting site an Eagle Sanctuary for as long as these birds continue to nest on the property.
MULTI-DISCIPLINE EDUCATION PROGRAM
Information obtained by observation of the eagles and their nesting behavior will be the focus of a cross-curricula education program under development by West Broward High School teachers led leadership of Mr. Norman Alford, head of the school’s Science Department and the school’s Teacher of the Year recipient for 2011-2012. The program will include study projects in the school’s science, pre-engineering, computer science, video production, social studies, and English departments.
HIGH DEFINITION VIDEO WEB CAMERA
A solar powered, robotic, high definition video camera will be mounted in the nest tree and wirelessly connected to the internet to enable real time daytime and nighttime observation by viewers worldwide of the remarkable process of mating, egg laying, incubating, hatching, parental caretaking, and fledging. The camera will facilitate an outstanding conservation, research and educational opportunity.
The HDTV camera in an all-weather housing will be installed on a tree limb above the nest with a robotically controlled pan-zoom-tilt (PZT) mounting. An infrared light source will make nighttime surveillance possible. We plan to use solar power with or without battery backup and/or electric power. The streaming video signal will be transmitted wirelessly to an antenna and internet connection at nearby West Broward High School. Streaming live high definition video will be hosted at http:// southfloridaeaglewatch.com.
Corporate sponsorships of $2,500 to $10,000 or more are welcome as well as donations from individuals of $25 or more. Sponsors will receive recognition on the website including advertising and internet links in proportion to their support. The website will be promoted through search engines, social networking sites, and other publicity..
Below is the video stream from the Iowa Web Cam, which this project wishes to emulate.