Pairing adjudicated youth with injured birds of prey is a response to a growing awareness of the need for young people to reconnect to nature, and to have such opportunities as part of the rehabilitation process.
In partnership with the forward-thinking vision of the DC Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services and National Guard, providing adjudicated at-risk youth access through Wings Over America to these injured birds of prey offers an entry point and “New Beginnings” to engage with the natural world.
While this much-needed conservation effort is a good idea unto itself, the partnership with youth-at-risk makes it a brilliant one. The bird sanctuary will be housed in a 100-year-old barn on a parcel of land rich with trees, wildlife, and rivers, and conveniently next to New Beginnings, a youth rehabilitation facility for young men between the ages of 15 and 18.
With the dynamic partnership between the city of Washington DC, the state of Maryland, Greenspur Builders, Maya Angelou Academy – New Beginnings, National Wildlife Federation and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the youth in the program will also learn green building construction to restore the barn and surrounding buildings in the creation of a raptor training center.
Youth in the program will learn essential connections between environmental stewardship and responsibility. This dynamic educational resource will be open to students from DC, Maryland, and Virginia, as well as to the general public.