Three Questions is a new Next Stage series. Over the coming months, we will feature social good leaders from across the region who are partnering in new and innovative ways to create big community change.
1. Tell us about The Raptor Center’s proudest accomplishment last year.
In addition to being able to continue and actually expand operations during the pandemic, the Raptor Center celebrated the opening of the Quest facility in July 2021! Quest is a partnership between Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation and the Raptor Center. This fifteen-year dream started to become tangible at the ground breaking in October 2018, but slowed down a bit due to COVID-19. Quest is now open 7 days a week and serving as a wonderful resource for our community. It took a tremendous effort from our staff, volunteers, stakeholders, our County partners, and the community to make this vision come to life. It is proof that public/private partnerships can be extremely successful.
2. The Raptor Center is a nonprofit, but it’s mission is also highly applicable to the private sector. Why should companies care about your mission?
We are here to connect people to the power, wonder, and inspiration in the natural world. With so much negativity swirling around our day-to-day life, the Raptor Center gets people outside to enjoy a positive and peaceful experience. The birds on our trail and those we treat in our hospital are the signs of a healthy community. Some are birds you see on your commute every day, or while grilling dinner on your porch. They are as much a part of everyone’s life as your neighbor, mailman, grocery clerk, or barista. Each bird and each person that you meet on the Raptor Trail has a different story to tell and provides a different form of inspiration to our visitors. Why wouldn’t a company want to be part of a mission filled with wonder?
3. How can The Raptor Center actively support the well being of employees?
We have been so fortunate to have hundreds of corporate group volunteers who spend time working in the woods to keep our facilities in top shape. Getting out of the office and working on a project outside with your peers is a great way to break down barriers and build camaraderie. Another team building opportunities is “Tell Your Raptor Story” where participants are invited to first explore, then explain to their peers the ways in which raptors have shown up in the lexicon of their culture. This activity is a great way to get to know a side of your peers you wouldn’t otherwise discuss and to learn about their “superpowers.” Finally, we have also worked with companies to offer free admission to their employees to enjoy some natural healing on the Raptor Trail. Employees are restored through the power of nature and what we like to call “Nature Therapy.”