Courtesy of Donna Kirby
The use of DDT pesticides during the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s nearly wiped the American peregrine falcon off the map. The birds of prey were critically endangered by 1975, with an estimated 324 nesting pairs left in the U.S., according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Inspired by the recovery of the peregrine falcon population, sixth-graders at Escalante Middle School worked for five months to raise money for St. Francis Sanctuary & Wildlife Rehabilitation in Arboles. The center, run by Pat Jackson, is home to injured birds of all species and sizes, including peregrine falcons.
Language arts teacher Donna Kirby spearheaded the project, enlisting the help of more than 70 students. “We started by reading a book about peregrine falcons in New York,” Kirby said. “The culmination of our efforts was note cards. The students created hand-drawn falcons and … wrote a paragraph explaining one facet of the falcon on each note card.”
The note cards were bundled in sets of five and sold to family and friends, raising $350 for the rehabilitation center. The money will go toward food, medicine and bedding for the birds, Kirby said.
“We invited Pat to receive the check at the school on May 31,” Kirby said. “We are going to show her a display case we created with all the note cards the kids made, like a gallery walk representing falcon facts.”