WEST VIRGINIA — The Forest Service participated in a special Veterans Day event Nov. 9 at the Huntington, West Virginia, Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center. The center hosted a special family event, and Jo Santiago, International Programs, brought birds of prey for a presentation about the importance of conserving habitat for migratory species. She brings six birds, including, among the four migratory raptors, a rarely seen Merlin falcon. Santiago’s presentation tells the story of each bird. She weaves in the idea that everyone has a role in the conservation of migratory creatures and their habitats.
The highlight of the Veterans Day presentation was Freedom, a bald eagle. The eagle is on loan from the American Eagle Foundation. It would not survive in the wild. Santiago and her birds regularly work with a post-traumatic stress disorder support group at the Huntington facility.