May 22, 2024

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

Cascades Raptor Center invites you to get out in the wild

2 min read
“The birds in our ecosystem help make life on Earth possible,” said Julie Collins, executive director of the Cascade Raptor Center. “We as humans couldn’t survive here without the other species."

from the Eugene Chamber of Commerce

At the Cascades Raptor Center, Julie Collins is not afraid to roll up her sleeves and get the job done, even if it’s cleaning aviaries.

Maybe that’s because Julie, the Center’s new executive director, started her time there as a volunteer doing everything from cleaning to food prep.

Succeeding founder Louise Shimmel as executive director, Julie has big plans for growing their work. She plans to make the Center more inclusive through innovative programs like offering free admission to those with a SNAP card, and expanding and making improvements to the property.

After her start in the aviaries, she began helping with the events team, and then moved into development. She served as deputy director before landing the top spot.

She says her progression through the organization reflected her growing passion for working with these magnificent birds.

The center rehabilitates everything from hawks to eagles who have had run-ins with humans, gotten sick, or who were just too young to work as professional hunters.

They also care for what she calls “education birds” at the nature center, who cannot be released to the wild.

Julie said it has been wonderful working with such a passionate team who understand the vital role that birds play in our world.

“The birds in our ecosystem help make life on Earth possible,” she said. “We as humans couldn’t survive here without the other species, and that’s a hard thing to understand…We’re more inside the cities, and not leaving our houses. I say, ‘Get out in the wild! Experience nature!’

Thanks to the Raptor Center for helping us appreciate what this Earth has for us.

To learn more about the work being done there or to donate, see

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