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Wildlife, raptor centers to mark 10th year
Georgia Southern Center for Wildlife Education director Steve Hein controls one of the eagles from the Lamar Q. Ball Raptor Center on the sidelines during a Georgia Southern football game. The centers will celebrate their 10th anniversary this month. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

Are you ready to commemorate a decade of fur, feathers and fact-filled fun at Georgia Southern University?

The Center for Wildlife Education and the Lamar Q. Ball Jr. Raptor Center will mark their 10th anniversary with a special celebration on Oct. 27.

Free and open to the public, the schedule of events will appeal to children and adults who wish to enjoy the Wildlife Center’s commitment to stimulating an appreciation of the impact of wildlife and wilderness on the quality of human existence.

“This anniversary celebration is our way of thanking our friends and supporters for 10 great years,” said Steve Hein, the director of the Wildlife Center. “Without them, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish our mission of creating an environmental and wildlife education experience that is truly unique in this part of the country.”

The anniversary celebration will run from 3-11 p.m. A variety of games and activities for the kids will be offered through 5 p.m., and free food and drinks will be available through 5:30 p.m.

Naturalist Steve Scruggs will present a wildlife conservation program that will run from 3-3:45 p.m. The founder of “Let’s Get Wild,” a non-profit organization that provides outdoor education to young people, he will discuss man’s role in managing wildlife in an ethical and responsible manner. Scruggs will use various mounted species, feathers and antlers in his presentation, which will concentrate on laws, funding, management practices, predators and prey, and endangered species.

Scruggs will host “Snakes Alive” from 4-4:45 p.m. This presentation will focus on snake identification.

Okefenokee Joe, a world-renowned expert in field herpetology, will host “Earth Day Every Day” from 5:15-6 p.m. In this snake-awareness presentation, the often-misunderstood reptiles will safely represent nature, tell the true story of all wildlife, and demonstrate how man can and must coexist with the natural world.

C.W. Wathen, the founder of the Chestatee Wildlife Preserve in Dahlonaga, will host “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” from 6:15-7 p.m. Wathen will educate the audience on a menagerie of live animals that includes a leopard, lynx, lemur, puma and wolf. In addition, a white Siberian tiger and grizzly bear from Chestatee will be on display.

With Halloween right around the corner, young visitors can trick-or-treat in the campground from 7:15-8 p.m. Blending humor, education and breathtaking illusions; Magic Marc will perform from 8-8:45 p.m.

Falcon Fireworks of Rincon will conduct a fireworks exhibition from 8:45-9 p.m. A social that features refreshments and music by Ryan Kelly will run from 9-11 p.m.

Founded in October 1997, the Wildlife Center occupies five beautiful acres in the heart of the Georgia Southern University campus.

A self-guided boardwalk tour winds through a wetlands area, an old-growth forest and a mountain display, providing visitors with a view of native raptors in their natural habitats, including an up-close look at a bald eagle.

The center also features a children’s discovery trail with 17 stations; a 150-seat amphitheater is used for various wildlife programs and flight shows that feature birds of prey; and an indoor lecture hall used to conduct the reptile program, which includes a 12-foot Burmese python.