Few schools can call themselves home to 300 domesticated farm animals and wildlife including 50 birds of prey, but the Green Chimneys Farm & Wildlife Center in Brewster – which is a pivotal component in the education and therapeutic treatment for the children who attend Green Chimneys School – can do just that.
Through the school’s unique nature-based approach, students learn the true meaning of stewardship. Their participation in the care, and sometimes rehabilitation of these animals helps them understand that animals can be in need and that the students can play a role in nursing them back to health.
It’s an important lesson for children who have special needs of their own – that a service receiver can become a service provider.
Green Chimneys’ animal program provides valuable education and interactive experiences for the larger community, as well. Part of this is the annual Birds of Prey Day, launched nearly three decades ago as a fundraiser to build Green Chimneys’ first aviary. It has since grown into a full-day educational program and celebration of birds of prey and the environment, hosting thousands of visitors.
On Sunday, June 4, Green Chimneys will open its doors to feature more than 100 birds of prey with falconers from across New York and Connecticut. Visitors will have a chance to get “up close and personal” with majestic eagles, hawks, owls and falcons, and learn from top wildlife and environmental experts.
The event will feature renowned falconers and animal educators, including Brian Bradley (Skyhunters in Flight), James Eyring (Hawk Tales), Erik Callender (Reptile Edventures), Tom Cullen (Falconry Excursions), Two By Two Zoo and members of the New York State Falconry Association.
High points of the day include free-flying raptors, live animal demonstrations and the release of a rehabilitated bird – a significant moment for Green Chimneys’ staff and student rehabilitators, as well as the numerous wildlife professionals in attendance. The day includes activities for all ages, as well as food trucks, vendors, and live music from the popular bluegrass band Too Blue.
Doors open at 10 a.m.
Tickets are $5 for kids and seniors, and $15 for adults. A family pass is $35. Military members with ID and Scouts in uniform get in for free. To get tickets, and for more information, visit www.greenchimneys.org/preyday.
Birds of Prey Day is one of Green Chimneys’ largest fundraising events and welcomes more than 2,000 people to its 200-acre Brewster campus each year.
Founded in 1947, Green Chimneys is recognized as a worldwide leader in animal-assisted therapy and educational activities for children with special needs. Services include an accredited special education school on two campuses, a residential treatment center, animal-assisted and nature-based therapeutic programs, public education and recreation programs, and community-based support for underserved youth and families.