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October 18, 2007

Gov. Sanford to dedicate avian oil spill response facility Oct. 22

Governor Mark Sanford will dedicate the new $l.8 million medical facility at the Center for Birds of Prey on Monday, Oct. 22 as government and conservation leaders join to celebrate the Center’s outreach to even broader conservation, research and educational initiatives. Ceremonies will be at 2 p.m. in Awendaw.

The facility was funded by a $1.8 million grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Funds for the project were collected as a result of litigation stemming from an oil spill incident off the coast of Charleston in 1999. DNR, on behalf of the Natural Resource Trustees, (consisting of DNR, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the S.C. Office of the Governor) signed a contract with the Center to construct the oil spill response facility.

Call the International Center for Birds of Prey at (843) 928-3494 for more information.

The 7,000-square-foot facilities are designed to provide the highest quality medical care for sick, injured or orphaned birds on a day-to-day basis as well as quick effective response for the entire South East in the case of oil spills affecting wading and shorebirds and their fragile coastal breeding habitats. The Center is extending its conservation outreach through its umbrella organization, the Avian Conservation Center.

The modern new medical facilities will augment the ongoing research of the Center for Birds of Prey and is designed to be a training site for personnel involved in avian medicine for wild birds and oil spill response. Staff and Center volunteers recently moved all birds currently under treatment from the Center’s original facility into the new enclosures.

"This state-of -the-art facility is a strong and positive step forward for our Center and allows our staff and dedicated volunteers to be even more effective in their work," said Jim Elliott, executive director for the center. "The research undertaken there will add to the scientific knowledge base of birds and the environmental issues impacting them."

A non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization, the Center was founded in 1991 to identify and address vital environmental issues through avian medicine, education, research and conservation initiatives.  To date more than 4,000 birds of prey have been treated by the Center. The Center also conducts numerous research and field studies. Educational presentations and flight demonstrations are available at the Center for area schools and community groups. For information or to schedule a program, contact the Center at (843) 971-7474.  

DNR protects and manages South Carolina’s natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state’s natural resources and its people.

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