housands of raptors such as eagles, owls, and hawks are injured each year from accidentally ingesting fishing line. Small monofilament line scraps end up in waterways. They then become tangled in fish and other small animals, which are then eaten by the birds. Dardanelle High School EAST students Tyler Turnbow, Chase Hickey, and Kayla Miller spent the last year helping these birds of prey avoid harm.
Soon after, the team began to brainstorm ways to help the raptors, and by January 2018, the Save the Raptors project was in full swing. A plan was made to build monofilament recycling bins to collect used fishing line and tackle. A partnership with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) helped the students fund the construction of these bins. “My favorite part of this project was actually assembling the bins. I love to be hands-on and it was a really neat experience,” said Kayla. The students researched how to build the bins from several online sites and finally settled on a design made from PVC pipe and elbows. After working together for a week, the team produced nine collection bins, which Kayla, Chase, and Tyler agreed was one of the best parts of the whole project. 2
EAST QUARTERLY | www.EASTinitiative.org
Last fall, the students began learning about eagle behavior by remotely observing them in the nest. Eagle cams in Washington, DC, northeast Florida, southwest Florida, Big Bear Lake in California and the Upper Mississippi River Refuge revealed food being brought to the nest entangled with fishing line.
I have seen that more people use the bins than what I thought would. People might throw trash and other things in there but at least they aren’t throwing it in the water to harm wildlife.
Photo used with permission from Desiree Deliz Photography