Congratulations ~ $16,000!

Some of you may have noticed the little announcement box in the upper left corner jumped from over $7592 after our matching fund challenge, to $11,729 a few days later. Karen Bills, our Project Coordinator at HWF, is keeping track of the donations - so I asked her about the big jump - and here's what I learned.

Shortly after our matching drive, someone contacted Karen to ask about doing a similar drive the following weekend. Karen checked with a couple of us, and told the woman that it was unfortunately just too soon to try that again - and that marvelous person said she'd suspected as much - so she was going to match her own donation - and give us $2000 for Sidney!

And right after that, a different person - who didn't know anything about that donation - called Karen - and that wonderful person donated another $2000 for Sidney!

Karen also told me about another person who is making a donation for the Sidney cams. Earlier this year she heard from the mother of a 6-1/2 year old boy who lives in Victoria. This little boy had learned from watching the cams what eagles sound like, and he heard that sound one day on his way home from school. He looked up and discovered an eagle's nest and wanted to tell us about it and that's why he asked his mother to write to HWF. Karen just received another email from his mother saying that her son is turning 7 years old - and instead of birthday gifts he has asked his family and friends to make donations to the Sidney cam!

Upgrading the cameras at Sidney is our top priority this year - so any donations from the current fund drive that were not specifically earmarked for one of the other cams went into the Sidney fund. I must admit I hadn't actually realized that the $11,729 in donations we announced a few days ago were all either for Sidney, or general donations to be used where needed - but another marvelous supporter realized that, and knew that our estimate for the upgrade for Sidney was $12,000 - so that person donated $271 - so we would reach our goal for Sidney!

But the good news doesn't end there -

...Not all the donations were for Sidney.

Delta 2 is a new camera for us this year, and those of us who watched it quickly fell in love with the caring adults and the two active chicks. We held our breath when one of the eaglets disappeared from the nest - and all cheered when we learned that the eaglet named Oreo by local schoolchildren had been rescued and was safe at O.W.L. And a number of members were able to attend his release this Summer, and watch him fly away towards new adventures. And we also watched the remaining eaglet, named Jet by the class, as she came into her own as a slightly spoiled "only chick" - happily always being first in line for food, and making her distinctive "screeps" when she thought it was time for more food!

The Delta 2 nest was originally equipped with two cameras - the close-up one we watched all season, and a modest pan-tilt-zoom camera designed to let us watch the eaglets as they began to move around the tree. Unfortunately the PTZ cam stopped working right after the eagles returned. We estimated that it would cost $3000 to do the routine cleaning and maintenance, fix the broken camera and cover some of the routine expenses needed to keep the cameras streaming - and a marvelous donor has donated that $3000 for Delta 2!

And there's still more - another dedicated viewer donated $1000 for Delta OWL, which will enable us to do the basic cleaning and maintenance on the cam, though there is the matter of the monthly electricity and internet charges, which are not yet covered. We do need to get the cleaning done while the eagles are away - so having that covered is a really big first step. This pair is very dedicated and fun to watch - but sadly they have not yet been successful. They've laid eggs several years, but none have hatched. We think they're young and learning, and hope they finally get to raise a family in 2012.

And last, but definitely not least, a big thanks to the landowners at White Rock who are generously sharing the eagles in their back yard with the world. White Rock is definitely one of the most beautiful nest locations I've ever seen - and the high res cameras there are spectacular, and give a clear demonstration of what we could do at the other nests - with a little help from our friends!

We do still welcome additional donations - we need another $1500 for Delta OWL, and there are incidental expenses for several of the other cams, not to mention the not-so-minor matter of the expenses of this forum and website.... We already have a few people using the "monthly donation" option on CanadaHelps - and those donations will help with our ongoing expenses for electricity, internet, web/forum costs, etc. - and it would be marvelous if we had more people doing that so there was a regular amount coming in each month. Please click here to see the various ways you can donate to Hancock Wildlife Foundation.

Thank you all for making this fund drive such a spectacular success! I know there is a story that goes with each and every donation, and I wish I had time to learn them all and share them here. I am honored to be part of this wonderful group who does so much in so many ways to keep the cameras streaming and the discussion flowing.

Thank you.

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