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Raptor center celebrates Bridger Raptor Festival, breaks ground on new facility

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The annual Bridger Raptor Festival Oct. 7-9 will celebrate the largest golden eagle migration in the U.S. with a festival that includes educational programs on raptors for all ages, raptor viewing, nature walks, lectures, and information booths hosted by local conservation organizations. 

Friday, Oct. 7., Dr. Maro Restani, director of conservation for Montana Audobon, will deliver the keynote address at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman. All other festival activities will take place at Bridger Bowl Ski Area the following two days.

The Montana Raptor Conservation Center has other good news to report: the organization broke ground on an educational amphitheatre Sept. 20. Located on the nonprofit’s campus, the amphitheater will provide a facility for onsite programs and can serve as a community space for outreach activities with the center’s partner organizations.

The center currently provides more than 70 education programs each year. However, approximately 85 percent of those events are hosted off-site due to space and accessibility constraints.

Built into the existing hillside, the venue will take advantage of the terrain, views, and natural setting to create a learning environment and educational focal point for decades to come. Plans for the facility, designed by Bozeman-based Intrinsik Architecture, include a covered stage area and covered seating for up to 80 people with additional overflow seating.

The amphitheater is the keystone element in an overall master plan that features a more community-friendly campus. Additional plans are in the works for mews, or habitats, and weathering areas where education birds—raptors that cannot be released back into the wild—will be on view.

“Education is a key component of MRCC’s mission, and onsite programming will be an exciting new way to engage the community and reach groups that may not have the space to host programs,” said MRCC Board President Marco Restani.

“We’ve been building out MRCC’s educational infrastructure for the past few years, adding a part-time education coordinator and creating blocks of age-appropriate curricula that meet National Science [Education] Standards,” said MRCC Director Becky Kean. “Having a central place where all that can come together will be a major accomplishment.”

Visit for a schedule of Bridger Raptor Festival events.

Founded in 1988, the Montana Raptor Conservation Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission to improve the welfare of raptors across Montana through rehabilitation of injured birds, community education, and partnerships for raptor conservation and research. Visit for more information.

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