Virtual event celebrates School of Dentistry donors

The School of Dentistry held its annual Summer Celebration of Donors virtually this year, allowing for a special presentation that taught donors a bit about the large birds they might see throughout Minnesota.

The summer celebration hosted donors to the School of Dentistry who are members of the University of Minnesota President’s Club, a giving circle of the highest level.

Participants gathered virtually to enjoy a presentation from the University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center for Raptors of the Midwest, a celebration of Minnesota’s owls, hawks, eagles, falcons, and vultures.

Anna, a staff expert from the Raptor Center, showed off Rowan, one of the center’s permanent residents. A red tailed hawk, Rowan is one of a few examples of members of the center’s education team.

Typically, the Raptor Center takes in birds who have been injured and nurses them to health before releasing them back into the wild. In special circumstances, like Rowan’s, birds have a permanent injury that requires full-time care to survive. In Rowan’s case, a partial blindness means she’s unable to forage for her own food.

Raptor CenterAnna demonstrated the curved beak, sharp talons, and forward-facing eyes that differentiate raptors from other sky creatures. Participants learned about raptors’ eating habits, their favorite locations, and what makes them unique.

For example, after Rowan, Anna introduced participants to an American Castral, the smallest kind of falcon in North America. “Falcons are built for speed,” Anna explained, so this small bird can move incredibly quickly considering her size.

Anna then introduced a great-horned owl, what she referred to as a crowd-pleaser. Built for stealth, Anna explained, this bird is slow and sneaky.

Noting chatter-like sounds the owl made, Anna explained that these child-like noises are indicative of the developmental delays this 20-year-old bird experiences after having been taken in and raised by a human. “We love to share her story as a reminder,” she explained. “If you find an animal that needs help, it’s really important to call us or another wildlife organization.”

Finally, Anna introduced the largest bird of the evening: a bald eagle. She called bald eagles a great conservation success story, going from rare and endangered to thriving.

After answering questions from donors on raptors’ diet preferences, ages, nesting, and more, Anna ended her presentation. Participants heard a final message of gratitude from Dean Keith A. Mays, DDS, MS, PhD.

Dean Mays expressed his enjoyment of the evening and his gratitude for the donors who attended and all who gave to the school this year.

“I want to thank all of you for your support over the past year,” Mays expressed to the donors on the call. “This was a challenging year for us on many fronts, and you were extremely generous in your donations, in working with our students, and in your care for us.”

Dean Mays congratulated donors on their part in a successful ten years of Driven., thanked those who helped with the student emergency fund this year, and recognized new members of the President’s Club.

“You made a real impact on our students, faculty, and staff,” Mays said. “And if they could be here tonight, they’d tell you how much it means to them."

Raptor Center
Raptor Center