Have Eagle, Will Travel

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At the 2013 National Scout Jamboree, the star of the National Eagle Scout Association booth was an American bald eagle (shown here) from the nearby Three Rivers Avian Center. At next month’s National Order of the Arrow Conference, NESA’s most popular guest will do undoubtedly be a bald eagle from the nearby Leslie Science and Nature Center. There’s just something about America’s national bird—and the namesake of the Eagle Scout Award—that captures the attention of people of all ages.

Nature centers and wildlife-rehabilitation groups around the country care for bald eagles who’ve been injured and can’t live on their own. Many of them are happy to take their eagles on the road in return for modest donations. The visits help them pay the bills while fulfilling their educational missions.

Including a live bald eagle in an Eagle court of honor is a great way to make the court of honor a signature event. While you probably shouldn’t include the bird in the ceremony itself—eagles can be unpredictable and crowds can disturb them—you could make the bird available for visits and photos before the ceremony (to encourage people to arrive early) or during the reception (to give people something to do after they’ve scarfed down their cake).

What have you done to make a court of honor a signature event? Post your story in the comments section below.

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