Thousands of photos snapped at Okeeheelee’s Raptor Day

Cassandra Jean (2)
Photo Credit: Cassandra Jean

Thousands of photos were snapped at Palm Beach County’s Okeeheelee Nature Center on Saturday, January 30, as photographers of all ages captured the majestic beauty of nine birds of prey, aged 3-20 years old.

OKNC sold out of tickets for its Raptor Day photography event, welcoming 50 photographers to the facility – ranging from 11 to 93 years old! Photographers from all over the country traveled to Palm Beach County to take advantage of this unique opportunity, traveling from Michigan, Iowa, Indiana and New Jersey, just to name a few. The event even drew in some international guests.

“This was a very unique opportunity for people to see all of our birds at the same time and that’s certainly never been done and never been done for photographers,” said Callie Sharkey, the Nature Center’s manager.

The fundraising event for Friends of Okeeheelee Nature Center provided the photographers with a unique opportunity to showcase all of the raptors at the facility – various owls, hawks, falcons and others – during private sessions with the birds. The birds sat outdoors for natural lighting on real wood perches, a natural background was set up behind them, allowing the photographers to play with a more natural setting. According to Sharkey, all of the birds were cooperative for the entire event, and all of the photographers were respectful of the birds. Some of the birds even took to roosting and preening, signs that they were comfortable with their environment.

Seven of the birds were from Okeeheelee Nature Center, while the other two were from Daggerwing and Green Cay Nature Centers. All of the birds photographed during the event are cared for at Palm Beach County’s three nature centers as they are non-releasable. Each bird has been through rehab for various reasons, whether they have been wounded by humans or arrived at the nature center as a fully imprinted bird.

Matteo Cappella
Photo Credit: Matteo Cappella

Sharkey said the Nature Center would like to plan this event again in the future, as it allows photographers – both professional and amateur – to gain a respect for the animals they’re photographing and become further educated on why the animals are being cared for at the nature centers, which leads to further conservation efforts. Promoting stewardship of nature and natural sites is a core service of the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department.

Okeeheelee Nature Center is owned and operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department and is located in Okeeheelee Park at 7715 Forest Hill Blvd in West Palm Beach.

We’d love to see your photos! If you have a photo taken at the Raptor Day event, you can share it on the Friends of Okeeheelee Nature Center’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfOkeeheeleeNatureCenter/

Check out the photos submitted below, and be sure to keep checking our blog for more photos as they come in!

View photos on Flickr

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John Prince Park welcomed national, international athletes for 16th annual Knock and Roll Tournament

Wheelchair Rugby players from South Florida, Tampa, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Michigan, Philadelphia, Jacksonville and Switzerland went head-to-head for the trophy in a three-day tournament at the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) Therapeutic Recreation Complex in Lake Worth.

Wheelchair Rugby, or Quad Rugby, is a game for individuals with disabilities; the players glide down the court, bumping and hitting each other’s chairs along the way, in what makes for an exciting and powerful sport meant to increase athletic participation among individuals with physical disabilities.

The CMAA Therapeutic Recreation Complex is owned and operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department and is located in John Prince Park at 2728 Lake Worth Road in Lake Worth. Providing for athletic programming and facilities is one of the department’s core services and it is firmly committed to the spirit of and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For more opportunities for healthy, happy living, visit www.pbcparks.com.

Watch the below video to hear from some of the athletes who competed, including our local team, the South Florida Rattlers.

Palm Beach County Pools welcome College Swimmers

For three weeks in December and January, College Swim Teams from around the country travel to Palm Beach County’s Aqua Crest Pool and North County Aquatic Complex to train for the fall season. The teams travel from as far west as Iowa to as far north as Michigan to escape frigid temperatures that make it difficult to train. As students from Michigan State and New York’s Wagner College explain, Palm Beach County’s palm trees and beaches allow them to take a mental break during the winter.

Aqua Crest Pool and North County Aquatic Complex are owned and operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. Providing for athletic programming and facilities is one of the core services of the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. For more opportunities, visit www.pbcparks.com.