Don Wagman's "The Free and The Brave."
York based artist, Don Wagman, discusses the endangerment of Bald Eagles, and how they are a iconic figure representing America in his piece, The Free and The Brave:
I sketched and painted the American Bald eagle in 2011, in honor of my wife, Sheila and her brother, Dennis Jones; Supervisor of the PA Game Commission and climber in the PA Bald Eagle Restoration. Although the bald eagle is the proud national bird, the bird was nearly wiped out in the United States.
“Pennsylvania Bald Eagles, Celebrating 30 Years of Restoration” brings full circle the amazing story of the bald eagle in the Commonwealth, following the species through its drastic decline and successful reintroduction to the present time, when the population once again is thriving.
In 1983, when the Pennsylvania Game Commission launched what would become a seven-year program to restore bald eagles, only three nests remained statewide. For seven years, each summer commission staff (including my brother in law, Dennis Jones) flew to the Churchill River valley in Canada's Saskatchewan province to gather about a dozen 7-week-old eaglets from nests there and bring them back to two spots in Pennsylvania: Haldeman Island in the Susquehanna River near Duncannon, and Shohola Lake in Pike County. In those two locations,The eaglets were placed into elevated enclosures and raised by mostly hidden humans for the next two months or so, until the birds were ready to fledge into the wild.
Today, because of the efforts of the PA Bald Eagle Restoration project, bald eagles have become a common sight throughout much of Pennsylvania. So far this year, 268 nests have been counted statewide. In addition, the Game Commission is considering a proposal to remove bald eagles from the state’s list of threatened species.I am a proud American, and the Bald Eagle represents all that America is-- strong, resilient and brave!"
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