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home : education : schools May 24, 2016

3/11/2014 1:47:00 PM
Golden eagle cam set to go online
Forrest Babcock setting up the eagle cam. Thousands of people use it to watch nesting eagles. photo by Sue Anderson
+ click to enlarge
Forrest Babcock setting up the eagle cam. Thousands of people use it to watch nesting eagles. photo by Sue Anderson

By Jim Anderson

The telescope, camera, and web equipment sending images of the golden eagle nesting over the Wolftree property on lower Whychus Creek is about to go back online.

Leslie Lawrence now owns the home and camera site.

Those who enjoyed watching the eagle family raise their youngsters from eggs to fledglings last year recall what fun it was to have the opportunity to be that up-close without causing any stress to the eagles. Now it's almost ready to be repeated - but there are money problems.

While the educational outreach program Wolftree owns the domain, and has the rights to send the eagle's activities around the world, it still costs money to throw the switch. The cost this year is $250.

With the cutbacks in budget for education, Wolftree doesn't have that kind of money, so this year - as they did last year - the local Sisters Area Photography Club is putting up $125, half the budget needed to get the images streaming around the world.

Everyone is hoping that the balance of the budget needed to get the eagle images moving will come from the generosity of those who enjoy the unique opportunity. Anyone can go to the Wolftree website and click on the link to the eagle cam and use PayPal to contribute. Or patrons can write a check or money order to Wolftree, earmark it for the Eagle Cam and mail it to Wolftree, P.O. Box 646; Beavercreek, OR 97004.

The project was started by Janet Zuelke and Forrest Babcock. Jay Bowerman of the Sunriver Nature Center and Observatory arranged a donation of $1,000 to purchase a very high-quality web-enabled camera.

Blake Lundstrom, an IT specialist from Sunriver, donated a server that is housed in the Yellowknife Wireless Internet company's office (also a contributing sponsor). Yellowknife is donating the broadband stream that will be piped directly to their tower on Hinkle Butte.

Babcock, an optical engineer, is donating use of a high-powered telescope and has done all the engineering. Forrest and friends also spent hours making the gazebo that shelters the camera and necessary electronics to transmit the images.

Babcock and friends constructed the concrete pedestal that's anchored to the sidehill under the gazebo, up through the floor and supports the telescope and camera. He poured the pedestal mostly by himself, hauling concrete in five-gallon buckets from a portable mixer.

According to Gary Miller, president of the photo club, "Last year there were in the neighborhood of 60,000 world-wide viewers, including classrooms, watching and discussing the eagle's progress while educating kids in the wonders of nature."

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