Experiences that inspire: The BBA Raptor Lab

February 4, 2020
Cara Gard
The BBA Raptor Lab

Royal Roads Bachelor of Business Administration program is designed to give students not only strong business fundamentals but the skills and inspiration that will help them affect real change in our world. In the BBA program, we create experiences to inspire!

In the fall of 2019 BBA Business & Ecology students received an up-close and personal lesson from exciting visitors. Shown in the photo below are Sir Elton the Spectacled Owl, Kessy the American Kestrel Falcon and Turkey Vulture Judge Dredd of Pacific Northwest Raptors. These birds of prey demonstrated to the class how they have individually evolved to excel in their niches and how we can co-exist together while benefiting our ecosystems.

This unique Raptor lab experience was facilitated by RRU Associate Faculty Alison Moran, and Anne Nightingale of Rocky Point Bird Observatory, and Tina Hein of Pacific Northwest Raptors, provided the students with an opportunity to learn the roles birds of prey can take on in alternative management practices.

Many of the birds from Pacific Northwest Raptors are trained to chase and clear variety of species, including gulls, starlings, dunlin, crows, robins, geese that pose strike risks at airports that have been built in their flight paths. Students discussed the broad effects of human release of metals, POPs and indiscriminate use of toxic chemicals and highlighted potential catastrophic changes, or trophic cascades, to ecosystems as a result of biomagnification. Biomagnification occurs when organisms at higher levels of food chains ingest too many toxic materials like pesticides or other chemicals.  An example provided was the use of painkillers for livestock in India and Nepal which resulted in the near-extinction of local vultures. While the painkillers were initially introduced for the well-being of the livestock, they remained in their system after they have passed away and are then consumed by the vultures who are unable to survive such a concentrated amount of the toxic chemicals in their system.  Without the vultures to digest and kill diseases that thrive on decaying flesh, it was instead consumed by other scavengers like feral dogs and rats, resulting in increased healthcare costs to fight rabies ($34 billion from 1993 to 2006).

Both the Rocky Point Bird Observatory and the Pacific Northwest Raptors organizations offer multiple hands-on educational experiences to the public and rely heavily on volunteers and donations. Please help spread awareness and feel free to reach out to support, participate or even meet our feathered guests and more! Contact rpbo@rpbo.org for general inquiries, and volunteer@rpbo.org for volunteering opportunities with the Rocky Point Observatory. 

If you are interested in our unique Bachelor of Business Administration program, please join us at our upcoming BBA webinar on February 5th. This webinar will provide you with information about the program, application requirements and the RRU student experience.