About the American Eagle Foundation

The American Eagle Foundation (AEF) is a not-for-profit organization of concerned citizens and professionals founded in 1985 to develop and conduct bald eagle and environmental recovery programs in the United States and to assist private, state and federal projects that do the same. Our goal is to fully restore the bald eagle, the U.S.A.’s National Symbol, to America’s lands and skies and to “Build A Nest-Egg” for their future care and protection. We are headquartered at the Dollywood entertainment park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Our primary contributor to this blog is Bob Hatcher, Nongame & Endangered Wildlife Coordinator for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency from 1978 – 2001.

His achievements include:

  • Tennessee Wildlife Professional of the Year, The Wildlife Society
  • National Bald Eagle Person of the year, Eagle Nature Foundation
  • Jane Whitson Conservation Award (Tennessee), The Nature Conservancy
  • Distinguished Service Award, Tennessee Ornithological Society
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Tennessee Chapter, The Wildlife Society.

Bob led the Tennessee Eagle Program from 1980 – 2000 and served on the Southeastern Bald Eagle Recovery Team from 1997-2001. He has written many authoritative publications on eagles. He is currently an eagle consultant with the American Eagle Federation, responding to email questions from viewers. He is also the leader of a Bald Eagle Grant Advisory Team, advising AEF concerning its administration of an endowment fund from the Bald Eagle Commemorative Act of 2004.

The American Eagle Foundation welcomes Bob Hatcher as the Primary Contributor to our Eagle Blog.


2 Responses to About the American Eagle Foundation

  1. Teresa B Hiatt says:

    Interested in Challenger. When he practices in Neyland Stadium, can the public watch. We live in NC and will be in Knoxville August 5-7 or 8. We will be there for a multi-state youth foodball
    kick-off. What a treat it would be if all these young men could watch this majestic bird fly. Most have never seen an Eagle much less seen their massive wing-span in flight. A thought to make these boys aware of our National bird. Thanks, Teresa

    • Bob Hatcher says:

      During the summer months of June – August, Challenger’s feathers are molting, meaning that some feathers are gradually being replaced. During that time, the American Eagle Foundation (AEF) does not fly Challenger at public events because he loses some flight maneuverability. However, AEF gives him some exercise by flying him on a limited basis almost daily in the long hall of AEF’s bird barn. Depending on the growth status of Challenger’s feathers at the time, AEF sometimes begins rehearsing him at the University of Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium as early as the 16th or 17th of August.. UT normally does not let others (except for their ground crew) in the stadium during Challenger’s rehearsals, except for very limited cases of persons under AEF supervision.

      AEF usually flies Challenger in Neyland Stadium during one University of Tennessee football game each fall. Al Cecere, AEF President and Challenger’s chief handler, provides mentions some of Challenger’s flight schedule information on Challenger’s Facebook. However, he hesitates to broadly announce Challenger’s scheduled appearances too far in advance due to the potential for schedule change and other factors. One such change in schedule was made for a University of Tennessee game in 2010.

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