If you’re looking for a way to take some amazing photographs all while supporting a good cause, then this is the place! Raptor Inc. provides photographers in the Ohio Valley region with just such an opportunity. What is RAPTOR Inc.? It’s a bird rescue and rehabilitation organization based in southern Ohio and northern Kentucky. I recently had an opportunity to take pictures of RAPTOR Inc.’s birds for their 2019 calendar, and I must say, this is a can’t-miss event. Raptor Inc. has a long history of conservation work, and there are several great ways to get involved, take some pictures, and help with the rehabilitation process of wild birds. Let’s take a deeper look at the things that RAPTOR Inc. does to help conservation efforts, and at the history of this organization, and then I’ll show you how to get involved and maybe even schedule a trip to take some photographs of the birds in RAPTOR Inc.’s care.
About RAPTOR Inc.
Raptor Inc. got its start in the early 1970s with two enterprising conservationists, Scott Adamson, and Jim Williams. Originally, the raptor rehab group was called the “Southwest Ohio Raptor Rehabilitation Clinic,” and from day one, the group was dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of injured wild raptors. During those early years, the rehabilitation group worked out of a garage near a nature preserve, running on the donations of their patrons and on the donated time of veterinarians who helped treat the birds. It was during this early period that the idea for “ambassadors” was born. At RAPTOR Inc., ambassadors are non-releasable birds who go on to become part of the organization’s educational programming.
From these humble beginnings, RAPTOR Inc. went on to rehabilitate thousands of birds, and their organization has expanded to cover a large geographical area in southern Ohio and northern Kentucky. Today, RAPTOR Inc.’s main facility is in Milford, Ohio, next to the Cincinnati Nature Center.
And what does the future hold for RAPTOR Inc.? This organization has some big plans, to say the least. The group plans to expand conservation efforts and contribute to research programs with other organizations, and there are goals in place to enlarge current rehabilitation facilities. On top of that, Raptor Inc. is always expanding its rich educational program, and as it does so, the organization provides a multitude of volunteer opportunities for community service-oriented people.
How You Can Support RAPTOR Inc. with Your Photography
Because RAPTOR Inc. is a non-profit organization, its funds primarily come from donations and the proceeds of the many events the organization holds throughout the year. One of these events is the Ohio Valley Camera Club photo shoot. This is an amazing opportunity to get outdoors and take some gorgeous photographs of the many avian ambassadors that are part of RAPTOR Inc.’s educational programs.
In order to take part in these shoots, you’ll need to become a member of the OVCC, then sign up for the raptor photo shoot. There is a small cost to participate in one of these photo shoots and that money goes directly to helping injured birds. The shoots are normally held in late summer or early fall, and space is limited to around 10 photographers per shoot, so to get in on this, it’s best to register well in advance.
When you attend one of the raptor shoots, it is recommended that you bring along a tripod and telephoto lenses to get the best captures possible. However, photographers will be able to get within 10 or 15 feet of the avian ambassadors, so photography with shorter lenses is definitely possible. This is a rare opportunity to get up close to some of nature’s most beautiful creatures — and you’ll have the chance to learn all about raptors, courtesy of RAPTOR Inc.’s knowledgeable staff.
Last, attendees of the raptor shoots will have the opportunity to compete in RAPTOR Inc.’s annual photography contest. Each year, 13 images are selected for a calendar, so if one of your images is selected for the calendar, you’ll get a complimentary copy as well as image credits. RAPTOR Inc. sells these calendars to help fund their operation, so your photos will be used for a good cause. Get your 2019 calendar, here.
Other Ways to Get Involved
Of course, the OVCC photo shoot isn’t the only way to take pictures of raptors, nor is it the only way to support a good cause. RAPTOR Inc. hosts dozens of events throughout the year, and at many of these events, you’ll have ample opportunities to learn about birds and take pictures of the ambassadors. In the fall, RAPTOR Inc. hosts open houses at their facility, so you can visit, tour the grounds, take part in educational programs and of course, take a few photos while you’re there.
There are also opportunities for private tours or tours based on schedule, which are great opportunities for photographers and non-photographers alike. To find out more or to schedule time with the birds, you’ll want to contact RAPTOR Inc. directly for more information.
RAPTOR Inc. offers a variety of public educational programs and presentations, too. These programs are a goldmine of information about birds, and the proceeds from the presentations go directly to supporting RAPTOR Inc. You can also volunteer to work with RAPTOR Inc. Volunteer needs change from month to month, and jobs vary — anything from helping with rehabilitation to leading educational workshops or public speaking events — but if you check their website, you’ll find an updated listing of current needs.
And don’t forget about donations! This is a large source of income for RAPTOR Inc., so if you wish to help out, you can either volunteer to sponsor a raptor or you can donate directly to the organization.
Opportunities to create beautiful images while helping support important conservation work are few and far between — and this is one of the best opportunities in the area. Check out RAPTOR Inc.’s website to learn more about the organization and how you can get involved.