ACES’ Beloved Golden Eagle Passes after 38 Years of Service

In Magazine, MAY 2019 by ACESLeave a Comment

Eagle served as ACES’ most unique educator & guiding force for the protection of the natural world

Aspen, Colorado, May 20, 2019 — Yesterday, ACES’ Golden Eagle, its longest serving environmental educator, passed away of natural causes in her enclosure at Hallam Lake at the age of 38. Although the cause of death is not confirmed, it appears she passed away from a sudden illness.

In the summer of 1982, the Golden Eagle was found by hikers on the back side of Aspen Mountain. She was brought to a raptor rehabilitation center in Fort Collins, where she was treated for a broken wing and leg. She was then returned to Hallam Lake where she lived until her passing.

All educational birds of prey at ACES are non-releasable due to permanent injuries that prevent their return to the wild. While at ACES, these birds act as ambassadors for their species and remind us of the important role of top predators. Raptors like the Golden Eagle are indicators of strong and healthy ecosystems.

ACES’ Golden Eagle has graced the cover of Aspen’s local newspapers more than any other living being including Elizabeth Paepcke, John Denver, and Jerome Wheeler. She was one of the oldest captive Golden Eagles in the world.

ACES’ birds of prey program is conducted in regional schools, at Hallam Lake, and at other educational venues. ACES is a licensed rehabilitation center and has educational live possession permits through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

“This is not only a loss for ACES, but also a loss for our entire community,” said Chris Lane, CEO of ACES. “She reminded all of us of our collective and ongoing work to protect our environment and the natural world,” said Lane.

After decades of being her primary handler, ACES’ Naturalist Director, Jim Kravitz said, “When handling her, if you were timid she would walk all over you. If you were overconfident, she would rebuff you. She was intuitive and could read each individual human.”

Kravitz said, “The number of people who have connected with this bird up close and learned about predators and the role they play in ecosystems is unprecedented. She was in front of people daily, nearly 10,000 people a year for more than 30 years.”

ACES is preparing a way to honor her through a collection of stories and photos. Details will be forthcoming.

For additional information, please contact ACES’ CEO, Chris Lane or Naturalist Director, Jim Kravitz at 970.925.5756.  

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES), a non-partisan, non-profit organization, provides enriching environmental literacy programs for kids, teens, and adults as well as community and business leaders. With three locations between Aspen and Carbondale, ACES offers year-round programs focused on science, ecology, natural history, stewardship, forest health, sustainable agriculture, civic leadership, and more. ACES is a Charity Navigator 4-star non-profit, the highest level of ranking from America’s premier charity evaluator. For more information and a full listing of ACES offerings, visit