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For week ended February 27, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 29Feb00

Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

LDS Eagle helps eagle spread her wings
Deseret News 23Feb00 P2
By Douglas D. Palmer: Deseret News staff writer

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Shane Bench, a 15-year-old ninth-grader from Holladay, Utah has spearheaded an Eagle Scout service project that has given a new home to Nizhoni, a female golden eagle. Shane raised $2,023 in money and materials from neighbors, friends and members of the LDS Cottonwood 14th Ward, Big Cottonwood Stake. The 12 foot wide, 12 foot deep and 8 foot high mew houses the approximately-20 year-old Nizhoni, who sports a cap of golden brown feathers on the back of her head and chocolate brown feathers over the rest of her body.

"The bird has a 7-foot wing span, and the raptor enclosure she was housed in measured 7 feet by 8 feet. It was not large enough for the l4l 1/2 pound bird," said Sharon Dale, head trainer and bird show manager at the aviary. The eagle was brought to the aviary l8 years ago after she was shot in Casper, Wyoming. Nizohi was an adult when she was shot.

"Shane's project has provided the aviary with an incredible, beautiful enclosure. I gave him a list of the things that were needed but that might be difficult to get and also would be expensive. I also gave him a list of the things that would be acceptable. But Shane (and others who helped him) picked up the best materials. To me this indicates that Shane is a very conscientious young man who wanted to do the best possible job," Dale said.

Shane received support from his father and former Scoutmaster, Steven D. Bench. His mother, Rachel and his brother, Steven J. Bench, l6, along with Scoutmaster Ken Holm were among those helping. Steven Bench, Shane's brother, who had a seperate service project that invloved the Salt Lake County Library System, also received his Eagle badge on February 13.

The enclosure was partially built at the Bench residence and then completed and assembled at the aviary. It is equipped with easy-to-clean surfaces and allows Nizhoni a clear eagles-eye view. Dale, who formerly worked six years at the National Eagle Foundation, said, "very few take on a project of this magnitude."


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