In November 2017, SCS Engineers’ John Jones made an unexpected discovery while working at the Okeechobee Landfill owned by Waste Management; he found an injured American bald eagle. With the help of friends from Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (AWRC), the young eagle was rescued and started recovering at AWRC’s facility. No one knows how the eagle was injured, but several staff members had observed three eagles earlier that morning engaging in what appeared to be territorial combat. The staff at AWRC decided to name the bird “JJ” after his rescuer, who, as you can imagine, was delighted. JJ grew and was transported to the Treasure Coast Wildlife Center for continued treatment and rehabilitation culminating with exercise conditioning in a flight cage.
On Saturday, May 27, community residents, staff from Waste Management and SCS Engineers, along with other bird lovers and the media gathered to release JJ back into the wild and to raise funds for local wildlife centers. JJ was released at Waste Management’s certified wildlife habitat at Okeechobee Landfill, which dedicates 2,000 of its 4,100 acres as a habitat certified by the National Wildlife Habitat Council. All proceeds from Saturday’s eagle release event, dubbed “Flight Back to Freedom”, were donated to Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and the Treasure Coast Wildlife Center.
Event attendees said it was inspiring to see JJ take flight. They watched until he disappeared into a distant tree line. “The event was fantastic!” stated Myles Clewner of SCS. “John gave a rousing speech, Waste Management sponsored a fun event, we raised money for two wonderful organizations, and JJ promptly took flight after the cage was opened.”