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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.”
On Saturday, November 12, SCS Engineers Superintendent John Jones made an unexpected discovery at work. During his CQA inspection at the Okeechobee Landfill, John discovered an injured American bald eagle on the floor of a cell in the project area. With the help of friends from Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (AWRC), the young eagle was rescued and is now recovering at Arnold’s facility.
No one knows how the eagle became injured, but three eagles were observed earlier in the morning in what appeared to be territorial combat. The young bird had the good luck of being found by John and according to Sue Arnold, the founder of AWRC, “is on his way to a full recovery and will be released back into the wild.”
When asked if the eagle has been named, Sue Arnold said they don’t usually name the rescued animals because their ultimate goal is to rescue, rehabilitate, and return recovered animals to their natural habitat. She suggested, “call him ‘JJ’ since John took the time and effort to help us rescue the eagle, which is awesome.”
The south-central Okeechobee landfill, run by Waste Management, provides local businesses and industry with professional disposal services that are safe and meet the highest standards for environmental compliance. The Landfill is a certified wildlife habitat as well. The site is certified by the National Wildlife Habitat Council. Okeechobee dedicates 2,000 of its 4,100 acres as a wildlife habitat that will soon become home again to the young eagle JJ.
Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Inc., is a non-profit 501(c) educational-based wildlife care facility. The Center is dedicated to bringing people and wildlife together to develop a community awareness of the value of Florida wildlife.
We’ll keep you posted when JJ’s release into the wildlife habitat is planned.