The Raptor Education Foundation
Over 4,000 years ago raptors began to be used to help put food on the table via the art and science of falconry. Spiritually, raptors symbolize the highest aspirations of purpose, power, clarity, and focus. Eagles, for instance, are mentioned in virtually all of the great religious texts. Today, scientists use raptors as barometers of environmental health. Drastic declines in the populations of bald eagles and peregrine falcons, for example, pointed to the larger problems posed by habitat disturbance and destruction, environmental toxins, and shootings.
The Raptor Education Foundation (“REF”) uses these magnificent birds as ambassadors for the vast "silent majority" of living creatures: the diversity of plants and animals that creates and supports human life. The raptors in REF's care are permanently impaired, unable to survive any longer in the wild. Instead, they have found a new home and new roles as educators and nature’s ambassadors.
The REF is supported by memberships, product sales, and donations from individuals and corporations. In 1999 REF obtained a contract with the State of Colorado for a specialty license plate exclusively for its members—the only environmentally-focused license plate issued in Colorado. Even before the plate went into production, the State reneged on the contract and so REF (with the help of Fairfield and Woods) was forced to take the State to court. Ultimately, REF won, obtaining a permanent injunction (requiring the State to honor REF’s contract) and monetary damages. Then, in 2009 the State attempted a different end-run around the contract, this time via legislation. REF again asked for Fairfield and Woods’ help in forcing the State to honor REF’s rights. In 2013, REF prevailed again. REF’s contract from 1999 is still intact and the specialty license plates have remained its top membership attractor.
For more information about the plate or REF, click here.