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Monthly Meeting & Lecture “Barn Owls – Nature’s Mousetrap” by Dr. Richard Raid

Dr. Richard Raid and juvenile barn owl

Monthly Meeting and Lecture

“Barn Owls – Nature’s Mousetrap” by Dr. Richard Raid, Professor/Plant Pathologist and Manager of the Barn Owl Project, Everglades Research and Education Center, University of Florida

Date and Time

Tuesday, February 6, 7:00 p.m. meeting & lecture.

Program Overview

Come hear Dr. Raid present “Barn Owls – Nature’s Mousetrap” His exciting presentation will provide insights about how barn owls provide a natural and non-poisonous rodent control measure for Florida’s valuable agriculture.

In accepting the Commissioner’s Agricultural Environmental Leadership Award, Dr. Raid recounted that, while volunteering at his child’s elementary school, he saw the need for agricultural awareness. So, he started Student SOAR — Sharing Our Agricultural Roots — a school gardening program. His passion for teaching and the outdoors inspires students and instills in them an appreciation of the importance of agriculture.

“My original intent was simply to establish some gardens at schools so that kids could actually see how vegetables are grown and where their food came from”, Raid said. “Agricultural awareness is very important to me.”

Never anticipating the overwhelming response from students and teachers, he quickly found the program blossom beyond simple gardens. Now more than 70 schools throughout Florida have SOAR programs, most of which were established by Raid himself. Agricultural awareness promotes environmental awareness.

“We’ve earned awards because of Dr. Raid’s input”, said Kathy Picano, a teacher of gifted fifth-grade students at H.L. Johnson Elementary School in Royal Palm Beach. “My children have opened their eyes to the environment. They want to recycle. They want to help, and they also want to find out more about careers in botany, zoology and environmental studies. I have many in college now; they come back to visit, and they share that the majors they are pursuing are because of Dr. Raid.”

“I think it’s important that our youth — our future voters, the people that are going to be making the decisions in this state — have a connection to agriculture”, Raid said. “They need to realize its importance, not just from a food standpoint, but also from an environmental standpoint.”

A tireless educator, he has volunteered thousands of hours. Working in the schools, with the Boy Scouts or the Audubon Society, it’s important to Raid to let people know that agriculture and the environment can not only co-exist, they benefit one another.

About Richard Raid

A native of Pennsylvania, Dr. Raid was hired as a plant pathologist at the University of Florida’s Everglades Research and Education Center in Belle Glade in 1986, where he has developed integrated strategies for managing plant diseases. A naturalist, Raid has actively promoted the use of barn owls for sustainable rodent control in the Everglades Agricultural Area, south of Lake Okeechobee. The program is known as the University of Florida Barn Owl Project and is responsible for some of the highest barn owl densities in North America. Capturing the attention and imagination of the public, Raid and his barn owls have been featured on PBS NATURE, CNN, and National Geographic’s webpage.

Dr. Raid is a popular and captivating lecturer. We invite everyone to come enjoy this informative program!

More Meeting Information

Also at the meeting, our expert, Clive Pinnock, will speak about the February Bird of the Month, American Bittern.

Meeting and program are free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for light refreshments, in rooms 101 and 102 at FAU Pine Jog Environmental Education Center, 6301 Summit Blvd (near Jog Road) in West Palm Beach. We look forward to seeing you there!

Program Location

If you missed previous programs, you can view many of them online.