Raptor center in Somerset expanding

SOMERSET, Ky. (AP) - A raptor rehabilitation facility in Somerset is expanding to include a nature center thanks to the hard work and dedication of a group of high school students.

Raptor Rehabilitation Center director Francis Carter, who teaches at Southwestern High School, told the Commonwealth Journal that students who have participated in the raptor program raised the $250,000 necessary to start construction on the nature center (http://bit.ly/ql9NVU). They began raising funds a decade ago.

"They have done a lot of hard work to get it (the center) where it is today," Carter said. "It's going to be something we've needed for a long time."

The center at Southwestern High School opened 19 years ago with two cages and a small building to offer aid to injured birds of prey. Over the years, it has expanded to include multiple holding areas, walking trails and a presentation area.

The nature center will offer computers, a classroom, an area to clean dishes, bathrooms and a lab. It will be called the Liberty Nature Center, after a bald eagle that died recently.

All current students and alumni who have been involved with the center were invited to a groundbreaking ceremony last weekend. Carter broke ground, but then invited alumni to also turn dirt in honor of the dedication they've shown through the years.

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