Birds of prey to visit science fair

Heather Merewood, pictured training an African collared raven how to paint, will lead an educational program about raptors as part of the annual Western Regional Science Fair at Western Carolina University.

Heather Merewood, pictured training an African collared raven how to paint, will lead an educational program about raptors as part of the annual Western Regional Science Fair at Western Carolina University.

An educational program by the Carolina Raptor Center will be the highlight of Western Carolina University’s Western Regional Science Fair, to be held Tuesday, Feb. 9, through Wednesday, Feb. 10, in the Ramsey Regional Activity Center.

More than 600 students attend the Western Regional Science Fair at WCU each year, with more than 200 students from 16 counties competing at the annual two-day event.

Heather Merewood, director of education for the Carolina Raptor Center, will present “Predators from the Sky” from 9:15 -10:15 a.m. during both days of competition. In addition to displaying various birds of prey, Merewood will discuss characteristics of birds of prey, ecological issues around raptors, unique features of each bird and more. She also will share the rescue story behind one of the raptors on display.

“Area teachers will want to plan to bring their classes to this special presentation,” said Kefyn Catley, science fair director and WCU associate professor of biology. “The program will be fun, inspirational and a great educational experience for students of all ages.”

The public may view students’ science projects from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. both days free of charge.

Students competing in the elementary division, grades three through five, will present their projects on Feb. 9 and older students, grades six through 12, will present on Feb. 10.

The first-and second-place students, as well as the elementary division winners, will have the chance to compete at the 23rd annual N.C. Science and Engineering Fair at Meredith College in Raleigh, in late March.

For more information about the WCU Western Regional Science Fair, visit http://sciencefair.wcu.edu or contact Catley at 828-227-3651.