Devotion

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There is no better word than devotion to describe what this man embodies. He has formed non-profit environmental organizations (Southwestern Wisconsin Audubon Club, Eagle Valley Environmentalists, The Eagle Foundation and Eagle Nature Foundation) to get the general public involved in the effort to save the bald eagle, devoting over 60 hours per week, year after year, as President and Executive Director of these organizations. For years he has devoted his own funds (losing over $300,000) to keep these organizations operating and their salaries paid each week; mortgaging his own home and several times almost losing it when money was tight. For 30 years he has operated 5 businesses in order to raise the money necessary to keep his own home and keep these organizations alive. He discovered the nation’s first known winter nighttime bald eagle roosting site away from the Mississippi, and then helped change the Southwestern Wisconsin Audubon Club to Eagle Valley Environmentalists to save this valley. Since then he has saved, or has helped to save, over 6,000 acres of bald eagle habitat up and down the Mississippi River. He organized the nation’s first Bald Eagle Days event, then making it an annual International event that was conducted all across the nation and in Canada. Since 1965 he has conducted up to 10 bald eagle bus tours per winter to educate the public about the bald eagle and why it should be saved.

Mr. Ingram’s personal mission is to keep the bald eagle flying free to be an inspiration to people all over the world. To achieve that goal he feels we need to keep as much of the natural environment as possible in a natural state. We need to understand what is happening to the environment and learn what is out there and what its needs are. To do this he has become a Master birder, a Master bird bander, a Master beekeeper and Wisconsin’s first Certified Field Trip Leader Trainer. He to this day is constantly studying the environment, especially to save the pollinators. To help educate the public about the environment, for over 20 years he organized, directed and taught adult and student nature camps both in Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada. He has served as an instructor at summer camps for both the National Audubon Society and the Federation of Ontario Naturalists. For years he has been an educator; teaching at high school, Junior College and University levels.

Through his devotion and dedication he has inspired many others to follow his example. Now each year across the nation there are close to 100 different Bald Eagle Days events being held. Students at his leadership camps have become leaders of their own, one of them for several years, was the Naturalist for the National Boy Scout Camp in New Mexico. Students from his Beginning Beekeeping Classes formed the Stateline Beekeepers Association which at one time was one of the largest associations in the state of Illinois. Some of his beekeeping students have been beekeepers for over 40 years, while some have become commercial beekeepers. Each year he has students, even doctors, telling him that he had been their best teacher in school, even coming back from the state of Oregon to thank him.

I have known Terry Ingram most of my life and ever since I have met him there are 3 things that he has devoted his life to: the preservation of the Eagle, protecting the environment and most importantly educating people about these subjects. Never have I been acquainted with someone so inspiring and knowledgeable about birds and nature as a unit. He can completely mesmerize a group of school children when describing the life of an eagle or completely dominate a courtroom with his expert testimony on major environment preservation cases. A truly amazing person.

The Eagle Nature Foundation is striving to learn what is happening to the eagle population and must do lots of research to even begin to understand the problem. The Foundation would like to expand the nest monitoring program and provide solid facts of the number of nests and exactly how many of the young survive to fledglings. This takes money! Migration patterns need to be studied in order to understand what effect expanding populations are having on the birds. This takes money! Information needs to be spread about the eagle and the environment. This takes money! $50,000 would go a long way towards helping to keep these valuable programs going.

Terry Ingram has spent his entire life in a quest to preserve our environment. His home in the country is a small wildlife sanctuary full of birds and many bee hives. He has a natural prairie next his home where he leads educational bird walks. His wife Nancy has an amazing green thumb that is evident everywhere. This is a man that surrounds himself with nature and welcomes all to share and learn. He is a strong member of the church. He truly deserves this award for the years he has given to preserve the environment for generations to come.

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