The Homestead Resort spreads Wings of Wonder

From staff reports

Guests and club members at The Homestead will be treated to a series of free nature-based programs this summer with “The Wonders of Raptors” by Rebecca Lessard of Wings of Wonder. The programs will be offered in the Camp Tamarack amphitheatre.

Lessard will present a one-hour program that includes a basic introduction to Michigan raptors, an opportunity to meet some of our ambassador raptors up close and view a display of raptor artifacts 9wings, feathers, talons and pellets). Usually, 3-4 raptors attend each presentation and guests are encourages to bring their cameras to the program.

Programs will be offered:

• Wednesday, July 20 (7-8 p.m.)
• Thursday, August 4 (7-8 p.m.)
• Thursday, August 11(3-5 p.m.)

The final program will incorporate an activity where guests can build a nest box for three of Michigan’s smallest raptors: the eastern screech owl, the northern saw whet owl and the little American kestrel. The next boxes will later be mounted on a trail system on The Homestead’s property. Guests and visitors will be able to walk the trail throughout the year looking for these nest boxes and any current raptor residents.

Wings of Wonder is a non-profit raptor sanctuary located in nearby Empire, although it is not open to the public. Active since 1990, the organization’s primary mission is education. Wings of Wonder presents almost 150 educational programs annually throughout Michigan, reaching almost 10,000 people each year. Presentations are designed to foster appreciation, understanding, honor and respect for raptors and the important role these birds play in healthy ecosystems.

Wings of Wonder is also a raptor rehabilitation and release facility. Sick, injured and/or orphaned raptors are admitted for treatment, rehabilitation, and eventual release back to the wild. All raptors are seen and evaluated by a team of participating veterinarians. The primary goal with rehabilitation is to release healthy and strong raptors back into the wild.

Lessard has been a wildlife rehabilitator and educator since 1990. She currently holds rehabilitation permits from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the United States Fish & Wildlife Service and is also permitted to possess non-releasable raptors for use in educational programs. In 2009, she received the “Person of the Year” award from Boy Scout Pack 87 of Traverse City; in 2007, she received the Northern Michigan “Environmentalist of the Year” award in Education; and in 2001 was presented the President’s Award by the Michigan Audubon Society for her continuing work with raptors.

For more information on the Wings of Wonder, and Rebecca Lessard, visit

The Homestead is Northern Michigan’s largest waterfront resort community located in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore — a branch of the National Park Service. Along with its unmatched natural setting and miles of frontage on Lake Michigan and the Crystal River, the resort offers guest pools, tennis and golf in the summer; downhill and cross country skiing in the winter; and shops, restaurants, meeting centers and the luxurious new Spa Amira throughout all four seasons. For more information, visit or call (231) 334.5100.