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World Owl Trust - leading the World in Owl Conservation
Sunday 23rd November, 2014

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A Very Special Day
Official Opening of Brookes-Edwards Aviary

Opening of the Brookes-Edwards Avairy

Sunday 3rd September was a very special day at the World Owl Centre - but to be honest it had been a long time in coming. Five years in fact!

It all began in the summer of 2001 when Louise Edwards and Paul Brookes got married at Muncaster Castle and instead of the normal wedding gifts, asked their guests to make donations to the World Owl Trust. What a magnificent gesture. When they came again to present the cheque, we put our heads together to decide how best we could use the money to commemorate their special day while at the same time doing something really worthwhile for owl conservation. We decided on a 'designer' aviary in the Victorian (now 'Owl') Garden for what we hope one day will be the first Philippine Eagle Owls to come to Britain to spearhead our conservation-breeding programme for this seriously endangered bird.

Our first task was to design the aviary, decide exactly where to place it in order to best pass on the importance of this initiative, and then to get permission from the Pennington family and Council Planning Department to erect it. We fondly envisaged having it ready for the 2002 season. What innocents we were! Time dragged on and serious staffing problems and the aftermath of the Foot and Mouth outbreak saw 2002 and 2003 disappear without much progress. I am sure Louise and Paul, not to mention their generous guests, must by this stage have wondered whether they had done the right thing in making their donation. It was very embarrassing. However, bless them, they were patience personified!

Work finally began in 2004 and was finally completed in the winter of 2005! A large sign proclaimed it to be the 'Brookes – Edwards Aviary' and a pair of Buffy (Malay) Fish Owls were housed in it to 'test the water' – they being the nearest thing to the Philippine Eagle Owls we really want to take over the premises. They have thrived, and we are now happy that all is ready for our 'special' birds to come and live in our 'special' aviary bought for us by two 'very special' people.

On the occasion of our AGM we invited Louise and Paul to come and 'cut the ribbon'. It has been a long wait for them, and we are very grateful for their fortitude in waiting so long for completion. We also thank them for travelling up for the ceremony and making this a day to remember for the Trust.

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The World Owl Trust is a member of BIAZA
The World Owl Trust is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA). The Trust relies on a dedicated membership, visitors, donations and legacies.
The World Owl Trust is a member of EAZA

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