Ramstein students dive into Earth Day

Story and photos by Airman 1st Class Tryphena Mayhugh 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Sixth-grade students from Ramstein Middle School pet a peregrine falcon as a part of a Falconer Show presented for Earth Day, April 16th, 2015, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. A hood was placed over the falcon’s head so that it would not be frightened by the crowd and attempt to fly off. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Tryphena Mayhugh)
Sixth-grade students from Ramstein Middle School pet a peregrine falcon as a part of a Falconer Show presented for Earth Day, April 16th, 2015, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. A hood was placed over the falcon’s head so that it would not be frightened by the crowd and attempt to fly off. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Tryphena Mayhugh)
The 86th Airlift Wing Flight Safety Office provided a Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard demonstration April 16 for Ramstein Middle School students.

The show was one of several events for the sixth-grade students leading up to Earth Day, April 22. The demonstrations included education on how the peregrine falcon catches and eats food and is used to prevent birds from interfering with aircraft as they take off and land on the flight line.

Earth Day is celebrated each year around the world to spread awareness of the needs of the environment and to educate people on what they can do to help.

The bird’s handler, an 86th AW Flight Safety Office falconer, presented two falcons for the demonstration, bringing each one around for the students to see up close and touch, while educating them on basic facts about the animal.


“I think the students are brought to see the falcons each year for Earth Day because it makes them more aware of the environment,” said Michaela Ivy, 86th AW Flight Safety Office falconer assistant. “They learn about these birds and how they depend upon the environment and perhaps are instilled with the importance of taking care of it.”

As mankind progresses towards the future, that progress sometimes can take a toll on the environment. Creating an interest in the next generation to take care of the earth is a part of what Earth Day strives to teach.

“I think it has a positive impact on the students, since it builds an appreciation for the falcons as well as the environment,” said Johanette Scott, RMS science teacher.
A few students were selected to don a large leather glove to hold and feed a falcon, while all the
other children crowded, trying to get the best view.

“I think many kids have a fascination with birds, and they always leave in amazement,” Ivy said. “They are full of interest during the demonstration, and they always have questions about the birds.”

Each student was given a falcon feather as a souvenir of the day, and perhaps to serve as a reminder about what they learned. The hope behind the BASH demonstration was to peak the students’ interest in nature and the environment all around them.

“I know when I was first learning about birds, everywhere I went I would look around and see other kinds and have a curiosity about them as well,” Ivy said. “I hope that seeing the show has opened the children’s eyes to the nature around them.”

The BASH demonstration strove to excite young minds by providing an up-close and personal look into the peregrine falcon and showing them how they can help save Airmen on the flight line on

A peregrine falcon from the 86th Airlift Wing flight safety office Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard program eats his reward after diving to catch the meat out of the air as a part of the Falconer Show presented for Earth Day, April 16, 2015, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The show was performed for sixth-grade students from the Ramstein Middle School.
A peregrine falcon from the 86th Airlift Wing flight safety office Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard program eats his reward after diving to catch the meat out of the air as a part of the Falconer Show presented for Earth Day, April 16, 2015, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The show was performed for sixth-grade students from the Ramstein Middle School.
Ramstein.