By Samantha Pidde
Herald Staff Writer
THOMSON, Ill. —
Pam Steinhaus, U.S. Fish and Wildlife visitor services manager of Sterling, Ill., is preparing for this year’s bald eagle watch.
The 29th annual bald eagle watch will be Saturday, Jan. 5, in Clinton and Fulton, Ill. Attendees will be able to watch for eagles from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Lock and Dam 13 in Fulton. A variety of programs and exhibits will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Clinton Community College, 1000 Lincoln Blvd. Pam said the bald eagle watch is a wonderful event.
“It’s not to make a few bucks. It’s basically to educate people,” she said. “It’s just a great opportunity to educate people about our national emblem.”
Pam added that this is the best time and place to see bald eagles. She said people are blessed to be able to see an eagle. With her job, Pam sees bald eagles daily. However, she said she still watches them in awe and admires their majesty.
Pam has been in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for approximately 28 years. She has always loved animals and currently lives in rural Sterling with horses, a dog and cats. Pam also enjoys the outdoors and hates sitting still. She said she enjoys all of the different duties that go with her job.
When she first started with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, she spent a lot of time outside. For six years she worked at Union Slough in north central Iowa before moving to the Savanna, Ill., district. She has been in this area for almost 15 years, with almost 13 of them being in the wildlife refuge facility at 7071 Riverview Road, Thomson.
“I’ve been blessed to find a career that I love.”
Pam never expected to be in her current position with the organization. She loves the flexibility and variety of her work. She spends time working with visitors and planning events. She will go outside and see what’s going on at the refuge.
“You don’t get bored,” Pam said.
Pam works with members of Clinton Community College and the Corps of Engineers in Thomson to plan the bald eagle watch. They start planning early so they don’t run out of time.
“Working with the team that we have, we all have our jobs and we all do it. Everything just usually goes together pretty smooth,” Pam said.
Pam said this year’s event has a good line up. A variety of non-profit organizations will set up exhibits at Clinton Community College. Pam said this usually includes exhibits from the Clinton County Conservation Board, Bickelhaupt Arboretum, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Master Gardeners and other organizations.
Pam is happy there will be a bald eagle at the program. The Wildlife Prairie State Park will have a live birds of prey program at 10 a.m. and at 1 p.m. Rudy Vallejo, a member of the Kickapoo Tribe of Kansas, will perform a Native American dance honoring the bald eagle at 11:15 a.m.
For more information concerning the eagle watch, call the Thomson park rangers at (815) 259-3628 or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (815) 273-2732.