American Eagle Foundation

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American Eagle Foundation
American Eagle Foundation logo.jpg
Abbreviation AEF
Formation 1985[1]
Type NGO
Legal status Foundation
Purpose Humane care for Eagles
Headquarters Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Coordinates 35°48′32″N 83°32′18″W / 35.808915°N 83.538349°W / 35.808915; -83.538349
Region served
more than 100
Official language
Funder & President
Al Louis Cecere[2]
Revenue (2015)
Expenses (2015) $1,410,103[3]
Bald eagle at Eagle Mountain Sanctuary in Dollywood theme park
AEF Challenger takes flight during the Bald Eagle Recovery and Final Delisting ceremony held at the Jefferson Memorial, June 28, 2007

American Eagle Foundation is a United States non-profit organization dedicated to bald eagle rehabilitation, recovery, and breeding programs.


In 1985, Al Louis Cecere founded the American Eagle Foundation. The American Eagle Foundation (AEF) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to care for, restore and protect the USA’ s living symbol of freedom, the Bald Eagle, and other birds of prey. The AEF is celebrating its 30th year of carrying out its mission through Education, Repopulation, Conservation, & Rehabilitation. Relying solely on private and corporate contributions, it has helped fund and support numerous eagle restoration and protection efforts across the USA.

They expanded to offering full-service rehab care and facilities for the eagle. In 1991, the American Eagle Foundation began using permanently disabled eagles in their care for education programs. Since then, they have educated millions of people throughout the United States on conservation of the eagle. Today, the AEF operates the largest eagle breeding and education center in the United States. Working closely with Dolly Parton's Dollywood Company, he has established a multimillion-dollar United States Eagle Center located in Pigeon Forge, TN (operated by the AEF) and has raised over $17 million to fund the eagle cause.


The American Eagle Foundation is a full-service rehabilitation program specializing in bald eagles but also houses and rehabilitates other birds of prey. They offer rehab and release programs for injured eagles as well as housing and care for permanently disabled birds. Their facilities are located and sponsored by Dollywood and housed on the entertainment park's grounds in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

From 2000 through 2010, the American Eagle Foundation has released 101 captive-hatched and/or orphaned bald eaglets from its artificial nesting tower located on Douglas Lake in Dandridge, Tennessee. Many of these young birds were captive-hatched by non-releasable permanently disabled parent eagles at the American Eagle Foundation's Dollywood-based raptor facility. The American Eagle Foundation has participated in the release of hundreds of other bald eaglets in other locations in cooperation with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Free flights[edit]

The American Eagle Foundation is well known for using some of the eagles in its care to perform free-flights during the "Star Spangled Banner". The American Eagle Foundation found that people responded well to the sight of an eagle flying from one trainer to another. Since 1991, AEF eagles have performed over 8,000 free flights ranging from venues such as school gyms, all the way to Super Bowl and World Series games. Named in honor of the lost space shuttle crew, Challenger has performed free-flights at hundreds of events.


  1. ^ "About the American Eagle Foundation" Retrieved March 17, 2011.
  2. ^ "American Eagle Foundation - Board, Staff, Advisory Team". Retrieved March 17, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "American Eagle Foundation" (PDF). Foundation Center. 9 August 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2017. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°48′32″N 83°32′18″W / 35.808915°N 83.538349°W / 35.808915; -83.538349