AHLF and The Raptor Institute

AHLF was founded 30 years ago and exists to serve our great community in providing environmental education, conservation and access to the lagoon and the surrounding trails. Our environmental education is creating a new generation of people with reverence, joy and appreciation for the land, the water and nature. We are embarking on a new educational expansion, Raptor Ridge on Cannon Road.


Our esteemed Academy of Environmental Stewardship program has featured the Raptor Institute (a local San Diego environmental non-profit) for the past 9 years. The Raptor Institute has been a valued partner as an edutainer bringing live birds of prey into our 3rd grade adaptions program, as well as many events, birthday parties and outreaches we have held at the Foundation. The Raptor Institute is looking to re-home their birds at the Discovery Center. 

About the Raptor Institute

Founded in 2011, The Raptor Institute is a federally recognized 501(c)3 California non-profit corporation based in San Diego. They focus their education and research on raptor species native to California and the desert southwest. It is their goal that through community outreach and education they will help to expose people to the wonders of nature in their local communities. The respect for nature that is fostered among audiences will directly impact their desire to protect local habitat and wildlife in and around their community.

Take Flight with Us

Due to the recent changes and restrictions in the educational world, The Raptor Institute is unable to continue on with its highly regarded in person outreach programs and is partnering with the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation to re-home 4 of their birds, and take over their educational programming. 


By bringing 4 raptors onsite to the Discovery Center (a Peregrine Falcon, Great Horned Owl, American Kestrel, and a Western Screech Owl) we will be able to provide a new concentrated form of education around these magnificent birds of prey with the goals of:

  • Promoting community Conservation efforts

  • Providing Education to the public about raptors

  • Producing the Inspiration needed to protect our environment

These animal ambassadors will be used in education and outreach programs, exhibits onsite, and tools to teach about the importance of their species and provide the motivation to protect them. This expansion will also create a competitive internship program in the field of wildlife rehabilitation, care, education and animal keeping for the budding zoologists in our community and school districts. The Lagoon Foundation will become licensed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to use non-releasable raptors for educational purposes as all of these birds have some form of disability that prevents them from being released back into the wild.


Current Updates (February 2021):  

  • The custom habitats have been ordered and are set to be delivered late March - Mid April. Volunteers are prepping and preparing the location sites with the Lagoon Foundation's and Raptor Institutes direction. 

  • Our Program Lead, Emily Watts is undergoing weekly hands-on training and research with the Raptor Institute. 

  • Soon we will begin virtual educational opportunities with the Raptor Institute's coordination. 


This organization was formed out of a respect and awe of migratory birds, especially birds of prey. Their motto is "Conservation through Education and Inspiration."


Education is crucial to our ability to create and foster environmental awareness and stewardship amongst the general public. As a nonprofit funded solely by community gifts, memberships, rentals, grants and our school programs, we are now embarking on visioning our future and invite you to invest in our expansion of Raptor Ridge on Cannon Road. 

Our initial goal in 2020 during our End of Year and Giving Tuesday Campaigns was a $60,000 goal. Currently on this endeavor, (February 2021) we have just reached this goal, not including the $20,000 from our reserved Title Sponsor. We have expanded our sponsorship opportunities past the build out and initial construction to now include our educational programming. Every donation past our goal will go towards the long-term and annual costs our new exhibit will require, and the ongoing educational opportunities and outreach that will ensue.

2021 Sponsorship/Giving Opportunities
2020 Sponsorship/Giving Opportunities










Group Tours (when safely able to do so) of the expansion will be offered to the Contributing Donors up to the Flight Donors. Private Tours will be offered to our Food Supply Donors to our Soar Donor when completed.

If you would prefer to contribute by check, you may mail a check to: 

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation

1580 Cannon Road

Carlsbad, CA 92008

*checks can be made payable to Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation or simply AHLF



Giving Tuesday Goal - $60,000

Fixed Costs: 

1. Housing Materials: $18,000

2. Housing Installation: $1,000

3. Enclosure Perching Materials: $300

4. Enclosure Perching Installation: $300

5. Raptor Handling Equipment:

  • Gloves: $400

  • Leashes/Jesses/Anklets: $300

  • Hoods: $250

  • Transport Boxes: $950

  • Total Equipment: $1900

6. 3-5 cubic ft chest freezer: $250

7. Signage for Raptor Exhibits: $3000

Total Fixed Costs: $24,750

Variable Costs on an Annual Basis:

1. Raptor Food: $2000

2. State & Federal Permits: $860

3. Routine Vet Care: $250

4. Feeding/Cleaning Care by AHLF Employee with Volunteer/Intern Support: $6,000

Total Variable Annual Costs: $8,250


Training and Start Up Costs: 

1. Raptor Institute Services 6-12 month contract as needed. Estimate 425 hrs at $60 per hour: $27,000

7. Raptor Institute Services after initial contract as needed. Estimate 10 hrs per year at $100 per hour: $1,000

Total Start-Up Costs: $28,000

Download our Raptor Ridge Info Brochure 

If you know of anyone who might be interested in supporting this project please feel free to share this webpage, materials and brochure.


Whether it be possible grantors, foundations or individuals - We need a flock of support to take flight!

If you’d like the Lagoon Foundation to contact anyone in possible support, send materials, set up a distanced tour or learn more, please contact