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 looking for a partner to re-home their birds, and take over their educational programming. The Lagoon Foundation wishes to do so. 


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. We will work together with The Raptor Institute during the habitat build, licensing, training, educational offerings and transition for 6 months – a year to provide these animals with the utmost care. Expansion slated for Summer 2021.

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 Giving Levels & Benefits are Below: 

  • Contributing Donor, $100 — Raptor T-shirt 

  • Ridge Donor, $250 — Name on Giving Plaque of One Habitat & T-shirt 

    • Habitats Include: Peregrine Patio, Kestrel Korner & Owl Island 

  • Flight Donor, $500 — Name on Giving Plaque of All Habitats & T-shirt

  • Food Supply Donor, $1,000 — Adopt Food Supply for One Year of One Raptor; special plaque on associated habitat & 2          T-shirts

  • Food Freezer Donor, $2,500 — Adopt the Food Freezer; special plaque on each habitat & 4 t-shirts

  • Habitat Donor $5,000 — Adopt An Entire Habitat: Naming Rights to Habitat (choose either Kestrel Korner or Peregrine Patio) & 6 T-shirts (example: Smith Family Kestrel Korner) 

  • Owl Island Donor, $10,000 — Adopt Owl Island: Naming Rights to Owl Island 10 T-shirts 

  • $20,000 — Adopt the Entire Expansion: RESERVED The Malk Nature Fund Raptor Ridge on Cannon

  • Soar Donor, Other Amounts are always accepted and please let us know how we can properly recognize you for your giving level if not here, by contacting

Below are the amounts of Donors We Need at Each Giving Level: 

  • Soar Donor - 1, Reserved Malk Nature Fund

  • Owl Island Donor - 1

  • Habitat Donors - 2

  • Food Freezer Donor - 1

  • Food Supply Donors - 4

  • Flight Donors - 10

  • Ridge Donors - 20

  • Contributing Donors - 35

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


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The Discovery Center is open:

Monday - Saturday 




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1580 Cannon Road,

Carlsbad, CA 92008

(760) 804-1969


©2020 Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation. All rights reserved.

The Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; EIN 33-0411888.

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