Texas FFA News  
Whitehouse FFA Member Exhibits Passion for Falconry    
Friday, November 15, 2019 | Author: Lani Pieper, Texas FFA News Staff

Whitehouse FFA member Alyssa Hurley’s Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE) has provided her the opportunity to develop an extensive knowledge of birds of prey through her apprenticeship with a mastered licensed falconer.

“I started this journey by joining local falconers on hunts and participating in community outreach activities to learn more,” said Hurley. “After deciding I wanted to follow through with my plans to be a falconer, I passed the necessary tests to obtain my licenses.”

Falconry’s origins date back to the third millennium BC, and the role of falconers in conservation has become increasingly appreciated in the United States.

“Falconry is traditionally used to catch [vermin] with a bird of prey, but it has now developed agricultural uses as well, such as livestock protection, crop guarding and abatement,” said Hurley. “The practice is something farmers are starting to turn to, seeing as pesticides and other forms of land protection are starting to prove ineffective.”

Additionally, her work with the birds allows her to advocate for the animals and give back to her community. She is involved with everything from helping property owners with pest-management to educating Boy Scout troops and schools.

“I speak and present our birds to various crowds such as national resource companies, community organizations, and school events.” said Hurley. “Through skills taught to me by my mentor, I have learned caution and humility in the presence of these beautiful creatures.” 

Hurley’s successful SAE project was recognized as the 2019 Texas FFA proficiency winner and a National FFA finalist in Specialty Animal Production. 

“My teachers, Amanda Twedt and Charity Etchelecu, told me to just apply for the proficiency,” said Hurley. “If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I know that no matter what, I’ve made history within my chapter and I’ve made my FFA family proud.”

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