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The Falconer

A Story of Empowerment Through Nature

One of very few Black Master Falconers in the U.S., Rodney Stotts never planned to be an environmentalist. Growing up in marginalized Southeast Washington, D.C., he seemed destined for a life of drugs and street violence but left that behind as he developed a passion for the art and sport of falconry.

This intimate portrait film follows Rodney as he strives to provide his community’s underserved youth and endangered raptors with a safe haven for mutual healing and growth. Acting as his own narrator, Stotts discusses his work as a licensed Master Falconer, environmental educator, and with the Earth Conservation Corps, responsible for bringing the bald eagle back to the Anacostia. The film shows Stotts as he and his youthful helpers from the Capital Guardian Youth ChalleNGe Academy, run by the D.C. National Guard, begin the demanding work of refurbishing a hundred-year-old dairy barn to create a Raptor Center. Without money, he builds aviaries with donated wood. Without staff, he calls on family, friends, and volunteers for help. His goals are to protect raptors, heal and release them, take care of the birds that are non-releasable, teach young people about caring for the birds and their natural environment, and for a few, how to become falconers.

“All this is healing. All this is medicine. All this changes who you are,” – says Stotts.

The Falconer is a story of second chances: for injured birds of prey, for an abandoned plot of land, for young people who bear the brunt of social and environmental injustice, and for Rodney Stotts himself. Please visit www.thefalconerfilm.com for more information.

Because some footage might be upsetting for younger viewers, we recommend The Falconer for high school age and above.

 

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