Friday, January 9, 2015

A New Home for Goldie

The eagle has landed at the Wallace South Building and for one Vol State employee, the move brings back childhood memories. You may know Goldie the Eagle from her display in the Ramer Great Hall. She was there for many years. She is a tough old bird, having survived a direct hit from the 2006 tornado. Dr. Faulkner felt that Goldie was getting lost in the shadows in the Ramer Building. Her new location is in the sunny main hall of the new Wallace South Building. Light floods the display, which is placed on the west side of the hallway. The natural spot for such an specimen would have been the Warf Building, home of the sciences at Vol State. But with narrow hallways and many other displays, that idea was not practical.

The move didn't occur until the authorities were contacted. Why? Well, Goldie is actually on loan from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA). Golden Eagles are protected by the federal Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1962.

“I wasn’t sure if we had to notify them that we were moving Goldie or if we even could,” said Glenda Godwin, Vol State director of Construction and Facilities. “I wondered if TWRA was required to actually make the move. They told me that their records didn’t specify what building the Eagle was displayed, only that it was on display at VSCC at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin, TN.  As long as Goldie remained at the address of record we could move it. I also contacted a taxidermist regarding exposure to sunlight and heat and was told that moths are the main concern of our preserved feathered friends.”

Vol State students put the display together in the 1980's when it was suggested that Vol State house the mounted eagle. It has been here ever since.

There is another angle to the Goldie story. Kim Morris, the Vol State Plant Operations scheduler, goes way back with the eagle. Suzanne Hesson from Health Sciences reminded everyone of the newspaper article from 1978 that shows Kim, as a child, holding up Goldie after she was found dead in Sumner County, from apparent electrocution. Kim was friends with Suzanne's sister and their dad was a well-known taxidermist, called out to give advice to TWRA when the eagle was found.

"I was ten when it happened and I remembered the picture and everything," Morris said (she's the one in the funky pants to the right, Suzanne's sister is to the left). "But I didn't remember that the eagle was here at Vol State. I love where it is now. In the Ramer Building it was in a corner and had no visibility. I think it looks awesome." 

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