Kin Quitugua, master falconer and long time ecology and environmental educator
Some people have trouble remembering what movie they last saw while others like Kin Quitugua gets inspired from a movie scene by improving the ecology, and the environment we live in.
Growing up in Guam, the then nine-year Kin watched Richard Fleischer’s 'The Viking.' A swashbuckling historical fiction starring Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh and many other legends. In the movie, Eric’s (Tony Curtis) bird, a Goshawk swooped a pheasant in midair stoking the wrath of Einar (Kirk Douglas) because his bird failed the same attempt. The falconry scene in the movie remained forever etched in Kin Quitugua’s memory.
Impressions of the past reemerged when Kin was studying engineering as a young man at Boulder, Colorado. Through an acquaintance of a red-haired date, he connected with a full-fledge falconer, but only after numerous unanswered and unreturned phone calls.
Earning the trust of his mentor, Kin held his first hawk after an hour and a half during his initial interaction. The experience instantly elevated him to “Hawk Heaven". Kin's passion and eagerness later gain him a sponsor in a two-year apprenticeship program learning about the ecology of raptors, the health, care and regulations that guided the sport of falconry.
Along the way learning about Raptors, Kin encountered numerous birds that were shot, run down by a chain of fence and even electrocuted. Kin's passion continued as he then taught in several elementary schools in and around Arapaho county, Colorado.
By 1986 Kin Quitugua, a master falconer and long time environmental educator, founded HawkQuest, a tax-exempt 501(c)3 charitable organization based in Parker, Colorado. HawkQuest's education goal was to allow its audience to experience Raptors at close range.
HawkQuest gives importance to environmental awareness and educating youths in many unique programs including 'Classroom-in-the-Wild'. Kin serves as a consultant to many organizations. He has traveled world-wide to spread his message promoting the welfare of birds of prey.
HawkQuest is strictly an outreach group and in 2018, they reached close to a million people in audience.
HawkQuest conducts ongoing training classes throughout the year to teach volunteers to interact with their magnificent raptors.