Volunteer Program

Our mission is to help educate the public about these amazing birds and their history with mankind. As a volunteer in our team, your job will vary greatly, but your mission will always be the same. We strive to educate and inform the public about these beautiful animals in a safe yet personable way.

Should you choose to begin volunteering with us, your training will begin at the first Banning Mills bird show you attend. You will be given the basics about the program by Emerson Miller, who will show you what we do and give you an idea about how our program works. Depending on how many new volunteers are present, new volunteers may either watch the show or shadow Emerson during the show. As volunteers continue to come to shows and accumulate experience, they will have more opportunities. Volunteers will eventually be expected to purchase their own falconry equipment and read material about birds, raptors, falconry, and regional falconry legislation. We are always excited to have new volunteers. If you have any questions or are just ready to get started, please e-mail Emerson Miller at hawkward@wingedambassadors.org.

 

Dale Arrowood

Master Falconer & Owner

 

Dale started working with raptors in the late 60s as a young boy growing up on his family’s farm in Palmetto, GA. He had become interested in birds while watching Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom” on Sunday afternoons with Jim Fowler and Marlin Perkins. Dale pursued falconry and continued to work and hunt with his birds while serving in law enforcement. After 27 years in law enforcement, Dale was forced to retire due to a cervical injury. However, his injury did not stop his work with raptors.

Soon after retiring from law enforcement, a job opportunity at Callaway Gardens presented itself to Dale. Dale trained their birds of prey and started their raptor programs. He was able to stay and lecture there for four years. Dale had the fortune of working with Jim Fowler, Okeefenokee Joe, and others who later aided him in fulfilling his dream of establishing an educational show and organization called Winged Ambassadors. Over the years, Dale has trained and flown several species of falcons, hawks, owls, vultures, and even eagles. His show ranges from pure falconry shows, to environmental education, to even lectures throughout the southeast.

Dale achieved a major personal goal when, in 2017, Winged Ambassadors, with the help of Banning Mills, recieved the honor of caring for a bald eagle, named Lady Liberty. Every day, Liberty helps us to reflect on both the power and fragility of nature. Dale's hope is that Liberty helps others to reflect on that as well. Having Liberty with us shows how far this program has come and how far it will go.

Jesse Nieto (Volunteer falconer)

A Native-American (Comanchee Indian), retired Marine infantry (1960-1985), two Vietnam tours, one Middle-East tour, two tours as a drill instructor, and one tour as NROTC instructor at the University of Illinois, Campaign III. Jesse spent many years travelling the world.

Jesse Nieto retired after 20 years of civil service at Camp LeJeune N.C. and met Dale at a shooting range. Since then, Jesse has volunteered to help at numerous shows with our magnificent raptors.

"Watching the eyes of young people as they see these birds... it tells me the world is good."

Christian Shallabarger (Volunteer falconer)

My name is Christian Shellabarger. I am 19 and a general falconer. I am currently hunting with a tiercel Aplomado falcon. I have been with Winged Ambassadors since 2011. Dale Arrowood was my sponsor for my apprenticeship and after that, I joined his team of falconers and volunteers.

Marissa Shelton (Volunteer falconer)

Hi, I'm Marissa! I have been an animal lover since I was a little girl! I'm currently studying Organismal Biology at Auburn University and dream of having a career conserving wildlife.

Christian Contreras (Volunteer falconer)

Christian is a dedicated volunteer who has worked with us for over a year. More bio coming soon!

Kevin Keeble (Volunteer falconer)

In 2005 Kevin attended Jacksonville State University to study environmental biology.  In 2008 Kevin was employed by the Coweta County Sheriff's office to begin a career in law enforcement.  In 2013, under the tootiledge of Dale, Kevin got his Falconry permit and began practicing the sport of falconry. Since then Kevin has been assisting Dale with educational programs as well learning as much as possible about the sport as well as the birds that allow us to share in that experience.

Cooper Sipes (Volunteer falconer)

The grandson of Dale himself. Biography coming soon!

 

 

Emerson Miller (Volunteer falconer, volunteer program leader, website editor)

Emerson Miller first got involved in falconry in 2012 at age 11 while attending a veterinarian summer camp at Auburn University. After seeing their birds, Emerson was intent on becoming a falconer. She studied falconry for a few months before joining the Georgia Falconry Association and attending falconry meets.

Emerson was fortunate to find Dale Arrowood’s programs and began attending nearly every one. Dale saw Emerson’s interest and knowledge in the birds and offered to take her under his wing. Emerson has been working with Dale Arrowood and Winged Ambassadors ever since. She now oversees the website and trains new volunteers, among other duties. She is currently attending college through dual-enrollment, and plans to continue college to study engineering after graduating high-school.

Tanya Petty (Marketing and volunteer falconer)

Originally from South Africa, I have made Atlanta my home for almost 15 years. Kennesaw State University awarded me a Tennis Scholarship and graduated with degrees in both Psychology and Marketing. I am a Licensed Massage Therapist and USPTA Certified Tennis Teaching Professional. I have been with Winged Ambassadors for over three years and am what one may call an "animal junkie"!!!! I just love animals, and am one cat short of "crazy cat lady".

Winged Ambassadors is a part of my life. These birds are amazing.

Greg Shelton (Volunteer falconer and raptor trainer)

I attended Appalachian State University where I played football. Graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice. I have been a police officer with The Fulton County Police Department for 21 years. I am currently the Range Master in charge of firearms training for the department and also a member of our SWAT TEAM. Dale Arrowood was actually my instructor when I was in the Academy. I have stayed in touch with Dale over the years even after he retired. I have him come in and assist me with teaching police cadets how to shoot.

I have been very active with Winged Ambassoders for over a year and really enjoy working with the birds. I am currently working on my apprentice falconry certification.

The thing I like most about falconry is being part of something that goes back thousands of years and sharing a sport with the likes of some of the most famous people in history like Moses, Isiah and General George Patton.

Ted Boemanns (Photographer)

Ted has been with us for many years taking beautiful pictures of us and our birds. Biography coming soon!