New Golden Eagle Mascot Makes Kent State Debut

For the first time in more than 10 years, a live Golden Eagle once again is representing Kent State as its official mascot. Flash joins the Kent State community thanks to an educational partnership with Back To The Wild® (BTTW), a wildlife rehabilitation and nature education center located in Castalia, Ohio.

Mona Rutger, founder of Back To The Wild, debuts Flash, the first live Golden Eagle to serve as Kent State's mascot in more than 10 years.
Photo by Bob Christy

Mona Rutger, founder of Back To The Wild, debuts Flash, the first live Golden Eagle to serve as Kent State's mascot in more than 10 years.

As a result of the partnership, Flash will serve as an internal symbol of pride for members of the university community and also will make appearances throughout the year at various Intercollegiate Athletic and other university events. Each visit will be accompanied by an educational message.

“We are very proud to be affiliated with Back To The Wild and with Flash,” Dr. Kathy Stafford, vice president for university relations, says. “Golden Eagles have tremendous vision, soar to amazing heights and always reach for the highest goals. These are the same qualities that our faculty and staff showcase every day while putting excellence in action at Kent State, and the same qualities exemplified by Back To The Wild in its wildlife rehabilitation and education efforts.”

Back To The Wild’s primary mission is to rehabilitate — and ultimately release into their natural habitat — wildlife that have been injured, orphaned or displaced. The center generally receives more than 2,500 animals each year and accepts all species of native Ohio animals, including hawks, owls, eagles, herons, ducks, geese, songbirds, deer, fox, bobcats, rabbits, squirrels, opossums, skunks, reptiles and amphibians.

“Back To The Wild is truly honored to have our Golden Eagle represent Kent State as its mascot,” says Mona Rutger, a federally licensed rehabilitator and founder of Back To The Wild. “Though this magnificent Eagle can no longer be free in the wild, through education, she will benefit thousands of other wild animals and help people make better decisions in caring for our natural world. We are eager to develop a great working relationship that will be of mutual benefit to Kent State University and BTTW’s mission.”

Back To The Wild also presents educational programs annually to more than 60,000 students and to members of youth groups and community organizations. The volunteer, nonprofit organization depends solely on charitable donations to continue its work, as there are no tax monies or government funds available to assist the center. In 2006, Rutger was honored as the Hero of the Year by the Animal Planet network.

Flash made her official Kent State debut on Jan. 23 prior to the Golden Flashes men’s basketball game with Akron. In addition, at halftime, members of the Flash Kids Club got to meet Flash as part of an educational presentation made by Back To The Wild staff members.

According to Kent State Athletic Director Laing Kennedy, “It is great to have a live Golden Eagle as an added component to our mascot. Flash is an integral part of our athletic department and is a symbol of our tremendous school spirit. In addition, this is a great chance for us to support the wildlife preservation efforts of a worthwhile organization such as Back To The Wild.”

Kent State previously had a live Golden Eagle appear at numerous home football games from 1985 to 1995. It is believed that Wednesday night’s debut of Flash was the first time that a live mascot has appeared at a Golden Flashes basketball game.

For more information about Back To The Wild, visit the center’s Web site.

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