In Memory of Jean Keene aka ‘The Eagle Lady’ of Homer, Alaska SOAR FREE JEAN
Camera: Sony A900; F-Stop: f/4; Exposure: 1/320 sec.; ISO Speed: 200; Focal Length: 200mm.
I took this photo on 1-8-2009 while we were down in Homer visiting with Jean and her Eagles of Kachemak Bay. On 1-14-2009 while watching the news I learned that Jean had passed away the evening before, with many friends at her side and one of her beloved Eagles perched outside her home. She was one Spunky Lady who’s only thoughts were always of her Eagles and making sure they would be cared for.
To give a little background, Jean was an ex-rodeo stunt rider who after being badly injured during a stunt one day, had to give up the rodeo, she ended up moving to Alaska in 1977. One day she noticed a couple Eagles near her compound and she wondered if they were hungry, since she worked at a fish cannery she brought home some fish heads etc., and fed the two Eagles, by the end of that winter she was feeding about a dozen Eagles, as the winters came and went the number of Eagles increased into the hundreds. Right after Jean’s death the city council of Homer met and decided that they would allow Jean’s helper to continue feeding the Eagles in her place, until the end of this winter season which ends March 27th, 2009. They met again in February and decided to end the Jean Keene ordinance that would have allowed the feedings to continue for the winter of 2009/2010 this means that as of March 27th, 2009 the feedings will end completely with the hopes of driving off the Eagles that frequent Homer Spit for the winter feedings.
Jean Keene literally put Homer on the map, people from all over the world came to Homer during the winter feeding period to meet Jean, and photograph her Eagles. Photo tours came to Alaska to photograph the Eagles. But all of this is at an end, it seems the voice of those who love and respect wildlife is not as loud or as vocal as the voice of those who feel that the Eagles are a nuisance….they want the Eagles gone. We on the other hand would love to see the feedings continue so that other nature lovers can fulfill their dreams of someday coming to Alaska, to stand amongst these wonderful creatures and capture them through their camera lenses, so we are reaching out to all you nature lovers and asking if you might take a few minutes to write an e-mail and send it to the city clerk of Homer at this address: JJohnson@ci.homer.ak.us Lets all let our voices ring loud and clear…..Continue the feedings and Keep The Eagles on the Spit!
We thank you, and we hope that someday each and every one of you will have the opportunity to visit Jean Keene’s Eagles of Kachemak Bay, Homer, Alaska.
Images and Writing © Deb Larson