On my latest podcast, I’m talking with Donna Cole. Donna is an award-winning multimedia and investigative journalist; bird of prey rescuer; mom, breast cancer survivor, and a U.S. Navy veteran. During her US Navy Service, Donna was recognized with a number of military service medals and honors including the National Defense Service Medal (Gulf War/Operation Desert Shield), Good Conduct Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Navy Overseas Service Ribbon and a Cold War Recognition Certificate. In the spring and summer of 2018, Donna broke the story about carbofuran, a federally banned pesticide, being illegally used and resulting in the death of 13 bald eagles in the state of Maryland. Donna's reporting led to national and global news coverage. I'm talking with Donna about her investigative work, among other very inspiring things.
Donna Cole at Raptor Rescue Training 2019
I got to know Donna through her bird of prey rescue work. She led the effort to organize a large group of volunteer rescue transporters – people, including me, that pick up the rescued birds and transport them to licensed wildlife rehabilitators. Donna’s own involvement with bird of prey rescue got started following a difficult and painful recovery from breast cancer, which she shares with us. We have a lot to talk about with Donna today and I’m so excited that she’s able to join the podcast!
Here's the questions we covered. Listen to the podcast here.
- You have an active on-line presence which makes it so easy to learn about and keep up with you. Perhaps that’s the journalist in you? Tell us about yourself.
- Do you have any raptor rescues that are more memorable than others?
- In 2018 you broke the story that the federally banned pesticide carbofuran was responsible for the 2016 deaths of 13 bald eagles in Maryland – and possibly more we’ll never know about. That story got national attention. That was the largest number of eagles that were known to have died in Maryland in 30 years; and we know bald eagles don’t just fall out of the sky in numbers like that and die. Carbofuran is a pesticide to control pests in soil and on leaves in a variety of field, fruit, and vegetable crops. In 2009 the US EPA effectively banned carbofuran by not allowing it be reregistered because EPA concluded that “dietary, worker, and ecological risks are unacceptable for all uses of carbofuran. All products containing carbofuran generally cause unreasonable adverse effects on humans and the environment and do not meet safety standards, and therefore are ineligible for reregistration.” Tell us about how you got involved in this case and what you learned from it.
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