Eagles over Nisky

Students at Rosendale Elementary name national icons

Two feathery icons spotted over the skies of Niskayuna were recently named by students at a school learning fair.

At the Rosendale Elementary School Learning Fair Thursday, March 25, students voted on the names for two bald eagles that have taken up residence in the town of Niskayuna. Rosie and "Patriot" were top picks in a vote of 177 students as a part of fourth-grader Caroline McGraw's learning fair project.

Caroline, daughter of Town Board member Denise Murphy McGraw, said she looked for name ideas from the other students in her class.

She said she learned about the local eagles after someone sent photos of the birds to her mother, and she wanted to see them for herself. The two eagles, which are currently building a nest in Blatnick Park, were photographed by a resident and brought to the attention of the town.

Caroline said she has been interested in eagles since reading an American Girl book about them and thought they would be interesting to other kids too.

"My main point of the project was to spread the word about the bald eagles living in Niskayuna," she said.

Students in the third, fourth and fifth grades at the school voted for male and female names from a list that included "Betsy Ross," "Jeter," "Ellis" and "Lincoln." Each name had a patriotic or local significance, such as "Ellis" for Ellis Hospital, "Jeter" for Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees, or "Rosie" for Rosendale Elementary.

Principal Lauren Gemmill said Caroline was able to share her own knowledge about the birds with classmates, friends and family though her project.

"It was pretty neat that this was her topic of interest and that she brought this to the awareness of students that bald eagles were nesting in our backyard," she said.

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