A collaborative effort between Auburn University and construction professionals will allow visitors
to the Southeastern Raptor Center to have better and safer viewing of birds of prey from an
environmentally friendly walkway.
Students in a Structures III class taught by Michael Hein, a professor in the McWhorter School of
Building Science, working with Auburn Facilities Division and private contractors, prepared the
site and placed the more than 300 linear feet of pervious concrete — a material that supports
load while it allows water to pass through and reduces the environmental effects of stormwater
The walkway is behind the bird mews at the Southeastern Raptor Center, a division of the
College of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn University.
In addition to about 30 College of Architecture, Design and Construction students, Facilities
Division employees and construction professionals, the work has been under the watchful eye of
26 birds of prey, including War Eagle VI, known as Tiger; War Eagle VII, known as Nova; and
Dale Fisher with the National Pervious Concrete Pavement Association, who is considered by
industry executives to be the creator of pervious concrete, was on hand to oversee the project. “I
came to help with the logistics of the job because it is one of the most challenging, if not the
most challenging, pour we’ve ever done because it is angled, narrow and we’re pouring against
concrete block,” Fisher said.
“We love Auburn and I commend them for what they have done in teaching and research related
to pervious concrete,” Fisher said. “Auburn was working with pervious concrete 10 years ago
and really set the pace. Plus, I was greeted by Spirit, a bald eagle housed and cared for by the
Southeastern Raptor Center, so it doesn’t get any better than that.”
The idea to replace the current gravel walkway was that of raptor center staff members
Marianne Hudson and Andrew Hopkins, who conduct numerous private tours of the center.
“The gravel has caused issues for the disabled, those with strollers and the elderly,” Hudson
Hopkins was walking with a friend in the university’s Davis Arboretum and learned about
pervious concrete, and began conversations as to the best way to pave the area at the raptor
*article by Janet McCoy; published by Auburn University