About Rise

Who_Are_We_Egg_Black Mission:

Our Mission is to inspire the public to embrace principles of good stewardship, engage in scientific discovery, and be immersed in the riches of history and culture, by connecting with the most powerful birds in the world.


The RISE Raptor Project, Inc., based in North Alabama, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation founded for the purpose of teaching the principles of good stewardship, sound science, conservation, history and culture. Raptors (birds of prey) provide a unique avenue by which to communicate these principles in a memorable and meaningful way. We offer programs on a no or low cost basis, allowing us to have reached thousands of people, and intend to continue this practice. We firmly believe that all people regardless of social or economic status should have these principles integrated into their lives and character in order to achieve their full potential. As a result of this policy we operate largely on a donation basis. Your gift, no matter how large or small will go to further our mission. We are a 501(c)(3) organization, allowing your gifts to be tax deductible. We appreciate your generosity in making the world a better place through the education of all.

The Rise Team:

Our organization is made up of proven leaders with wide ranging experience and talent:




Curt Cearley Founder And Executive Director

Curt Cearley
Founder and Executive Director

When Curt was 3 years old living in Missouri, a tame crow living free in the neighborhood, came for many visits. His fascination with this intelligent creature was the start of a lifelong passion for birds and the world they live in. Years later Curt had the opportunity to spend 5 years learning from those who know birds of prey better than anyone, at the World Bird Sanctuary in St. Louis Missouri, under the direction of Walter C. Crawford Jr. While at the World Bird Sanctuary, Curt participated in many facets of bird of prey conservation and education. While there, he cared for many of the world’s species of birds including tiny, delicate Saw Whet Owls, immensely powerful Bald Eagles, and playful Andean Condors. Curt assisted in a variety of activities including public awareness programs, Peregrine Falcon reintroduction programs, Bald Eagle population surveys, raptor rehabilitation, management, release evaluation, and general training. In addition to these interests Curt learned the sport of falconry and now enjoys this art at the level of master falconer.
WbsNameBadge Since moving to Alabama Curt has been invited to speak for thousands of people about the most powerful birds in the world, why they are important for a healthy environment, and how they have fascinated people over thousands of years. Curt is a member of the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators, the North American Wildlife Rehabilitators, and the Raptor Research Foundation. As a continuation of 24 years of work with birds of prey, Curt became the principle founder of the Rise Raptor Project, Inc. to further expand his work with these magnificent birds.


Stephanie Kern

Stephanie Kern

Stephanie has been a longtime advocate of wildlife and the practice of wildlife rehabilitation: caring for animals that have received critical injuries – often from the perils of coming into contact with people. She received extensive training in the field, and has gained an in-depth knowledge of many of issues (injuries, diseases) affecting wild animal populations. As a result of her previous work, Stephanie formed Natures Keepers, Inc., which cares for injured wildlife as well as educating the public on wildlife topics. She is also a member of the  International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council, National Association of Wildlife Rehabilitators and the Alabama Wildlife Alliance. Stephanie is a legal professional, and one of Rise’s ‘Legal Eagles’.



Dan Meyer - Sword Swallower and Super Hero

Dan Meyer – Sword Swallower and Super Hero

Dan Meyer swallows swords, eats fire and glass, and inspires audiences to do the impossible in their lives. Dan Meyer is a World Champion Sword Swallower, recognized by “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” with 7 Guinness World Records, as the world leading expert in sword swallowing.  He is the president of the Sword Swallowers Association International, and winner of the 2007 Ig Nobel Prize in Medicine at Harvard for sword swallowing medical research. Having been seen by over 750 million viewers in 25 countries, Dan is recognized as one of the top sword swallowers performing around the world today. As a motivational speaker on overcoming obstacles and doing the impossible, Dan speaks at TEDx, Ig Nobel, PINC, Ignite talks, corporate, science, medical, college, and youth events around the world on “Cutting Through Fear: The Art and Science of Doing the Impossible”. In addition to superhuman feats, Dan has served as executive staff to a several charitable organizations dedicated to improving lives of children both in the United States and around the world. Dan is also an animal enthusiast – whether it’s riding Icelandic horses, performing with his macaw, or flying golden eagles Kazakhstan. You can learn more about Dan at Cutting Edge Innertainment.

ChristinaAndRachaelChristina Turner has a Masters Degree in Education / Reading Curriculum and Instruction, and has been teaching for over 16 years. She has worked with the Huntsville Land Trust, Legacy Partners in Environmental Education, and the Environmental Education Association of Alabama. Among her many other education activities, Christina helps train and manage Rise’s raptors, and will be frequently seen in public events.