Meet ‘Lincoln,’ the White House Hawk Named by N.H. 4th Grade Class

By Ross Brenneman — June 05, 2015 1 min read
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In March, New Hampshire teacher James Cutting and his 4th grade class from Hampton Falls, N.H., had a crash course in politics when they tried to get the red-tailed hawk named as their state bird, only to be turned down in harsh fashion.

In an interview with Education Week Teacher in April, Cutting said that his class had largely moved on from the incident. But even if they never get their law, their efforts have yielded a different success.

The White House recently discovered that a red-tailed hawk had made itself a nest outside President Obama’s home. According to a post on the White House blog, the president’s advisers decided that it would need a name, and that naming rights could only reasonably go to one group.

Cutting’s class settled on “Lincoln"—they attend the Lincoln Akerman school, so it was almost preordained—according to an update issued today.

“So many people have reached out to the students to support them and express their appreciation for their efforts to make the red-tailed hawk a state symbol,” Cutting said via email. “This opportunity to name the hawk at the White House feels like a wonderful conclusion to the story.”

In a blog post for the White House’s office of science and technology policy, Tamara Dickinson, principal assistant director for environment and energy, discussed what might have drawn the bird to the grounds and brought up an important related issue:

One recent study notes that by the year 2080, around half of the bird species in the United States could lose more than 50 percent of their current range due largely to the effects of climate change. If that happens, 10 states might lose all populations of their state birds. ... It's our responsibility to do what we can to tackle climate change and take other actions to help protect and restore declining populations of birds and other animals in the U.S. and worldwide.

The Obama administration has a knack for tying student events to its environmental goals, in the grand tradition of politics.

Lincoln, meanwhile, is already a comedian with a Twitter account:

Let’s prey for some better jokes.

Image: Lincoln already faces pressure from the paparazzi as he sits on the ledge of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Credit: DJ Patil/White House

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.