Welcome to the Evolving Man Project’s “Evolved Man of the Week” profile. Each week we will highlight an individual that embodies what it means to be an evolved person, famous and non-famous individual alike. The world needs to know their stories and deeds. This week’s honor goes to the licensed falconer, environmentalist, and founder of Rodney’s Raptors, Rodney Stotts.
Rodney Stotts is a falconer and licensed raptor specialist from South East Washington DC. A former staff of the Earth Conservation Corps, he is a mentor and youth community leader. Mr. Stotts creates transformative opportunities that connect youth to the environment and community.
After landing in jail for 5 months during his drug-dealing years, Stotts knew that a person can only be described by his mistakes if he keeps making them, and therefore he had to change.
In need of a pay stub to seal the deal on an apartment rental, Stotts took a job at the Earth Conservation Corps (ECC), which was working to clean up the Anacostia River. Stotts first fell in love with animals through the ECC, including raptors, since the group’s founder was a falconer himself.
In three decades, Mr. Stotts has worked with thousands of people on the streets and in schools, parks, jails, barns, and Zoom calls. Along the way, he founded his own nonprofit, Rodney’s Raptors, and earned his falconry license. The work is low in pay and often poignant, forcing him to confront violence, substance misuse, and loss.
But for Mr. Stotts, whose life is profiled in a new documentary, “The Falconer,” it’s highest in personal reward. If he could change, he tells the young people he works with, so can they. Here is Rodney Stotts in his own words about his first encounter with a raptor changed his life forever:
“The first time I held a bird, period, it took me somewhere else,” Stotts, who was the subject of a documentary called…“As I was changing from working with the birds and everything and seeing myself change, I couldn’t go back to doing anything else.”
We wish Rodney Stotts more continued success at Rodney’s Raptors. We hope he inspires a new generation of wayward to see the value in themselves and nature. Today we honor Rodney Stotts as our Evolved Man of the Week.