The Merze Tate Explorers Meet Merze the Falcon


The three young Peregrine sisters are still at their home base and zoom over downtown Kalamazoo.  Knowing where and when they will be active is not always predictable, but they are often active near Peregrine Central at sunrise and early evening.  

As you may recall from a previous blog (06-11-2018), one of the young falcons was named after Merze Tate.  Vernie Merze Tate was a professor, scholar and expert on United States diplomacy. She was the first African-American graduate to earn a B.A. degree from Western Michigan Teachers College, first African-American woman to graduate from University of Oxford, first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in government and international relations from Harvard University, as well as one of the first two female members to join the Department of History at Howard University. 

When Merze Tate graduated from WMU, despite her stellar academic record, African Americans were not hired to teach secondary education in Michigan. She went on to teach at Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, Ind. There, the history teacher created a Travel Club, which took the students of the all-African American high school, to such places as Washington D.C., Niagara Falls, and Pennsylvania during the Depression Era. When Bernard-Hollins learned of Tate’s legacy, she started a travel club for girls in 2008. 

Today, the Merze Tate Explorers (guided by Sonya Bernard-Hollins) are an active local group of young women who learn by exploring the world, as Merze Tate and her Travel Club did in the 1930’s.  The Explorers, who learn as travel writers,  paid a visit to Peregrine Central to see if they could “meet” Merze the falcon.  Gail Walter, the Peregrine falcon Program Coordinator for the Audubon Society of Kalamazoo, was interviewed for a segment of Community In Focusfor Public Media Network, by Explorer Sasha Hollins.  Here is a link to the interview:

Merze and her Peregrine sisters out did themselves and put on a spectacular display for their visitors.  They demonstrated their soaring and flying skills, they posed in the breeze with outstretched wings, they called, and they showed us their developing skill at hunting.  Three young falcons, one adult falcons (Rebecca) and a flock of pigeons looked like a choreographed aerial sporting event.  The young athletes gave it their all, stopping occasionally to catch their breath.  The pigeons maintained their synchronized flying routine and thankfully there were no mid-air or building collisions.    


Tags: Kalamazoo Peregrine falcons. Peregrine falcon fledgings