WABASHA, Minn. - The next great bald eagle ambassador has landed at the National Eagle Center.

On March 4, the National Eagle Center publicly announced the name of their newest eagle ambassador to an enthusiastic crowd gathered in Wabasha.

During the announcement event, visitors learned the name and heard the story of his rescue from those involved back in the summer of 2016. Latsch was found on the ground near a bald eagle nest on the Mississippi River just outside of Winona. Volunteers transported him to the University of Minnesota Raptor Center where examination determined that he is blind in his left eye. Unable to survive on his own in the wild, Latsch arrived at the National Eagle Center in September of 2016. Since then he has trained to be an education eagle with the National Eagle Center's trainers.

"Latsch's story really is remarkable", said Rolf Thompson, executive director of the National Eagle Center. "Having an eagle ambassador that is from our own backyard is definitely something special. That does not happen every day."

Latsch, the seventh eagle ambassador since the Center opened in 1999, is named in honor of John A. Latsch, an early 20th century Winona businessman and environmental conservationist who gifted more than 18,000 acres of land around the Mississippi River to the public for future generations to enjoy.

"The legacy of John A. Latsch fits perfectly with the National Eagle Center's mission and focus on environmental education," said Ed Hahn, Marketing Manager at the Center. "Latsch share's a special connection with all Minnesotans, but especially those who live in southeastern Minnesota. He will be a wonderful ambassador to the public and our visitors from around the world."

The addition of Latsch to the National Eagle Center's eagle ambassador team comes as they are planning a major expansion to accommodate more eagles, exhibits and educational space in Wabasha. A request for $8.2 million to aid in the expansion is included in Gov. Mark Dayton's 2018 bonding proposal.