and Nature Festivals
Every May, the Kachemak Bay
Shorebird Festival takes place, based in Homer,
Alaska. Over 100,000 shorebirds migrate through
Kachemak Bay each year on their journey to breeding
grounds in the Alaska tundra.
Photo: FWS/Karen Laubenstein
have recently witnessed the rapid spread of birding
and nature festivals in this country, from about a dozen
events in 1993 to over 250 annually today. These events
demonstrate an increasing interest in wildlife and conservation,
and they help to create an economic base to conserve
and protect wildlife habitat. Festivals raise bird and
biodiversity awareness and promote responsible eco-tourism.
You can find a festival near you. They occur throughout
the year and across the country. Many have a National
Wildlife Refuge component. Some festivals are big; some
are small. Some are connected with International Migratory
Bird Day (in May) or National Wildlife Refuge Week (in
can inspect a list of these festivals from the Bird
Watcher's Digest site.
Here, a volunteer holds a
Prothonotary Warbler at a bird-banding demonstration.
Banding helps us study and track the migration of
many of our species.
Photo: FWS/Ryan Hagerty
festivals actively promote and clearly demonstrate the
economic value of birding and wildlife-watching, signifying
to local communities that investing in these habitats
and their associated recreation can generate substantial
economic return. As awareness of these eco-tourism and
avi-tourism impacts spreads, voters and businesses will
be more likely to support conservation measures for
local habitats and the wildlife they sustain.
If you are interested in organizing a festival in your
community or linked to your National Wildlife Refuge,
you may want to examine the free festival manual available
from our friends at the American
Birding Community E-Bulletin