The Fourth Annual Great River Birding and Nature Festival will be held May 12, 13, & 14, 2006 to celebrate spring migration through the Mississippi Flyway. A nature component has been added to the birding festival this year to include more Watchable Wildlife activities. Our festival offers numerous birding events for all levels of experience. Novice birders and other nature lovers will enjoy the variety of activities that are available as well.
Events are held in a variety of habitats throughout the Mississippi Valley Partner communities located on both the Minnesota and Wisconsin sides of the Mississippi River. Back by popular demand is Birding by Motor Boat with Audubon guides and Birding on Mini-Railcar through the Tiffany Wildlife Area. In addition, we have added Birding by Kayak and an opportunity to bird through the Nelson backwaters and Indian Slough area with a local experienced boatman and guide.
There will be adventurous hikes through bluff top meadows, along shorelines, through hardwood forests and in the Kellogg/Weaver Dunes, a Nature Conservancy Scientific Area. Families can learn to build bluebird houses together, go on a Nature Scavenger Hunt and win some great prizes. We guarantee that you will see Live Birds of Prey at Wild Wings Gallery in Lake City and at the National Eagle Center in Wabasha.
Greg Munson from Quarry Hill Nature Center will lead an evening hike to find out " WHO" makes all those night noises. Adam Schimbeno will help us learn to use our binoculars, and scopes to enjoy viewing constellations in the night sky. Humorist and Story Teller, Al Batt will present a special workshop on Nature Story Telling. Kim Risen, professional photographer and publisher will teach how to best use your equipment and what to look for in purchasing cameras, binoculars and scopes. Brian Pember from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will lead a workshop on how to recognize different species of waterfowl. And Mike Davis from the MN DNR will present a display program on Mississippi River Mussels.
Kenny Salwey, locally known as "The Last River Rat" has offered to lead a special half day hike to his River Shack. It would be a good idea to bring along a hiking stick, waterproof footwear and a bottle of water, if you plan to participate. You're sure to hear a story or two about his adventures living on the Mississippi River as he points out wild flora and fauna along the way. This will be an adventure that you won't soon forget. Not recommended for "Scaredy Cats".
A Trade Show, Silent Auction and Receptions are scheduled for both Friday and Saturday evenings. Kenny Salwey will be the Keynote Speaker on Friday evening. J&J BBQ from Nelson General Store, Nelson, WI will serve refreshments prior to Kenny Salwey's presentation. On Saturday, we'll open the evening with a Wine and Cheese Reception presented by The Good Apple, Stockholm, WI and Pepin Heights Orchard Lake City, MN. Carol Schumacher will honor us as Keynote Speaker for Saturday evening, sharing her experiences birding throughout the Mississippi Flyway and the importance of this Major Migratory Corridor.
An opportunity to bid on the Silent Auction items is from 9 AM on Friday to 5 PM on Saturday. A Rotomolded Kestrel 140 Kayak outfit from We-no-nah Canoe/Current Designs, a Hand Cart for hauling all your equipment from Valley Craft, Lake City and a beautiful wildlife print from Wild Wings Gallery in Lake City, as well as, several Community Baskets filled with valuable gift certificates and local products, will be up for bid.
A $3 button is required to participate in all festival events. Birding by Boat events and Kenny Salwey's Nature Hike require an additional fee, as well as, entrance into the Friday and Saturday evening Receptions. Buttons and Tickets can be purchased in Lake City, MN at Lake City Area Chamber of Commerce, Fiesta Foods, Rhythm and Brew, Hok-Si-La Park and Wild Wings Gallery, Frontenac State Park in Frontenac, MN, at Camp LaCupolis Resort, and in Winona, MN at the Winona Visitors' Center on Huff Street, Red Tail Outfitters, and Bird-Song wild bird store. In Wisconsin, Buttons and Tickets are available at Nelson General Store, Nelson, The Good Apple and Bogus Creek CafĂ© in Stockholm and in Alma, WI go to Pier 4 CafĂ©, Buffalo Trading Co/Beef Slough Store or the Art and Soul Gallery.
For additional information, visit the web site at www.mississippi-river.org or call 877-525-3248.
IN WINONA: Birding by Kayak (a backwater tour for birding enthusiasts that have kayak experience)
Saturday, May 13, and Sunday, May 14
7:00am - 9:00am
Pre-registered through website or phone (507-454-6711 or 800-820-8530)
Cost of $25.00 per craft (plus a $3.00 festival button available at event sites). Checks should be made out to MVP Birding Festival.
Directions: To get to Verchota Landing, going north or south on US Hwy 61, turn toward downtown at Huff Street stoplight. Continue on Huff for 2.7 miles. It will turn along river and become Riverview Drive. Turn right onto Prairie Island Road and go 3.7 miles.