The New River Birding and Nature Festival is Almost Here!

One sign that spring is here is the sound of birds singing their distinct morning tunes. Another sign of spring is a bunch of bird enthusiasts wandering around the New River Gorge looking, listening, and trying to identify said birds, sometimes just by their song.
The end of April means the New River Birding and Nature Festival is approaching. Bird watchers and nature lovers from far and wide infiltrate this area for a “summer camp” of  sorts with similar-minded folks. With world-class instructors hosting daily field trips as well as evening presentations, this event is a wonderful showcase of the Gorge’s beauty and natural resources.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the New River Birding and Nature Festival.

About the Festival
In its 10th year, this week-long gathering takes advantage of the wonderful nature that is preserved in and around the Gorge. Festival chairman Dave Pollard said he expects close to 175 participants this year and that most of them sign up for the whole week of activities. The event is from April 30 to May 5 and focuses on the birds and ecology of our area.
There are 4 or 5 field trips offered per day, and many of them are already full. But you can still get into some of the sessions. Here’s an example of a few of the talks and trips the festival offers.

  • Nature Photography
  • All Things Cerulean
  • Birding by Boat
  • Fields trips to Buery Mountain, Long Point, Kanawha Falls, Cranberry Glades, Sugar Creek

There are also short presentations after the field trips and dinner presentations, both at Opossum Creek Retreat. Definitely plenty to keep even the most zealous nature lover entertained.
The Experts
This festival taps the expertise of many scholars and accomplished individuals and lets the participants learn from them in a beautiful environment. Presenters include:

  • Dr. Scott Shalaway – Wildlife Biologist with Ph. D. in Wildlife Ecology and M.S. in Biology.
  • Bill Thompson III –  Editor of Bird Watchers Digest and author of many birding and nature books.
  • Mark Garland – Naturalist with B.S. and M.S. degrees from University of Maryland’s College of Agriculture.
  • Jim McCormac – Ohio Division of Wildlife specialist dealing in nongame wildlife diversity, particularly birds.
  • Julie Zickefoose – Artist, naturalist and writer, specializing in natural history. Also NPR contributor.

These are just a few of the various professionals that help make the Birding and Nature Festival a great event. This festival also boasts the best guide to guest ratio of any of the birding festivals around.
The event is a great promotion of this area, its beauty, and resources. According to Dave Pollard, “Another great thing about this festival is it has helped bring about other events in the area like the Fall Birding Weekend and the August Hummingbird event.”
Whether you are a nature lover, birdwatcher, or just want to learn a new hobby, think about attending the New River Birding and Nature Festival.
Will we see you there?