Thursday, May 10, 2012

2012 IAS Spring Festival at Mary Gray

Indiana Young Birders showing off their fantastic artwork!

Every spring, IAS members come together to celebrate birds, birding, and nature at the annual Spring Festival at the Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary in Connersville, IN.  It's a casual festival that's loosely structured - on purpose.  You see, this festival is unique because it celebrates a gorgeous 700+ acre nature preserve owned by the IAS that hosts old forest, new forest, meadows, creeks, and ponds which are home to a wide diversity of birds, wildflowers, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals.  But, most of all this festival celebrates the members who care about the property and gives these same members a chance to come together and enjoy what they love the most - nature! 

Sarah proudly displaying her new Crossley guide that she won for her outstanding work on a weekend field notebook!

 Sophia showing off her new Kaufman Guide for her outstanding bird identification abilities!

One of our annual highlights is being able celebrate the property with our youngest generation of bird lovers, the members of the Indiana Young Birders Club.  This year the festival was filled with youth who not only birded and chased amphibians but also painted bluebird box doors, documented their weekend in field notebooks, and tested their knowledge with an I.D. quiz.

Our I.D. Quiz winner was Sophia T., an awesome young birder that even helped her dad band birds!  Sarah S., won a Crossley guide for her work on our weekend field notebook contest.  Another cool young birder highlight was a great presentation given by Scarlett Arvin who did an outstanding job presenting on her experience last year in Maine.  We do have a great group of kids!

Is there anything more cute than five little Carolina Chickadees?

And the birds!  Oh, the birds!  From Cape May Warblers to Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, festival participants  documented 110 species over that included not only spring migrants but local nesting birds that make the sanctuary their home.  Family life was everywhere including an opportunity for some quick looks at nesting Carolina Chickadees and Eastern Bluebirds feeding their "teenage" kids sitting on the branches of trees.  

Everywhere you looked there was something to do.  Tim Tolford., was banding birds, which is always a nature festival hit. Doug Gray was on site to express the importance of diversity in birding, and each night we were even able to relax and watch a late night movie, about birds, of course.

But, like with all good times, we eventually had to say goodbye and on Sunday afternoon we did.  Driving away smiling because we knew next year, we'd be back.

Artists at work!

Many thanks to Amy and Carl Wilms (resident managers), Trevor and Natalie Abernathy (resident caretakers), and all of the volunteers that worked so hard to make the event wonderful!

1 comment:

Kelly said...

Awesome post!! Looks like a great festival and lots of fun for the kids. Loved the artwork photos! Those are going to be really cool bluebird boxes!

Indiana State Bird

Indiana State Bird
Northern Cardinal