Organizers busy ahead of annual raptor festival

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The ninth annual La Riviere Raptor Festival is being held this year over two days on Friday evening April 17 and all day April 18.

Plans are underway for another exciting festival, which aims to bring awareness to the significance of the Pembina Valley as a migratory corridor for birds of prey and other birds. The event features educational displays, tours and viewing of the migrating raptors, all the while highlighting the importance of biodiversity and habitat conservation to ecosystem health.

Paul Goossen has acted as assistant volunteer coordinator during all this time, and has spearheaded outdoor activities to include the filled-to-capacity guided walks, migration count and guest presentations.

This festival will take a new direction in 2020 and will be extended to two days, with one day set aside specifically for several elementary and middle school grade levels and home school associations. La Riviere & Community Recreation Association has joined forces with Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre to set this all into place. This new addition will be interactive and geared to curriculum and fun.

The evening is open to the general public and will feature an experienced birder for an Owl Prowl event. Participants will discover the many owls that live in the valley and learn about their unique characteristics and behaviours. This activity is suitable for persons ages 10 and older and pre-registration is required.

The second day brings together the general public, birders and photographers to learn and explore the world of birds with top-notch professionals and enthusiastic guides. See live birds of prey eye-to-eye, capture fantastic close-up photos of raptors and gain insights into the challenges these birds face in the wild. Among the many sponsor and partner displays, there is also an owl art contest for school children, and a photo contest for youth and adults.

Last year’s event attracted over 650 attendees and even included the release of a rehabilitated raptor back into the wild, which organizers hope to do again this year.

Event coordinator Evelyn Janzen maintains that the success of this kind of event is aided by all the sponsors who go out of their way to lend support financially and who exhibit their venues and organizations. For more festival details, visit pembina.ca.

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