BirdFest strengthens community ties

The sixth Olympic BirdFest, April 3-5, will attract many birders, but the festival also has much to offer non-birders.

"We are increasing our ties to the arts community and offering more events of interest to the broader community each year," said Jim Richard, Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society president.

OPAS, which sponsors the annual festival, recently gave its first awards in the 15th annual Sequim Arts Student Art Show.

"We are proud to recognize these talented young artists and display their award-winning pieces," he said.

The Dungeness River Audubon Center at 2151 W. Hendrickson Road in Sequim, will display the bird art of Miranda Robertson (sophomore, Sequim High), Lacey Tenneson (senior, Sequim High), Emily Anderson (seventh grade, Sequim Middle School), and Katie Fritz (sophomore, home school) during BirdFest and throughout April.

On April 1, bidding opens for the BirdFest silent auction. The public is invited to place bids for the works of a dozen local artists, gift certificates from local businesses and organizations, theme baskets and other items.

The items will be on display at the River Center with the exception of two: An eagle photograph, "Padding the Nest," by Ron Carlson, and a whimsical sculpture by Nancy Lawrence will be on display at the Blue Whole Gallery, 129 W. Washington St., Sequim. Bidding will close April 4.

Two additional public interest events happen at the River Center during BirdFest weekend.

Sequim wood sculptor Bill Lohnes will be carving and selling his beautiful birds Friday and Saturday morning, April 3-4.

Award-winning nature photographers Ken and Mary Campbell of Port Angeles will conduct a nature photography workshop from 12:30-4:30 p.m. Saturday, April 3. Fees are $40 for BirdFest registrants and $50 for others. To register, call 681-4076.

Other events

Fifteen guided birding trips will be held in the Sequim-Port Angeles area, ranging from the Salt Creek/Elwha River to

Sequim and Dungeness bays and a birding boat trip around Protection Island.

A popular community event during BirdFest is the Northwest Raptor Center's live bird demonstration. This year the free event will be at 7 p.m. Friday, April 3, in the Sequim High School cafeteria, 601 N. Sequim Ave. Donations for the Raptor Center will be accepted.

On Friday, Jamestown S'Klallam tribal members will discuss the meanings of the totems that grace the tribal headquarters and 7 Cedars Casino.

A tour of the Elwha River dams that are scheduled for removal in 2012 will take place Saturday, April 4. Experts will explain the engineering involved in removing each of the two dams and how the fisheries and ecology of the watershed will change when the Elwha returns to being a free-flowing river.

On Sunday, a three-day, two-night cruise of the San Juan Islands will leave John Wayne Marina. Participants can expect to see a great variety of birds, seals, porpoises and, with a little luck, even whales.

Tickets still are available for the BirdFest salmon banquet on Saturday evening, April 4, at the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribal Center. Locally grown foods from the Sequim-Dungeness Valley complement the salmon.

Keynote speaker is Dr. Julia Parrish: "Biodiversity, Biomass, and Behavior: Forces Affecting Seabirds in Washington Waters." Preregistration is required; tickets are $30. To register, call 681-4076.

Check the BirdFest Web site at for more information.

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