2013-02-14 / Island Life

Whooping Crane Festival

Space still available on tours and lectures

There is still space, for those who missed early registration, on tours and lectures at the 17th annual Whooping Crane Festival. Early registration ended Monday, Feb. 11.

The early online registration proved to be popular, according to Ann Bracher Vaughan, president and CEO of the Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce-Tourist Bureau, which sponsors the event.

The festival is next week, Thursday through Sunday, Feb. 21-24, in Port Aransas.

For those who didn’t register early, on site registration will open at 1:30 p.m. on opening day at festival headquarters at the Civic Center at the corner of Cut-off Road and Avenue A. Cost is $20 and covers speaking sessions and the opportunity to sign up for tours and trips. Individual tours, trips and workshops are priced separately.

Admission is free to the Civic Center where there will be shopping for a wide variety of nature-related items.

Several speakers and activities have been added to this year’s festival. On tap are field trips to birding sites, boat trips for whooping crane viewing and dolphin encounters, tours of the Animal Rehabilitation Keep at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, photography workshops, exhibits and more.

One addition is a continental breakfast seminar with Dr. George Archibald. The breakfast on that Friday had 15 open spots at press time. The breakfast that Saturday is full. Both breakfasts will be at the Fred Rhodes Memorial Pavilion at Roberts Point Park.

Last month, Archibald was awarded the $100,000 Lufkin Prize from National Audubon in recognition of his long career in conservation.

Another new feature is a special seminar with noted educator/author Gene Blacklock who will give tips on how to better identify birds. Blacklock also will lead a field trip to area birding sites to view shore birds in various marine habitats.

A trek through the Port Aransas Nature Preserve at Charlie’s Pasture with expert birders Dr. Joan and Scott Holt is another treat in store for birders.

Another aspect of the festival is the international children’s art exhibit at the Port Aransas Art Center, which will be open from Friday, Feb. 15, through Wednesday, Feb. 27.

The photography and stargazing excursions at La Copita Ranch, which is between Alice and Driscoll, are full.

The photography excursion will be led by award-winning photographer Sean Fitzgerald, and the stargazing excursion after the festival will be led by geologist Eddie Hrncir.

A detailed schedule of tours and speakers is available on the Web site, www.whoopingcranefestival.org.

Information is also available at the chamber offices, or by calling 749-5919, or emailing info@portaransas.org.

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