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It's time to celebrate! Nature festivals sizzle

If you haven't attended a nature festival recently, you've missed out on a growing phenomenon filled with wonder, wildness and whispers! These festivals are by nature...well, natural! :-) And they are local. Many people travel to favorite spots, but local enthusiasts are the core supporters and beneficiaries of these well-positioned peeks into nature.

The Kern River Valley is in central California and the following festival announcement gives you some idea of the treasures that await you at regional nature festivals -- whether they focus on wildlife, wildflowers, water or natural wisdom.

2007 KERN RIVER VALLEY SPRING NATURE FESTIVAL

Friday-Monday, April 27-30, 2007
13th Annual Kern River Valley Spring Nature Festival
Audubon-California's 3200+ acre Kern River Preserve along the South Fork Kern River in north-central Kern County, California.

Formerly known as the BioFest, this festival celebrates a Globally Important Bird Area that has garnered international recognition for its natural diversity, one that Miyoko Chu, in her book Songbird Journeys: Fours Seasons in the Lives of Migratory Birds, is one of two in the Western Hemisphere she recommends to visit to observe songbirds during spring and summer nesting season. Two hundred thirty-seven (237) bird species were tallied during last year's four day festival, a remarkable number for an inland location.

Besides the Kern River Preserve, field trip destinations include Audubon-California's 156-acre Kelso Creek Sanctuary, Butterbredt Spring, Canebrake Ecological Reserve, Chimney Peak National Backcountry Byway, Kern National Wildlife Refuge, and Sequoia National Forest. Habitats to be visited and birds on hand are representative of the California Chaparral, Central Valley, Great Basin, Mojave Desert, and Sierra Nevada. All are within a few miles of each other from a center in the South Fork Valley.

The 2007 KRV Nature Fest's web pages may be found by going to: http://kern.audubon.org/bioregionactivities.htm. A full slate of field trips is scheduled for all four days of the festival including a record five owling trips. Check out the web site to see what is already scheduled and visit it periodically through to the April 27th start of the festival to see what new has been added.

Birds are not the only attraction. The Kern River Valley/Southern Sierra Nevada is also known widely for its diversity of butterflies, mammals, moths, plants, and reptiles. The KRV Nature Fest strives to celebrate all the natural diversity of this amazing region through children's activities, demonstrations, evening dinner programs, field trips, informational exhibits, music, special presentations, and workshops.

Featured dinner program speakers this year are Fred Heath presenting An Introduction to the Butterflies of the Kern River Valley and Southern Sierra Nevada and Nature Ali, Alison Sheehey, presenting Big Picture in a Small Frame: The Natural History of Kern County and the Southern Sierra Nevada.

Festival artwork this year has once again been provided by John Schmitt, internationally known bird artist, feather expert, field ornithologist, trip leader, and Kern River Valley resident. John's Wrens of the Kern River Valley and Southern Sierra Nevada artwork may be previewed on festival web pages.

Bob Steele, nationally recognized bird photographer, will offer two photography workshops on Saturday, a morning Basic Bird Photography Workshop at the Kern River Preserve and an afternoon Advanced Bird Photography Workshop emphasizing photographing birds in flight at Isabella Lake.

Field trip leaders to date are Bob Barnes, Gary File, Mary Freeman, Nick Freeman, Fred Heath, Kerncrest Audubon Society members, Fletcher Linton, Dan Lockshaw, Michael McQuerrey, Gary Potter, Roy Poucher, John Schmitt, Alison Sheehey, Steve Sosensky, Southern Sierra Research Station staff, Bob Steele, Susan Steele, and Reed Tollefson.

For more information contact: Alison Sheehey, KRV Spring Nature Festival Coordinator (E-mail: krpfriends@lightspeed.net, Phone: 760-378-2029), or Bob Barnes, Nature Fest Field Trips Coordinator (E-mail: bbarnes@lightspeed.net, Phone: 760-375-6140).