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AK MARITIME: Return of Shorebirds Celebration
Alaska Region, May 9, 2004
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Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge celebrated the return of shorebirds with its 12th annual Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival during May 6-9, 2004. Some 3,500 festival participants chose from over 50 different events at Alaska's largest wildlife festival, from advanced ornithology workshops, beginning birding presentations, field trips and boat tours, to art gallery events and children's activities. The festival is an award-winning community partnership co-sponsored with the Homer Chamber of Commerce. Several events took place at the refuge's new state of the art headquarters facility in Homer, the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center.

Keynote speaker Pete Dunne, Director of the Cape May Bird Observatory in New Jersey and author of seven books, led a sold-out birding tour and entertained an audience of 500 birding enthusiasts with stories from one of his recent books honoring Roger Tory Peterson. A sketching workshop and presentation on the Pribilofs were given by the festival's featured artist Ram Papish, who created the 2004 International Migratory Bird Day poster (www.birdday.org). The poster highlights colonial nesting seabirds and waterbirds, which Ram has studied for many years along the Oregon coast and as a field technician for the Alaska Maritime NWR.

Hundreds of thousands of shorebirds, representing over 25 species from as far as Asia, Hawaii and South America use sites around Kachemak Bay as feeding grounds during their spring migration. Thanks in part to the sustained enthusiasm of the annual festival, Kachemak Bay has become renowned for its critical shorebird habitat, resulting in its designation as part of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network. For more information about the festival, please visit http://homeralaska.org/shorebird.htm or contact Poppy Benson, Alaska Maritime NWR Public Programs Coordinator, at 907-235-6546 or e-mail poppy_benson@fws.gov.

Contact Info: Kristen Gilbert, 907-786-3391, Kristen_Gilbert@fws.gov



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