Contact: Bonnie Strawser - 252-473-1131
News ReleaseFebruary 2, 2006
Wings Over Water Gains Outer Banks Sentinel as New Partner
Photo credit: Bonnie Strawser, FWS
Wings Over Water Coordinator Ann Marie Salewski (right) and Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce Vice President Angie Brady-Daniels (center) welcome Sandy Seamans, Editor for the Outer Banks Sentinel, as a sponsor for Wings Over Water. Proud sponsors for the event also include the Carolina Bird Club, the Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society, and the National Park Service.
It was a sunny day in early November when Sandy Seamans accompanied her husband, Jay Ross, to Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge to greet visitors on the final day of the Wings Over Water birding and nature festival. For almost five hours, they chatted with festival participants, handed out cups of coffee, and learned more about the festival from coordinator Ann Marie Salewski. From that simple interaction, a great partnership for Wings Over Water was born.
For Sandy, editor of the Outer Banks Sentinel, it was a real eye-opener. “Until I sat down and talked with Ann Marie, I didn’t realize how large the scope of the festival was,” Sandy explains. “It seems like a great opportunity for the Sentinel to help Dare County promote the shoulder season. And what’s good for Dare County is good for the Sentinel!” Although her husband is both a birder and a volunteer at Pea Island, Sandy is not, but she saw the potential impact that hundreds of birders could have on local businesses. She offered to contribute all the printing and publishing to the event, as well as donating her time, resources, and expertise to develop other forms of marketing for the six-day birding festival.
The Sentinel will print and distribute a full-color Wings Over Water publication, sponsor Internet and print advertising through American Birding, and sponsor print ads in North Carolina and Virginia newspapers. WOW partners hope that the new effort in advertising will attract even more birders to the growing number of Wings Over Water participants that come out each year.
“We are very excited about the Sentinel’s co-sponsorship of the Wings Over Water festival,” said Ann Marie Salewski, festival coordinator. “They bring to the table a set of skills that we have sorely missed. Sentinel's editorial and marketing knowledge combined with the Chamber's expertise in public relations and dealing with the public will make a world of difference in promoting what we know will be our best event ever. The Sentinel and Chamber already have an established working relationship through their cooperative efforts working to promote other shoulder season projects. Those combined strengths and experience added to our knowledge of the resource translates into truly a WOW year!"
The Wings Over Water festival targets the birding population, a very quickly and quietly growing segment of our local economy. According to demographics from the American Birding Association and the Audubon Society, the majority of birding enthusiasts are over age 45, have an average income ranging from $60,000 to $90,000, are well educated and over seventy percent traveled domestically within the past year. Many of those trips were to take advantage of birding opportunities. Birding has the potential to be one of the largest and cleanest segments of the tourist and visitor industries on the Outer Banks. The participants have the time, money and interest; the only thing missing is a link in the chain of disseminating information to them. The Sentinel has generously stepped in to fill that gap, and in doing so, joins a proud group of Wings Over Water sponsors that include the Carolina Bird Club, the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society.
This year’s Wings Over Water is scheduled for November 7-12, 2006. WOW sponsors are busy planning the events for this year’s festival and the schedule should be available by late March at www.wingsoverwater.org. For more information about ways you might contribute to Wings Over Water, contact Ann Marie Salewski at 252-987-1118 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.