Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
TETLIN: 4th Annual Upper Tanana Valley Migratory Bird Festival held in Tok, AK
Alaska Region, May 21, 2005
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Despite the rainy weather being more suited for ducks than people, the 4th annual Upper Tanana Migratory Bird Festival was well attended. Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge hosted the event along many community partners including Gateway After School Programs, Alaska Gateway School District, Tok Chamber of Commerce, Tok Lions, and Tok Community Library. Over 260 people participated in festival activities held at the park and visitor center in "downtown" Tok. The day began with an adult birding tour followed by a second tour geared for parents and children. An American Kestrel and its handler from the Bird Treatment Learning Center in Anchorage kicked off the day's presentations. This was their second appearance to the community after spending the previous afternoon with 118 K-6 graders at Tok School. To commemorate the Service's 50th anniversary of Waterfowl Survey, the refuge was honored to have Jim King, a 54 year Service veteran who has spent most of his career involved in waterfowl banding and surveys across Alaska. Jim gave a slide program on historic waterfowl surveys on Tetlin and Yukon Flats and how this data was used to influence important waterfowl management decisions for the state and nation. Jim was followed by a mythical "wise" Great Horned Owl presented by a local rehabilitator in Tok who has made great progress with the bird. Kids and parents then "flocked" to the park for many concurrent outdoor activities including a survey computer simulation activity with a wildlife survey biologist, face painting, owl and waterfowl "field" identification, and story telling. Afternoon attendance soared for the Young Naturalist Contest. The top five 4th graders contestants became famous conservationists (Jacques Cousteau, Teddy Roosevelt, etc.) for short presentations on their life's accomplishments. The grand finale for the festival was a choral concert "Melodious Migrations - Celebrating the Return of our Feathered Friends through Music". "The Reluctant Refugees" (10 refuge staff) opened with "Let's All Sing Like the Birdies Sing" and received encore requests. Other performing groups included the Tok Daisies Brownie Troop, and individuals and Mixed Ensemble of the Tok Choral Society singing favorite bird related songs from theater, gospel, folk and children's music.

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