Pelican Island Wildlife Festival: Proudly for the birds!

The 26th annual Pelican Island Wildlife Festival last Saturday drew huge crowds to Sebastian’s Riverview Park to celebrate the 115th anniversary of Pelican Island being established as the nation’s first National Wildlife Refuge.

President Theodore Roosevelt interpreter Joe Wiegand brought ‘Teddy’ to life, relating how he had made history with the March 14, 1903, enactment to protect the area’s magnificent birds from being slaughtered for their plumage.

He appointed German-born Sebastian resident Paul Kroegel as the country’s first refuge manager.

Festival attendees enjoyed live wildlife shows, educational, historical and environmental exhibits, arts and crafts, children’s activities, viewed submissions to an Amateur Photography Contest and got out on the water with boat tours to get a closer look at Pelican Island, and the birds that call it home.

Photos by: Denise Ritchie
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