Artists wing it at Indian River Bird & Nature show

The fourth annual Indian River Bird & Nature Art Show took flight at the Sebastian River Art Club last weekend. The juried art show, hosted this year by the Sebastian River Art Club and the Pelican Island Preservation Society is literally for the birds. The show is held in celebration of National Wildlife Refuge Week, always the second full week of October.

“This was our biggest show ever with 100 submissions,” said Debbie Avery, event organizer. “People are drawn to birds because they are familiar and they’re easy to interact with. It’s something you can do anywhere you go.”

The art show featured birds and other nature-themed artwork, with proceeds benefiting the art club and PIPS, a nonprofit citizen support organization, supports and promotes the efforts of the local Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, and the National Wildlife Refuge System in general, to conserve habitat and wildlife.

“This is the perfect partnership,” explained Tim Glover, PIPS treasurer. “PIPS is focused on the environmental aspect of preserving wildlife and the Sebastian River Art Club preserves nature through their art.”

PIPS is an environmental education organization formed in 1993 to raise awareness about the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1903. Its volunteers conduct environmental education workshops and they host the annual Pelican Island Wildlife Festival each March at Sebastian’s Riverview Park, across the water from the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, to celebrate the anniversary of its establishment. As the nation’s first wildlife refuge, Pelican Island was the basis for the development of the National Wildlife Refuge System, which now numbers more than 500 in the United States.

The two-day art show began with a Plein Air paint out Friday, with artists spending the day immersed in native flora and fauna at the North Sebastian Conservation Area adjacent to the SRAC or in Vero Beach at the Pelican Island Refuge area. Friday evening guests enjoyed a reception at the art club, perusing show submissions which captured the essence of nature in a variety of mediums. Roseate spoonbills waded in the shallows, dolphins frolicked in the clear blue water and osprey soared through the air.

Toni Hill took Best in Show for her digital watercolor “Stick Marsh Egret”; Lorrie Goss received first place for her 3-D sculpture “Nurturing Family” in hand-sculpted clay; the Plein Air winner was Vicky Lada for her “Sebastian Garden” in acrylic, and Carol Hansen’s photo “Happy Birth Day” of a sea turtle emerging from its egg received first place in the photography category.

Saturday’s agenda included a Florida Scrub Jay walk with Jane Schnee at the North Sebastian Conservation Area, and keynote speaker Missi Hatfield discussed the “Migratory Bird Treaty – 100 Years of Conservation” during an afternoon gathering at Capt. Hiram’s.

For information about the Pelican Island Wildlife Refuge and the Pelican Island Preservation Society, visit firstrefuge.org. For information about Sebastian River Art Club, visit sebastianriverartclub.com.     

Photos by: Stephanie Labaff
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