Pelican Island Preservation Society, ELC host Birding Festival Oct. 16-17

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Pelican Island Preservation Society is partnering with the Environmental Learning Center (ELC) to bring the first Indian River Birding Festival Oct. 16-17.

The event kicks off Friday at 5 p.m. with a sale of the day’s Plein Air artists work, registration and reception.

Then attendees can join naturalists David and Dee Simpson at 6:45 p.m. Friday for a special opportunity to see the critters of the night at ELC. Start the tour with a short talk about what might be seen and heard, including bats, flying squirrels, frogs, owls and more.

Participants can then take a stroll around the grounds. Bring flashlights and insect repellent. Insects can be quite prevalent in October. Or stay at the ELC classroom for a lecture by Steve Schubert on “Crested Caracara” monitoring in Florida and elsewhere at 7 p.m.

Saturday starts at 6:30 a.m. with an ELC Campus Walk. In 1989 ELC’s campus looked like lunar landscape. It had been so choked out with invasive species (Brazilian Pepper and Australian Pine) that it would have been prohibitively expensive to try and save the minimal scraggly natives that were around. So, the slate was wiped clean and thoughtfully landscaped, using only natives.

The uplands and hammock portions of the campus have become well established and a compact area great for birding. This walk will take place before the center is open to the general public, so participants will have the campus to themselves.

For full details of the Festival and a list of all the tours see http://firstrefuge.org/events then go to the Indian River Birding Festival. Visitors can sign up by using the Donate button and enter the amount of the tour, or by mailing a check. Email debbieainvero@gmail.com for more information.

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