Monday, April 19, 2010

Celebrate Earth Day and International Migratory Bird Day at the Park

Things have been extremely busy the last few months at the Park. In March, we hosted our first Chili Cook-off, which turned out to be a resounding success. Thanks so much to our Friends of Sylvan Heights (FOSH) Board for all their hard work, and especially to Board Members Jackie Jones and Michael Procino for organizing the event. Twelve fabulous chili entries came from different areas within the Roanoke Valley area and over 200 people attended the event to sample and vote for their favorite chili. The “Taster’s Choice Award” was won by Gra Whitehead representing Down East Animal Refuge. And the grand prize went to Carol Shields whose “Roanoke River Chili” was created using locally grown and harvested ingredients.

So far this month, the Park has enjoyed record-breaking numbers as families and friends eager to get out and enjoy the arrival of spring, have visited with picnic baskets and cameras in hand. But the birds aren’t the only things our visitors are looking at; Photographers have been spotted snapping shots of the landscaped grounds also, as tulips, azaleas and many other plants have opened their blooms to welcome the warm, spring sunshine.

This Thursday, April 22nd, is Earth Day, a global celebration of our environment. People around the world will be participating in events and activities that show a commitment to the protection and responsible stewardship of the planet. Why not celebrate by taking a little trip out to visit us and learn more about the amazing creatures that share our world?

Also, on May 1st, all members of the Park are invited to attend our annual member appreciation event, “Waterfowl Reunion,” from 9 am until noon. Join us for a fun-filled morning where you can meet our special program birds, see the new hatchlings, get hands-on with many of the young birds, and enjoy complimentary gifts and refreshments. Not a member? No problem! You can purchase your membership when you arrive. For more information on individual and family memberships, please visit our website.

Your family can even make it an all-day trip and stay for our International Migratory Bird Day celebration. The Park opens to the public at noon and visitors will be treated to an entertaining and informative program on Operation Migration, a project to help save the endangered Whooping Crane. You can read all about our ties to the project here.
Remember the movie, Fly, Away Home? In case you thought that was just a Hollywood stunt, come to the Park to learn how a similar project is carried out each year to save the Whooping Crane population in North America. Meet staff from Operation Migration and learn just how they are able to train those cranes to fly behind ultra-light airplanes. You’ll also be able to watch a handler don a crane suit and hand-feed our own young Whooping Crane! This promises to be a fun and informative program for all ages.

We hope to see you all there!

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