Migratory Bird Festival at University Saturday

POSTED: 10/7/14 2:00 AM
Guests of this Saturday’s Migratory Bird Festival will enjoy spotting winged wildlife on bird walks led by a professional birding guide. Photo Tim Chin

GRAND CASE/ST.MARTIN – The 2014 Migratory Bird Festival takes place this upcoming Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon at the University of St. Martin on Pond Island. It is a free, public wildlife discovery event created by Les Fruits de Mer for locals and tourists alike. Visitors will learn about the marvelous migratory birds that travel thousands of miles each year to visit or spend the winter in St. Martin.

The festival will offer a full array of activities designed and lead by naturalists, bird specialists, and other wildlife aficionados. “It’s a great opportunity to learn about migratory birds from experts,” says Les Fruits de Mer President Jennifer Yerkes. “We’d like to welcome everyone to come out and enjoy the day, and discover a bit about these phenomenal birds that connect the Americas and this island with their amazing journeys.”

Event-goers can learn about the migratory birds on St. Martin and the unique wetland environments that attract them at the Festival’s multimedia migratory bird presentation, which will also spotlight how the island’s salt pond environments link nature, culture, and history. The presentation will be given regularly throughout the festival by Mark Yokoyama, Les Fruits de Mer co-founder and author of The Incomplete Guide to the Wildlife of St. Martin.

Local bird specialist and professional birding guide Binkie van Es of Sint Maarten Birding will lead birding tours of the Great Salt Pond, where event-goers can discover how to look and listen for migratory bird species and practice bird-watching skills to use on future outings. Tours will leave regularly throughout the event and will be available in French, English, and Dutch. Attendees who plan to go on a birding tour are recommended to bring sturdy shoes, a water bottle and their own pair of binoculars. There will be binoculars available for sharing on the tours.

The Festival’s “Portable Pond” Observation Station will give adults and kids an unforgettable opportunity to get up-close and personal with the aquatic insects, crabs, and other small animals that many of St. Martin’s migratory birds eat when they arrive hungry after their long journey to the island.

People of all ages can participate in the creative activities inspired by migratory birds, including coloring, sketching, and the Build-A-Bird mobile craft. Younger kids will enjoy coloring and activity pages designed by local artists featuring migratory birds, and older children and adults will be able to craft their own bird mobiles.

The University of St. Martin is located in the middle of the Great Salt Pond, the seasonal home of many migratory bird species. USM has been offering students the opportunity to discover their potential and helping them realize their academic and professional goals for over two decades, and is committed to the continuous development of programs that will improve the quality of life for the people of this island and the region.

The 2014 Migratory Bird Festival will also host the award ceremony for the Birds of St. Martin Photo, Drawing, and Writing Competition organized by Sea Grape Tours for kids ages 7-13. Entries will be on display.

The Migratory Bird Festival is part of International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD), which includes festivities throughout the Americas, from Canada to South America. The international organizer of IMBD is Environment for the Americas, and the regional organizer is Birds Caribbean, largest regional conservation organization in Caribbean. The Migratory Bird Festival was created by Les Fruits de Mer as St. Martin’s own local annual celebration of IMBD.




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