Take Field Trips to National, State and Private Natural Areas Throughout the Keys
The Florida Keys Birding and Wildlife Festival is a family-friendly event that features field trips to national, state and private natural areas throughout the Keys. The 2012 event is Sept. 27-30 at Marathon’s oceanfront preserve, Curry Hammock State Park, mile marker (MM) 56.2.
The event was created for outdoor enthusiasts, nature photographers and bird watchers.
Field trips include free backcountry birding and wildlife tours of Florida Bay by Everglades National Park, botanical and photography tours of the Lower Keys’ National Key Deer Refuge, and guided walks in Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock State Park.
Here’s a rundown on the activities:
• Thursday, Sept. 27:
The festival’s primary program is an RSVP-only evening that feature “The Perils and Pitfalls of Birding” with keynote speaker Bill Thompson III, editor of Bird Watcher’s Digest. It begins at 7 p.m. and is held at Key Largo’s John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, MM 100.
• Saturday, Sept. 29:
– Guided birding walks and activities and free-admission to the popular Environmental Fair and Family Day at Curry Hammock (10 a.m.- 3 p.m.).
– Wildlife photographers Dick Fortune and Sara Lopez “Through the Lens,” a birds and wildlife photography presentation. A wine and cheese social begins at 6 p.m., followed by the program from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The event is at the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden, MM 5 gulfside.
• Sunday, Sept. 30:
– An all-day birding and wildlife photography excursion to Dry Tortugas National Park.. A ferry to the remote birders’ paradise boards at 7:30 a.m. in Key West and returns around 5 p.m. Reservations are required and space is limited to two groups of 20 people each.
– Curry Hammock Pedal and Paddle, a leisurely four-mile paddle around Little Crawl and Deer Keys, as well as participate in a short beach cleanup.. 10 a.m-noon.
The entrance fee at Curry Hammock State Park is to be waived for festival registrants. Event registration fees apply for daytime programs and field trips.
Event website: www.keysbirdingfest.org.