At New Jersey Audubon, we care about the well-being of birds just as much as we enjoy their beauty, amazing life histories, and curious behaviors, both playful and territorial. Our festivals have always been designed for maximum enjoyment in the field combined with plentiful educational opportunities. With two virtual festivals under our belts, the 2021 Hybrid Spring Festival will be like no other. Its limited in-person one-day workshops are nearly sold out, but virtual sessions are available and we’ve added more LIVE coverage from Cape May hotspots. All the content will be brand new, with closer looks at warblers with Scott Whittle, vireos with David Weber, and shorebirds with Kevin T. Karlson and Glen Davis. New destinations include Garrett Mountain, a New Jersey gem to the north, and Heislerville, where viewers will get an intimate look at the shorebird banding process LIVE (Mother Nature willing, that is).
Cape May has so much to offer for birders, from beginners to experts, so we typically stay close to home in our programming. Who better to share what it was like to be “stuck” in Cape May during the pandemic than Mark Garland, our keynote speaker on Friday evening? He is an award-winning naturalist, author, and worldwide tour leader who happens to live in Cape May, like so many of the nation’s top birders, including tour guides, artists, authors, and scientists.
We wondered, if we were to venture farther afield, where would we go? Midway Atoll, that’s where! On Saturday evening, we’ll hear from Kelly Goodale, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service avian biologist with personal experience interacting with Wisdom the Laysan Albatross, the world’s oldest known wild bird. Our programming on Saturday also includes educational content about the importance of clean oceans, forest health, plastic bag reduction, and pollinator gardens, all of which is vital to healthy bird populations.
To top it all off, we’ll present “bird’s-eye” views of several Cape May hotspots with professionally captured drone footage.
After every event, we conduct participant surveys to gauge our success and collect feedback. Based on the most recent results, we’ve adjusted the format of the 2021 Virtual Festival to provide plentiful programming from early morning to early afternoon and a several-hour break before the evening keynote presentations. We provide closed captioning for the hearing impaired, and the ENTIRE festival is recorded and available to registrants for viewing later or watching on repeat!
About those numbers; we must be doing it right. Our 2020 Virtual Fall Festival scored a 91% Very Satisfied and 9% Satisfied rating from participants, i.e., 0% Unsatisfied. 70% found it to be an Excellent Value and 28% said it was a Good Value. Of those who had NOT visited Cape May before, fully 70% ranked it in their Top Five future destinations for birding after attending the virtual festival – and they’ll be better prepared to make the most of their visit as a result.
But wait, there’s more! We’ll have a prize drawing for a three-day weekend in Cape May, including compact binoculars, a guided walk, and miscellaneous gift certificates, plus a separate Silent Auction. This festival’s t-shirts are quite attractive and can be purchased during registration in a variety of styles.
Wait no longer and register today! It’s only $100 for members and $125 for non-members, and proceeds support New Jersey Audubon’s ongoing bird conservation work in education, research, stewardship, and policy development. Click here to register: https://cvent.me/n92WOYOriginally Published