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Wild America Nature Festival 2018

Posted on Jun 27, 2018

World famous naturalist and Chautauqua County native, Roger Tory Peterson, is renowned for helping forge the modern environmental movement and knew how to motivate positive change in others. Roger once said “the truth of the matter is, the birds could very well live without us, but many — perhaps all — of us would find life incomplete, indeed almost intolerable without the birds.” Roger understood the deep connection people have with the natural world and knew that this emotional connection was the key to convincing people to take steps to protect the environment.

Roger Tory Peterson’s Wild America Nature Festival (July 28 & 29 at Panama Rocks) was created to help strengthen our emotional connection to the natural world and inspire us to take steps to protect our environment. This year, the festival’s keynote speakers will focus on a variety of topics that build these connections. Roger Tory’s youngest son, Lee Peterson, author of the Peterson Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants will give a presentation on Roger’s life and lead a walk discussing edible wild plants. Nationally best-selling author of “The Genius of Birds”, Jennifer Ackerman, will delve into her research on avian intelligence and how birds make and use their own tools, teach one another new skills, count, navigate, exercise astonishing feats of memory, create works of art, communicate in ways that resemble language, and even pass along cultural traditions. Nationally-renowned animal expert and handler, Jeff Musial, will present a variety of his rescued animals.

The festival’s Nature Art & Craft Show features over 50 artists presenting paintings and illustration, jewelry, ceramics, woodworking, felted animals, glass art, metal-working, and more. Many of the festival’s artists and master crafters have won national and international awards for their art that, at a variety of prices for all guests, portrays the beauty and value of the natural world.

The festival’s Local Food Cook-Off, sponsored by Edible Western New York, features Reverie Creamery, Ellicottville Brewing Company (EBC) West, Green Heron Growers, Labyrinth Press Company, Superfresh! Organic Café, and White Carrot Restaurant crafting unique dishes featuring locally-sourced food. In addition to the Local Food Cook-Off, the festival has a Farmer’s Market where guests can buy delicious fresh fruits, vegetables, snacks, and other farm products. Food is one of our most personal and important connections to the land. By using and highlighting locally sourced food from small farms, we hope to encourage guests to support local, sustainably grown products.

Paul Fehringer of Wild Spirit Education

In addition to these highlights, guests can explore Panama Rocks; American Hawkeye and Wild Spirit Education will amaze guests with both rehabilitated and free-flying birds of prey; the Audubon Community Nature Center will host a youth area for the young and young at heart to explore nature and natural artifacts (and more live animals); internationally-renown scientist Dr. Sherri “Sam” Mason will present her ground-breaking research on the dangers of plastic pollution and what you can do to help; artist and outdoorsman Alberto Rey will give a presentation of his past and present projects on art, environmental issues, and community interaction; Dr. Twan Leenders of RTPI will give presentations on “Wild America in our Backyard,” which highlights the cool and surprising natural things found in our neighborhoods; guests can participate in a number of classes and workshops on topics such as gardening, native plants, meditation, yoga, bushcraft, & more.

Festival hosts Panama Rocks Scenic Park and the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History (RTPI) hope that Roger Tory Peterson’s Wild America Nature Festival will raise awareness of wild America through education and art, encourage sustainable enjoyment of the environment, and promote conservation of our natural world. The festival is sponsored by Edible Western New York, Edwards Insurance, Erie Times-News, Jamestown Mattress, Media One Group, and the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation. For more information, please visit https://www.wildamericafest.com/.