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Wild America Nature Festival July 29th & 30th

Posted on Jul 18, 2017

​The Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History (RTPI) and Panama Rocks Scenic Park will co-host the first annual Wild America Nature Festival at Panama Rocks on July 29th & 30th. The festival will feature nationally-renowned speakers; a juried fine nature art and craft show and competition; a local food cook-off competition and farmer’s market; live music; live animals, and classes, workshops, and fun activities for all ages! 

Art lovers will not want to miss the festival’s Wild America Fine Nature Art and Craft Show & Competition, which will feature 40 local, regional, and nationally prominent artists whose work either focuses on nature as a subject area or utilizes natural, organic materials such as wood or clay. The show will feature painters, photographers, ceramic artists, woodworkers, gourd art, and more.

​Another highlight of the Wild America Nature Festival will be the Wild America Local Food Cook-Off, which is sponsored by Edible Western New York. Food vendors (The White Carrot, Labyrinth Press Company, Green Heron Growers, Reverie Creamery, and Superfresh! Organic Cafe) will serve both samples and full meals made from delicious, locally-sourced food. Farmers and local food producers will be present selling locally grown food and craft delicacies – the festival is currently accepting applications for local farmers to participate. With a wide variety of quality, fresh food, everyone from picky eaters to veteran foodies will find something to love. This is not your average festival food!

The Wild America Nature Festival’s keynote speakers include nationally acclaimed authors, Dr. Douglas Tallamy and Michael Phillips, and nationally recognized artists, Thomas Paquette and Michael DiGiorgio.

​Douglas Tallamy is professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware where he has researched the relationship between insects and plants and how it impacts the diversity of animal communities. Tallamy won the Silver Medal from the Garden Writer’s Association for his book, “Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife With Native Plants (2007),” which has been among the top 4 best-selling books on Amazon in the Landscape category for the last 10 years. Bringing Nature Home has sparked a national conversation about the link between healthy local ecosystems and human well-being. “You don’t have to save biodiversity for a living,” said Tallamy “but please consider saving it where you live.” At the Wild America Nature Festival, Dr. Tallamy will discuss the topic of his book and provide practical advice on how YOU can sustain native wildlife with native plants.

Orchardist and author Michael Phillips is the nation’s leading scholar advancing “organic’s final frontier” and uncovering how to effectively grow good fruit without harmful chemicals. His books include “The Apple Grower: A Guide for the Organic Orchardist (1998),” “The Holistic Orchard: Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way (2012),” and “Mycorrhizal Planet: How Fungi and Plants Work Together (just released in 2017).” Phillips shows us that is possible to grow fruit without toxic chemicals using methods developed by modern scientific research and innovation. “Prospects for growing healthy fruit are excellent when you understand how Nature works, which also means the fruit we grow will be that much more flavorful” says Phillips. In addition to two public talks (Growing Healthy Fruit and Biological Alchemy – one each day), Phillips will teach four specialized workshops (Orchard Ecosystem, Tree Fruit Cultivars and Rootstock for Western New York, Taking on Pests Organically, and Holistic Disease Management) at the festival that can help homesteaders and small diversified farmers get started growing holistically. ​​

A collage highlighting some of the Wild America Nature Festival attractions.

​Michael DiGiorgio’s paintings and drawings have appeared in a variety of nature books, journals and solo exhibitions at prestigious museums throughout the United States. He won the first ever endowment award from the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia for recognition of his Bird Illustration work, which was given in memory of his friend and mentor, renown naturalist and painter Don Eckelberry. DiGiorgio is currently illustrating plates for a new guide to Brazil with Robert Ridgley and Guy Tudor. At the Wild America Nature Festival, he will present a talk on his personal journey as a nature and wildlife artist, conduct a painting/drawing demonstration, and teach a workshop on how to draw birds.

Thomas Paquette draws inspiration from the natural world immediately surrounding him in the Allegheny National Forest, and just as frequently from more distant excursions. His landscape paintings have been featured in more than fifty solo exhibitions in prominent galleries and museums both in the United States and internationally. Thomas is currently working on paintings from the entire length of the Mississippi, which will show in 2018-19. At the Wild America Nature Festival he will discuss his current project of painting the Mississippi River for upcoming solo museum exhibitions, and the need to preserve our watersheds and the current tenuous nature of our environmental laws and regulations.

A view of the rocks at Panama Rocks Scenic Park

​In addition to featured guest speakers, art, and food, the Wild America Nature Festival will feature a variety of attractions, talks, workshops, and family friendly activities fun for all ages. The Erie Zoo will bring biofacts and animals native to North America. Wild Spirit Education and American Hawkeye will present wild birds of prey, including hawks, owls, and vultures, for festival guests to meet. Watch out for flight demonstrations! Naturalists and volunteers from Audubon Community Nature Center will be on hand to teach kids of all ages about trees and rocks, guide your exploration of natural artifacts, help you build a structure for wildlife, and introduce you to one or more of their education animals. Many additional local and regional organizations such as the Greystone Nature Preserve, Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Seneca-Iroquois National Museum, the Harmony Historical Society, Sarah Sorci of Sweet Flag Herbs and others will be at the Wild America Nature Festival teaching workshops or hosting activities.

Original and traditional folk music will be performed by Steel Rails and Davis and Eng, and Ellen Paquette will play traditional Celtic harp.

Fore information about the festival, visit www.wildamericafest.com
Tickets may be purchased at http://www.wildamericafest.com/admission.html
A complete festival schedule can be found at http://www.wildamericafest.com/festival-schedule.html