Experts will be on hand to discuss creating habitat and attracting hummingbirds and other wildlife. Rare and native plants will be available for purchase, and visitors can enjoy seeing hundreds of hummingbirds in the center's lush native gardens.
The Strawberry Plains Audubon Center is the perfect site for Ruby-throated Hummingbirds to stop and refuel before their grueling non-stop flights across the Gulf of Mexico. The historic antebellum plantation with an abundance of native plants and feeders provides the insects and nectar that help hummingbirds gain the weight required for their 22-hour Gulf crossing.
Traveling up to 2,500 miles each fall, hummingbirds delight us in our backyards and more importantly, have become ambassadors for the needs of other wildlife species. “Once people decide to protect and conserve hummingbirds, they start protecting and conserving other species, from insects to native plants,” said Andrea Schuhmann, outreach director at Strawberry Plains Audubon Center. “This festival is a celebration of all things wild, a wonderful way to spend a day in a truly historic place.”
The festival draws expert speakers from across the country to present on snakes, bats, birds, insects and plants. Local artisans will display nature-inspired crafts. And visitors can watch Bob Sargent and his team from the Hummer/Bird Study Group put leg bands on hummingbirds in order to track their travels. The tiny numbered bands enable scientists to determine how far south the birds go for winter, where they stop during their travels and whether they return to the same sites year after year.
Native-plant and wildlife experts will be answering questions about what kind of plants appeal to birds, how to place feeders for maximum benefits and why indigenous plants are easier to maintain. A large variety of native plants will be for sale at the festival.
“Once you have experienced this beautiful event, you are sure to go away with a new reverence for the natural world,” said Strawberry Plains Audubon Center Interim Director Madge Lindsay. “The festival includes something for the entire family while demonstrating through this spectacular natural model how one might restore their backyard or farm landscape to habitat for wildlife and birds. It is one of a kind, and it’s beautiful!”
Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, $5 for children age 5-12; admission for 12-passenger vans and buses is $10 per person. Parking is free, and concessions are available.
For more information visit http://strawberryplains.audubon.org or call 662-252-1155.
Strawberry Plains Audubon Center works with landowners to develop habitat management plans that will help future generations enjoy the economic and social benefits that clean water and a natural environment provide. Strawberry Plains is committed to providing education to students of all ages. In a watershed facing rapid development, future generations will inherit sufficient clean water, native wildlife populations and a legacy of stewardship.