Families wanting some outdoor adventure this weekend can participate in the 2017 Crane Fest at the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge.
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9, Crane Fest will feature a variety of activities ranging from archery and air rifle demos, to meeting live birds of prey, boat tours, traditional Choctaw dance and music and more.
Melissa Perez from the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge said the event will have something for every member of the family from children to adults.
“It’s a good opportunity for people to get behind the scenes of what we do here at the refuge,” Perez said. “It’s a completely free event and will have a lot of fun activities for everyone.”
Perez said some of the highlights include the live presentations with hawks, owls and falcons from the Environmental Studies Center, as well as insects from all over the world in the Audubon Institute’s BugMobile. In addition, there will be special demonstrations of traditional Choctaw dance and music, guided native plant tours and eco-tours through cruises on the bayou. If weather permits, the afternoon will finish with a prescribed burn demonstration and a discussion about how prescribed burns are used to conserve the habitat.
Running concurrently will be a Festival of Conservation, where 16 conservation-minded partner organizations from around the area will have interactive, hands-on activities and booths to celebrate 42 years of conservation.
“We can’t do it alone,” Perez said. “This is a chance for visitors to meet our partners and see the work they do, too.”
Perez said the pine savanna habitat at the refuge is extremely unique to the area and the United States, and the festival hopes to create a greater appreciation of it and the conservation efforts through all the different activities and presentations.
“This will be a great educational open house event,” Perez said. “It also offers the chance for families to get outdoors and have fun.”
For more information about the event visit httpss://www.fws.gov/refuge/Mississippi_Sandhill_Crane/visitor_activities/40th_Anniversary_Celebration/.