Dow Gardens Announces Birding Festival

MIDLAND, Mich. – April 3, 2019 – Birders of all abilities and expertise are invited to Midland, Michigan for the inaugural Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens Birding Festival, September 19 - 21, 2019 with registration opening on April 29, 2019. During the three-day event, attendees will learn from more than 20 distinguished conservationists, researchers, photographers, and environmental educators. Over 30 dynamic sessions will be offered on topics such as Kirtland’s Warbler Conservation, raptor identification, and birding by ear.

"This regional birding festival aligns well with the mission of Dow Gardens, its rich legacy of innovative design and programming, and long-standing mission to foster a connection between people and nature", commented Director of Dow Gardens, Elizabeth Lumbert.

The capstone of the festival is keynote speaker, David Allen Sibley, presenting The Art of Identification. Sibley is the author and illustrator of the series of successful guides to nature that bear his name, including The New York Times best seller The Sibley Guide to Birds. He has contributed art and articles to Smithsonian, Science, The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, Birding, BirdWatching, and North American Birds, and wrote and illustrated a syndicated column for The New York Times. He is also the recipient of the Roger Tory Peterson Award for Lifetime Achievement from the American Birding Association and the Linnaean Society of New York’s Eisenmann Medal. He lives in Concord, Massachusetts.

David Allen Sibley, Photo courtesy of: Erinn Hartman

A special evening reception at the recently-unveiled Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens will allow guests to join birds in the treetops on the nation’s longest canopy walk, soaring up to 40 feet above the ground. Whiting Forest features 54 acres of woodlands, ponds, apple orchard, meadows and stream along 1.5 miles of accessible pathways and additional nature trails. The Alden B. Dow-designed Whiting home welcomes guests as a Visitor Center. Other features include a playground, apple orchard, Whiting Forest Café, Snake Creek restoration and two pedestrian bridges.

“Dow Gardens is thrilled to welcome such a diverse gathering of birding experts from Michigan and beyond,” notes Kyle Bagnall, Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens Program Manager. “Our hard-working planning team is dedicated to sharing our theme of Birding for All through every aspect of this exciting festival. We look forward to hosting participants in Midland and highlighting many ways the Great Lakes Bay Region upholds its well-deserved reputation as one of the top birding destinations in the Midwest".

Experienced guides await to provide tours of wildlife refuges, nature centers, and conservancy properties throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region. Additional offerings include sailing on the Tall Ship Appledore, birding by kayak on local waterways, a family five senses walk, and golf cart tours for mobility-limited participants. Instructional workshops will be led by noted bird illustrator Catherine Hamilton, award-winning Michigan photographer David Stimac, and creative non-fiction and nature writing instructor, Dr. Kevin Koch

Accommodations: Festival guests will stay at the H Hotel, in the heart of Downtown Midland, where concurrent sessions, meals, and the keynote presentation will be held. The H Hotel is located within walking distance of many local restaurants, shops, and parks. A group rate is offered for participants.

Partners: Dow Gardens is pleased to partner with local organizations dedicated to conservation, nature education and sustainable living. Local partners include Chippewa Nature Center, Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy, Little Forks Conservancy, and Chippewa Watershed Conservancy. Additional support is provided by Go Great Lakes Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau and The Nature Conservancy.

For more information regarding the Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens Birding Festival, including a complete schedule of events, visit the website.

For media inquiries please contact Whiting Forest Program Manager, Kyle Bagnall at 989 631-2677 or via bagnall@dowgardens.org.

Cover and Image (above) © 2019 Josh Haas | www.hawksonthewing.com

About Dow Gardens

Since being established in 1899, as a home for Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow and family, the 110-acre Dow Gardens now welcomes more than 200,000 guests per year. Visitors are invited to leave the pathway and explore the uniquely-designed landscape, take a tour of the historic Pines Home, participate in one of many hands-on educational programs, and discover beautiful art and music in a relaxed setting. Dow Gardens is comprised of an Estate Garden, Exploration Garden, and Whiting Forest, which takes visitors four stories high to stroll along the nation’s longest canopy walk.

Dow Gardens is a signature gift of The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation.

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