2012-01-31 "Love of birds takes flight at annual festival held at Vallejo's Mare Island" from "Vallejo Times-Herald"
In celebration of birds, art and Mare Island, the 16th annual Flyway Festival, a three-day event centered on the former naval base, will unfurl soon.
This year's festival, celebrating the return of shorebirds, geese and hawks to the Bay Area, is Feb. 10-12. It includes nature walks, bird-watching outings, wild bird demonstrations, and art and photography exhibits.
Some Mare Island features, such as St. Peter's Chapel, will be open for tours.
"It's an unusual mix of history and nature resources -- that's the draw of Mare Island," event organizer Myrna Hayes said.
Many events take place in Building 223, at 500 Connolly St. on Mare Island.
A popular feature, Hayes said, will come from Native Bird Connections, a wild bird rehabilitation and education center based in Martinez. The center's staff will give its live birds shows at regular intervals on Saturday and Sunday at the Wildlife Expo.
A new event this year will be the screening of "Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time," by filmmakers Ann and Steve Dunsky who work at the U.S. Forest Service on Mare Island.
The first showing is 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, immediately after the art show and reception. The movie also will be screened at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11.
"Aldo Leopold is credited with being the founder of the modern habitat environmentalist movement," Hayes said. "This is definitely a big opportunity to show off an award-winning movie made by local Vallejoans," she added.
Other highlights include bird trips to Skaggs Island, the most recent addition to the San Pablo National Wildlife Refuge, plus trips to other bird-rich areas in Solano and Sonoma counties.
Another popular outing will be the self-guided wetland stroll along the San Pablo Bay Walking trail. Other Mare Island hikes include guided walks through the Navy's first ammunition depot.
Participants also can walk on the new wetlands trails along the Napa River in American Canyon. Beginners bird walks for children and families are at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, starting at the parking lot at Eucalyptus Drive and Wetlands Edge Road.
Most festival activities are free; some require pre-registration. For more information and directions, call (707) 249-9633 or (425) 279-3502 or visit www.sfbayflywayfestival.com.