Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival

Article posted on Wed. Jan. 16th, 2013

The 2013 Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival is proud to announce naturalist and storyteller Brian "Fox" Ellis as a featured presenter at the festival on January 19–20. The Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival is a celebration of the thousands of Sandhill Cranes that migrate through or spend the winter on the Hiwassee Refuge in Birchwood, TN, as well as the rich wildlife heritage and the Native American history of the area. The festival will be held from 8AM – 6 PM both days, and is free to the public.

In addition to providing an unparalleled opportunity to view tens of thousands of sandhill cranes as well as some whooping cranes, bald eagles at the refuge, the Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival features a full schedule of entertainment and educational programs at the Birchwood School, Cherokee Removal Memorial and the Hiwassee Refuge.

As part of its schedule, the festival will showcase the talents of Brian "Fox" Ellis, an internationally renowned storyteller and naturalist who has been a featured speaker at regional and international conferences on environmental concerns. He is the author of 15 books, including the critically acclaimed "Learning From the Land: Teaching Ecology Through Stories and Activities." Many of his stories are also available on one of 12 CDs. His first children's picture book, "THE WEB at Dragonfly Pond" was selected as Conservation Education Book of the Year. www.foxtalesint.com

During Ellis's visit, he will present special student programs preceding the festival, and then perform two different programs each day during the festival at Birchwood Elementary School. These programs include "Crane Tales" and "Adventures with Audubon," as he portrays one of America's greatest naturalists and wildlife artists. He will also offer a "Bird is the Word" workshop on creative writing and a program of "Cherokee Tales" at the Cherokee Memorial Museum.

The Birchwood Elementary School will serve as a major point of interest during the festival, providing parking for shuttle transportation as well as offering a full schedule of entertainment and programming throughout the weekend. The school gymnasium will host children's activities, vending and exhibits from festival sponsors, and music. Highlights will include a live raptor show by "The American Eagle Foundation, featuring some of the many birds of prey rehabilitated by their team after being found injured across the nation. Musical entertainment by Don King will be showcased as well as a performance by local traditional music expert, Tom Morgan, who, along with Lynne Haas and Ray Branhan, will perform some traditional western and bluegrass songs and provide a "hands on" session" for children. Food service will be provided on Saturday in the school cafeteria.

The school library will offer ongoing films and workshops on Tennessee wildlife and presentations from Operation Migration.

The neighboring Cherokee Removal Memorial will host Native American performances and demonstrations on both Saturday and Sunday. Demonstrations include traditional finger weaving by Tonya Dockery and arrowhead making by the Flint Knappers. Native American artifacts, tools and other cultural items will be on display and demonstrated. A variety of vendors will also be on hand selling everything from dream catchers to jewelry.

A full festival program schedule and driving directions to Birchwood Elementary School may be found at

http://www.TNcranefestival.org.

During the festival, the refuge will only be accessible by shuttle buses, which pick up at Birchwood School starting at 8 a.m. With the exception of a limited number of parking spaces for the physically disabled and for volunteers, there will be no automobiles permitted at the refuge on January 19 and 20. Otherwise the Hiwassee Refuge, owned and managed by Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, is open daily to the public throughout the year.

The Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival on January 19 and 20 will offer an unforgettable occasion for families and bird watchers alike to view thousands of the spectacular sandhill cranes and enjoy entertaining programs about wildlife from the area. The possibility of seeing a rare Whooping Crane also exists.

Presenting sponsors of this free family event are the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the Tennessee Ornithological Society, and the Barbara J. Mapp Foundation in partnership with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation, Birchwood Community and the Birchwood School, the Cherokee Removal Memorial, Blue Moon Cruises, Meigs and Rhea County Tourism, and others.

BIRCHWOOD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

5623 Hwy 60 - Chattanooga, TN

423-618-1238

Price: Free

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