Those who attend the New River Birding & Nature Festival quickly discover the key components at the very root of the experience we provide: hospitality to meet the interests and needs of our guests; promoting our area as a great place to live, learn, work and play; and being proactive in efforts to conserve the resources that bring colorful migrant birds our way each spring. These are the values that drive our efforts to provide an experience that is as good as it can be, every spring since 2002.
We pride ourselves in putting as many birds in the scope as possible, for as many of our participants as possible, to enjoy the moments and share the experiences of discovery. Field trips with a maximum of 25 guests (many are just 10) and a minimum of two guides, depart daily with the expectation of experiencing a great day of bird and nature watching. We're not about buses speeding down the road just to put tick marks on a checklist while peering out the windows... but that can be fun, too!
From the great food to making lifelong friends, as Bill Thompson III (editor of Bird Watcher’s Digest) described it, the Festival is "a down home, summer camp for birders where you never want to go home." The hosts, guides, guests and volunteers leave on a first-name basis with heart-felt wishes to see one another again.
Geoff, Rachel, Keith, Paul, Jodi, and the volunteers have had the good fortune to be touched by the many friendships that have grown from it. Because it means so much to us, it's easy to assure you that we do our best to deliver outstanding bird and nature watching experiences and help create fond memories for the time you invest with us. We want to show you the lush southern West Virginia countryside and we hope you enjoy rest in the place we are proud to call home.
As you know, there is a delicate balance that must be maintained to sustain the woodland habitat of the warblers and other birds that draw your attention here on their migratory path and nesting grounds. We know you agree that educating today's youth builds appreciation tomorrow. We share our environmental knowledge with our guests as well and with local youth and communities. Through the years, thousands of students have heard from us in various ways that birds and the habitat they depend on are beautiful resources that can be a part of their future if they strive to maintain it and it's all great fun to discover and watch! Participation in any of our events helps provide funding for environmental education and leadership training to the youth in our communities in Fayette County, WV and beyond.
The Festival began as an idea conceived by our guru Dave Pollard in 2000 and hatched in 2002 with the help of his wife and friends, including Bill Thompson, Jr. and Geoff Heeter. As the Festival fledged and molted over the first few years, Rachel Davis, Keith Richardson, and Paul Shaw formed the Festival team. Dave and Lynn retired in 2016. Jodi French-Burr joined in 2022. Geoff, Rachel, Keith, Paul, and Jodi continue to evolve the Festival with savvy and enthusiasm!