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Since 2002, our annual Festival takes place during spring bird migration, in and around the picturesque mountains and valleys of the New River Gorge National River in West Virginia. The same area was named one of the "Top 13 Landscapes of 2013" by Smithsonian's Aerial America. On the evening of December 21, 2020, the New River Gorge National River in Fayette and Raleigh counties was officially designated the New River National Park & Preserve, becoming the 63rd National Park and the 20th National Preserve in the United States.
Our beloved deciduous forests provide stopover habitat for migrating birds that Cornell Lab of Ornithology identified as crucial for the continued survival of species such as Golden-winged Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler, Swainson's Warbler, and the Scarlet Tanager. And, it's among the very best places to see Kentucky Warblers, Cerulean Warblers, and Swainson’s Warblers.
It's been called the Grand Canyon of the East, and the Costa Rica of the North. We call it home.
Rachel Davis, Geoff Heeter, Keith Richardson, and Paul Shaw are coordinators of the Festival and outdoor environmental education Nature Center events as a team of hosts, guides, naturalists, and volunteers. We each operate our own small businesses, are otherwise employed, and we enjoy spending time observing the birds, wildlife, and plants with whom we share our wild and wonderful home in almost heaven WV. We love to share it with bird watchers from everywhere during Festival week and we're happy to offer this advice to birding on your own in the National Park.
Read "Our Newest National Park - and West Virginia's First - Is Fantastic for Birding" by Joe Trezza for Audobon Magazine, published February 2021.