Photos are worth a thousand farewells at Viera Wetlands Nature Festival


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Harry Behret faces the daunting task of singling out select works of award-winning photographer and Florida Master Naturalist Charlie Corbeil for display at the April 26 Viera Wetlands Nature Festival.

Viera Voice Linda Behret

There is something missing and something added to the 2014 annual Viera Wetlands Nature Festival, set for 1 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, April 26.  Organized by the Natural Resources Management Department  through the Brevard County BRAVE volunteer program, this family-friendly event will feature nature exhibits, children’s games, food vendors, live animals, and tours of the wetlands and adjacent water reclamation facility

Missing is cornerstone volunteer and Florida Master Naturalist Charlie Corbeil, a Viera resident and unofficial docent who welcomed visitors to the wetlands locally and from across the globe, and held nature photography workshops and led tours at each festival. 

Added will be a new street entering into the wetlands named Charlie Corbeil Way to mark a well-lived life. It ended unexpectedly late last year.

“It won’t be the same this year, but now it will always be special,” said Harry Behret, Corbeil’s close friend and fellow photographer. Behret will organize a showing of Corbeil’s photographic work at the festival and will coordinate a large group of photographers traveling in for the festival. The event is free and open to the public.

The Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands, more commonly known as “the Viera Wetlands,” are one of Central Florida’s top birding and wildlife hotspots and a very popular site for birders, photographers and eco-tourists. 

“On any given day, you can see dozens of different species of birds, plants and animal life from alligators to crested caracara; dragonflies to woodpeckers; and wildflowers and water lilies,” said Raleigh T. Berry III, Environmental Land Manager for the Brevard County Natural Resources Management Department, which owns and manages the Viera Wetlands.

The entire 200-acre wetlands site is surrounded by raised berms easily traveled by car, bike or on foot. The berm roads will be closed to vehicular traffic during the festival.

The wetlands are directly west of the Water Treatment Plant at 10001 N. Wickham Rd. in Viera, approximately two miles west of the Wickham Road Exit off Interstate-95. For more information on the festival, call 321-633-2016, ext. 52423.