Wetlands Nature Festival scheduled for April 4, 5


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A child reaches out to touch a butterfly during last year's Wetlands Nature Festival.

Hannah Peterson

The 11th annual Viera Wetlands Nature Festival is set for Saturday and Sunday, April 4 and 5 at the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands.

Located at 3658 Charlie Corbeil Way in Viera, the festival is a family-friendly, two-day event that is a fundraiser, with eco-friendly and educational vendors, exhibits, classes, tours and workshops.

The event is hosted by the Brevard County Natural Resource Management Development and Utility Services. It is sponsored by the Viera Community Institute.

Tours and classes will be offered with donations to support the maintenance of the site. Tours will consist of bird watching, nature photography, wetlands history, function, vegetation and wildlife; and walking tours.

Returning to this year’s festival is the Flight of the Raptor exhibit sponsored by the Viera Community Institute and The Viera Company. This exhibit features birds of prey, including hawks, falcons and owls.

“It is the perfect time to come learn what makes these birds so vital to a healthy, functional ecosystem,” said Laurie Widzgowski, the marketing and event coordinator for The Viera Company.

The show schedule for the two days includes:

Saturday, April 4:

11:30 a.m. — Flight of the Raptor (open field)

1 p.m. — Charlie Corbeil Youth Art Contest Awards Ceremony (big tent)

2:30 p.m. — Flight of the Raptor (open field)

Sunday, April 5:

10 a.m. — Yoga class (open field)

11:30 a.m. — Flight of the Raptor (open field)

1:30 p.m. — Flight of the Raptor (open field)

Raleigh T. Berry III, a senior environmental scientist for the Environmental Resource Management, is scheduled to conduct some of the tours.

“From the standpoint of ecotourism, this is one of the most popular sites in Brevard County,” Berry said. “This site is amazing, and it’s a testament to the volunteers that make this site possible.”

Sunrise Birding Tours with Chris Koeppel:

Sunrise Tour 1: April 4, 6:30 to 8 a.m.

Sunrise Tour 2: April 5, 6:30 to 8 a.m.

Each tour is limited to 17 attendees.

Morning Walking Tours with Wetland Ranger

Morning Tour 1: April 4, 8 to 9:30 a.m.

Morning Tour 2: April 5, 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Each tour is limited to 20 attendees.

Wetlands Photography — Basic Photography with Rick Allen

Saturday only

Intro Photography: April 4, 9 to 10 a.m.

Class limited to 15 participants.

Wetlands Walking Tours with Wetland Rangers

Mid-morning Tour 1: April 4, 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Mid-morning Tour 2: April 5, 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Each tour is limited to 20 attendees.

For more information about the festival and to sign up for a class or tour, go to vieracommunityinstitute.com viera-wetlands-nature-festival

When The Viera Company envisioned Viera in the mid-1980s, the idea was to create a vibrant community — a place people would want to call home. Through its involvement with the community, the Viera Community Institute was started to help create the quality of life.

The institute is a not-for-profit corporation that was organized to foster the health, harmony and well-being of the Viera community by facilitating education, environmental, cultural and charitable activities and outreach programs within Viera and Brevard County. Although the Institute is a not-for-profit organization, it is currently not exempt from Federal income tax and neither contributions nor gifts to the institute are deductible as charitable contributions for Federal income tax purposes.

The institute is committed to ensuring the protection of Viera’s conservation lands and educating Viera residents on how they can participate in reducing environmental impacts. The institute will work in conjunction with the Viera Stewardship District and environmental organizations to assist Viera’s residents in understanding eco-friendly landscape and irrigation practices.