Friends of the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge hosted its inaugural Wings Over Willapa Festival Sept. 28-30. The event attracted nature lovers of all ages to a variety of events hosted on and near the Peninsula.

The festival, which coincided with the start of fall migration season, was part of an effort to promote the refuge. The refuge is in the process of transitioning to a new headquarters.

The festival featured multiple nature-watching excursions such as a pelagic trip in Ilwaco, duck watching and cycling on the Discovery Trail, beginning birder lessons, a kayak trip around East Sand Island, and a barge excursion to Long Island. The event also hosted several presentations on topics such as nature photography, shorebirds and pottery.

Joan Walsh, who has been watching birds for 35 years and was director of bird monitoring at Massachusetts Audubon from 2006 to 2017, served as the event’s keynote speaker.

Willapa National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1937 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as an effort to protect migrating birds and their habitats.

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