Lifestyle

Arlington-Stillaguamish Eagle Festival celebrates local wildlife, environment

Arlington mural artist Harry Engstrom gave attendees of last year
Arlington mural artist Harry Engstrom gave attendees of last year's Eagle Festival a dual lesson on drawing and identifying different types of eagles.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — The city of Arlington and the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians are staging the fifth annual Eagle Festival on Saturday, Feb. 4, in Arlington.

The Stillaguamish watershed hosts large concentrations of bald eagles during the winter when they feed on spawning salmon, and the city of Arlington is taking this opportunity to invite visitors to Arlington to see the eagles and take part in the day's many events.

From 10 a.m. to noon, the Nature Conservancy's Kit Crump and Stillaguamish Tribe Wildlife Biologist Jen Sevigny will join volunteers from the Audubon Society in guiding people through the Port Susan Bay Nature Conservancy. As visitors drive toward Port Susan on Norman Road, they should keep a sharp eye out for eagles flying over the Stillaguamish River or perched in cottonwood trees. At the estuary at Port Susan, people will be able to look through binoculars or a spotting scope to get a close-up look at these great birds.

For an even more personal encounter with a live bird, guests should stop by the Sarvey Wildlife Center's open house from noon to 4 p.m., which will once again take place in the Arlington City Council chambers at 110 E. Third St. Sarvey Wildlife staff will be showing many birds of prey. Nature exhibits and representatives from the Grizzly Bear Outreach, Sound Salmon Solutions, Pilchuck Audubon Society, Wolf Haven and Snohomish Conservation District will also be here.

Two additional nature walks are planned during the day. At 9 a.m., city of Arlington Natural Resources Manager Bill Blake will lead a short walk through the city's new stormwater wetland and along the Stillaguamish River's "Eagle Trail." Walkers will be able to learn how this newly created wetland will benefit the river, and to look for eagles in the cottonwood trees along the river. The walk starts at the Haller Park parking lot, located at 1100 West Ave.

Later that day, those who have wondered what's happening at the property west of Interstate 5 at Exit 210 will be able to take a guided walk through the Pilchuck Preserve. Visitors will receive information on the history, recent activity and future of the land, as well as what functional floodplain, forest and salmon habitat it entails. The walks will be led by Franchesca Perez, outreach biologist for the Stillaguamish Tribe, and are scheduled from noon to 1 p.m. and from 1-2 p.m. From Exit 210, turn right from 236th Avenue NE onto Sixth Ave NE.  The Pilchuck Preserve is on the left, after the road crosses Pilchuck Creek.

During "Eagles and Wolves: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?", Wolf Haven representatives will be showing a video presentation about wolves, and about the mission of Wolf Haven to protect wolves and their habitat, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Mirkwood Shire Cafe, located at 117 Division St. Later that evening, Mirkwood will offer live entertainment in the form of the Skablins, a party band from Arlington whose music is a combination of Caribbean and calypso with jazz and rhythm and blues, tailored to dancing and fun.

Studio Tremko is hosting the Country Carvers Chainsaw show on Saturday, Feb. 4, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Chainsaw artists from across the Pacific Northwest will carve eagles only for this festival. An auction at 3 p.m. will sell these carvings to the public. At noon, Dave Tremko will present a gift of an eagle sculpture to Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert.

The Arlington Arts Council is hosting an art show featuring a variety of nature artwork, artist demonstrations and flute music, the latter courtesy of by Paul Nyenhuis, that same Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Magnolia Hall, located at 225 E Third St. Demonstrations will include chalk drawings by Harry Engstrom, pastel art, fused glass, lithography, woodworking and more. The public is encouraged to enter the eagle photography contest and nature art show. Cash prizes will be awarded. Submissions are required by Friday, Feb. 3, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more details, log onto www.arlingtonwa.gov/eaglefest. There will also be an artists' reception and wine tasting that Friday from 5-8pm. The public is welcome.

Also included in this year's Eagle Festival is a nature poetry contest, with prizes sponsored by the Fogdog Gallery. Details on this contest can also be found online at www.arlingtonwa.gov/eaglefest. Fogdog will be displaying the poems at their new location, at 233 N. Olympic Ave.

A variety of arts and crafts activities will be hosted at 101 S. Olympic Ave. during that Saturday. Join Terry Marsh and a crew of volunteers for free craft projects. You can paint an eagle, a wooden fish or a pinecone bird-feeder, and you can have your face painted by Judy Tilley. This event is for all ages, and runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Feb. 4 will also see merchants providing wagon rides around downtown, as well as many stores are featuring "Super Saturday" discounts.

You can get a hands-on experience of what it's like to be at the controls of an airplane from airport coordinator Tim Mensonides, who will will assist you as you sit in the cockpit of an experimental aircraft and operate the flight controls. The Arlington City Hall parking lot will also serve at the site for members of Sky Valley Tractor Club to bring in some 1940s antique tractors, which will be on display from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Hall at 20722 67th Ave. will be open that day and hosting players of Native American flutes and smudging demonstrations. Visitors are encouraged to walk the park, and feeding the ducks is permitted.

If you're interested in learning how to photograph birds in the wild, you can even enroll in "The Art of Photographing Birds," a class presented by the Arlington Parks and Recreation Department. This class is taught by professional photographer Philip Lane, whose work can be seen online at www.lanenatureimages.com, and runs Fridays on Feb. 3, 10 and 24 from 7-9 p.m. at a cost of $75. To register, call 360-403-3448.

For more information about the Eagle Festival, please visit the city of Arlington's website at www.arlingtonwa.gov/eaglefest or call 360-403-3448.

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