The Wildlife Festival has grown from a series of small tabletop exhibits in recognition of National Hunting and Fishing Day to one of the premiere attractions on the Western New York Fall calendar. The festival is spread out over two days with more than 50 environmental exhibitors, outdoor educators and wildlife rehabilitators participating.
One of many new attractions this year is an exhibit tracing the history of the Tuscarora Nation. It all takes place on the Niagara Power Vista grounds, located at 5777 Lewiston Road in Lewiston.
"Throughout its history, the New York Power Authority has integrated environmental considerations into its operations and community activities," Niagara Regional Manager Joe Kessler said. "The Wildlife Festival is just one important part of that effort, and we appreciate our relationships with all the exhibitors, vendors and guests and we will continue to work with them on important projects in Western New York."
The Wildlife Festival will offer many new experiences this year. Visitors will be able to learn how to make a difference in our environment and how to improve our planet for both wildlife and our neighbors. Annual favorites, including reptiles, primates and birds of prey, will be joined by new animals, shows and attractions scheduled throughout each day.
There are also hands-on experiences that will entice sportsmen of all ages and abilities, including fishing, crossbow or standard bow and arrow shooting, and air rifle practice. Visitors will be able to feel the pelts of wild animals and see live ones from a safe distance. Younger guests can enjoy a scavenger hunt and craft activities and Brownies, Cub Scouts, Boy and Girl Scouts can earn a special Wildlife Festival badge by sampling all the excitement of the festival.
Environmental educators will be in attendance as well to present lectures and demonstrations. Visitors will be able to learn more about the traditions of Native Americans by viewing Iroquois dancers on Saturday and learn more about days on the frontier with "Mark Twain Live" on Sunday.
"The Wildlife Festival is representative of the importance that the Power Authority places on the environment," Kessler added. "As part of our Niagara project relicensing, NYPA is working on a number of Habitat Improvement Projects, which include restoration of marshes and wetlands on several islands in the Niagara River, control of invasive species in local marshes, development of nesting sites for the osprey and common tern, and installation of structures on the bottom of the river, which will provide shelter for fish, such as the muskellunge, northern pike, walleye, and largemouth and smallmouth bass."
While visiting the festival, guests can also go inside the Power Vista Visitor's Center to sample more than 50 interactive exhibits about hydroelectricity and the historic role it has played on the Niagara Frontier. Visitors will also be able to enjoy the breathtaking view of the Niagara River gorge from the observation deck.
For a complete list of exhibitors and a schedule of events, visit www.nypa.gov/vc/Niagara.htm.