Welcome to the 25th Annual Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival!

A message from Barb Eager and Laurilee Thompson

Welcome to the 25th Annual Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival (SCBWF). We are filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude to be here and healthy. We know you are anxious to get back out there and participate in your favorite pastime – watching birds and wildlife and loving nature. One of the few bright spots of 2020-2021 was the surge in outdoor activities, and birdwatching became a “cool” hobby! Bird feeders sprung up everywhere. Google searches for “birds” soared along with searches for the best binoculars and cameras. Birding and wildlife viewing was easy to do while under stay-at-home orders or social distancing. It was an amazing way to interact with other family members and instill a love and nurture of nature in our children.

It was a difficult decision not to have an actual 24th Annual SCBWF but it was the right decision. We are very thankful to Wildside Nature Tours for ensuring that we hosted a 24th Annual SCBWF Virtual Festival, and Hunt’s Photo and Video for a Space Coast Photography Event. They were both outstanding events and very well received. Our sincerest thanks goes to both organizations for the donation of their time and support.

Now that festival planning for 2022 is in full swing, our biggest news is the festival’s new location. We are pleased to let you know that the festival will now be headquartered at the Radisson Resort at the Port, in Cape Canaveral, Fl. We will still have all of the awesome field trips we have always had, AND we have more exhibit center space, more meeting space, are more centrally located to numerous restaurants (many within walking distance), with easy access from Orlando. Our event can finally be an all-inclusive festival – sleep there, meet there, leave from there, eat there, network there, and if you’re brave enough – try a dip in the heated pool or hot tub there!

Each year we attempt to perfect the festival experience for the attendee! To increase our chances of getting offshore for the pelagic or offshore boating trip, we decided to offer the trip at the beginning of the festival, with a back-up date at the end of the festival should the weather decide to be troublesome! That worked well in 2020 so we are repeating this option. We expanded our offering to include manatees, Florida’s most charismatic ambassador, as a field trip to Blue Springs State Park. This trip sells out quickly so if you’re interested, get yourself registered. Our latest field trip addition that premiered in 2020 was an airboat ride that was an overwhelming success, so much so that we will be running two trips a day for the duration of the festival. As with manatees, register early!

We have an outstanding line up of keynote speakers – Jeffrey Gordon, American Birding Association; Carlos A. Bethancourt, Canopy Tower Panama; Christina Baal, Drawing 10,000 Birds; Authors Kevin Karlson (live) and Pete Dunne (via video); and Herbert Byaruhanga, with Bird Uganda Safaris to lead the way on Saturday night to celebrate both Uganda and our 25th Anniversary! The photography strand will be hosted by Hunt’s Photo and Video. Most importantly – don’t miss the Expo! We have over 90 exhibitors from all walks in the birding and wildlife community – tour operators, artists, nonprofits, from all over the world – as well as the latest and greatest in cameras, binoculars and spotting scopes.

We are continuing with the Space Coast Family Wildlife Adventure Day (SCFWAD) as a regular feature of the festival. This 3rd annual event focuses on bringing local families to the festival with activities and events geared for children and students. This year’s event will include painting, nature journaling, photography, playing Bird Detective, seeing a live gator, live falconry – just to name a few of the activities taking place on Saturday, February 5th.

With heartfelt thanks from the support staff, our awesome volunteers, and the Brevard Nature Alliance Board of Directors, we look forward to seeing you in February!

Barb Eager, Executive Director, and Laurilee Thompson, Festival Founder and Chair