The 15th Annual High Plains Snow Goose Festival saw between 60 and 80 people come to Lamar to participate in this year’s festival with most of them coming from the Front Range. Registration was held Thursday and Friday evenings, February 16-17th at the Rodeway Cow Palace Inn.
There were five major tours this year with two on Friday and Saturday and one on Sunday. The first tour, The South Canyon Tour, was guided by Leneha Everett and Dorothy Russel and is a festival favorite. The participants get to do some hiking in and around Picture Canyon and Carrizo Canyon and travel the loop on Cottonwood Canyon. A new event was added this year. Pat Palmer, Don Emick and Chip Clouse were guides at the Emick Ranch and the Windfarm where the participants got to see a wind turbine up close, the restoration of many different types of windmills, and they even got in a little birding.
On Saturday morning, after a nice breakfast at Brew Unto Others, the Keynote speaker, Laura Erickson, along with Pat Palmer and Krysten Strong, were off on the Raptor tour to check out the different types of hawks, eagles, and other bird species in the area. That afternoon, Ted Floyd from the American Birding Association, led a tour to the Two Buttes area for an afternoon filled with excellent birding.
The Cow Palace atrium was the home of this year’s Nature Arts and Crafts Fair held Saturday. There were many exhibits, arts and crafts tables, books, music, and information booths. In the Colorado Room, Bryant and Linda Will along with their assistants held a large silent auction. The silent auction helps raise a large portion of the funds required to keep this festival going.
Saturday offers a day of presentations. Ted Floyd of the American Birding Association began the day with his mini-course on Birding in the Digital Age, a workshop for getting the most out of some straightforward equipment, including smartphone, laptop, spotting scope and more. There were two different presentations on Survival throughout the day held by Rick Gardner of Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Diana Miller from the Pueblo Raptor Center in Pueblo discussed their mission and showed several different species of raptors to the enthralled crowd. Laura Erickson presented a program entitled, “Close Encounters of the Bird Kind”, covering her experiences working as a State licensed wildlife rehabilitator for over a decade. Cody Strong from Pheasants Unlimited/Colorado Parks and Wildlife discussed the habitat and biology of the lesser prairie chicken.
Doc Jones from La Junta brought down his team of draft horses and wagon on Saturday and from 12 Noon to 2pm, and provided wagon rides for the eager participants.
The Big Annual Banquet was held at the Lamar Elks Lodge Saturday evening. Ginger Coberely, president of the Lamar Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the attendees to Lamar and the area. Theron Hammer of Edward Jones announced the winners and presented the awards from the Second Annual High Plains Snow Goose Festival Photography Contest with the People’s Choice award going to Jill Smith. A fine dinner was prepared and served by Lucky’s BBQ. The Lamar High School Cross Country Team brought along a few parents help serve tea and water and help bus tables and wash dishes.
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