Lanei is a western screech owl that arrived at the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) three years ago. He is very calm in public and enjoys having his picture taken. He has a life expectancy of about 15 years. Photo supplied.

Inaugural MARS Wildlife Festival March 17

Kids can enter a colouring contest beforehand

MARS Wildlife Rescue is holding their first ever Wildlife Festival, Saturday March 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The festival will take place at two locations, Merville Hall and the MARS Wildlife Rescue site at 1331 Williams Beach Road. Admission is $5 per person or $10 per family, payable at the Merville Hall.

Along with presentations from some of the Island’s eminent naturalists, there will be kids’ activities, big sales on Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society merchandise, and opportunities to help us design exhibits for the future visitor’s centre.

The theme is “North Island Wildlife” and the day is packed with activities for everyone. Come and meet some of our MARS residents and learn about the animals that come through our centre, what causes their injuries and how all of us can protect them.

In honour of our first ever Wildlife Festival we are having a children’s art contest. If you are 12 years of age and under, put your artistic side to work and draw, paint or colour us a picture. Drop it off at MARS with your name, age and phone number on or before March 15. The winner will be announced at the start of the festival and will receive a prize.

Tours of the new MARS hospital will be scheduled throughout the day. These are always popular so MARS staff suggest you sign up as soon as you arrive to ensure a space.

For a complete outline of events and timing go to http://bit.ly/2tmvqIS

Gary Allan will be there with his wolf, Tundra. Gary’s presentations are always a favourite because of his spectacular ambassador wolves, and his in-depth knowledge of the life and pressures on the species.

Guest speakers are scheduled throughout the day to discuss subjects like corvids (e.g. crows), wetlands, local bird species and local river enhancement projects. There will be several interesting and educational displays and people available to answer all of your questions.

A local artist who is generously doing her own fundraiser for MARS by painting one picture a day during the month of March will be demonstrating her craft. The paintings will be for sale, with a portion of the proceeds going to MARS.

Bird handlers will be on site with live raptors. Our mascot “Phoenix” the eagle will be there too. Food and the ever popular MARS bake table as well as MARS merchandise will be available.

A Kids’ Zone will have various activities such as painting and measuring your “wingspan.” For more

nformation call 250-337-2021 or email Lynda at pauljack@telus.net

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