Festiarpía 2006- The Harpy Eagle Festival
Sean Davis— 13 April 2006 — in Neotropical Environmental Education Program Share
Fast forward exactly one year. After months of preparation we were ready for Festiarpía 2006. We got off to an early start arriving at the park at 6:45 to set up and get ready. The festival officially didn’t start until 10:00, but we needed a lot of time to receive the other organizations that had to set up their tents and displays. By 10:00 everyone was ready to go. We opened the festival with three flights of our guest of honor, “Luigi,” our education Harpy Eagle. He performed flawlessly, and was rewarded with hoots and applause from the public as they watched their national icon soar across the roped off soccer field.
After the demonstration flights it was game time. The kids could choose between one or more of the following: the Raptor Obstacle Course where the participants had to run through different obstacles that symbolized dangers for migrating raptors- powerlines, tornados, rainstorms, and polluted areas, before arriving at the finish line; the Building a Nest Race, a sack race where the participants had to hop to one end of the playing field, pick up sticks , and bring them back to the other end to build a nest; the Feeding the Chick Race, where participants had to run down to the food area, put a spoon in their mouth, and scoop up some marbles (food) and walk it back to the nest without letting it fall; or, the Raptor Vision Game that was a magnetic dart game where they had to try and hit pictures of different prey animals of raptors. The more daring participants could play “fly like a Harpy Eagle” or “climb like an ornithologist,” a zip line and rappelling rope that was set up by a local mountaineering/climbing group.
While the kids were occupied with the games and the contest, the parents had several different options to choose from. They could stroll around and check out the booths of the different environmental organizations. They could also visit one of our tables to buy a T-shirt or cap, watch a video on the Harpy Eagle, make a donation for something on the donation board, or participate in our silent auction.
Later in the day we did a second series of flights with Luigi. Once again he performed flawlessly, this time for an even bigger crowd. We also gave the kids a second opportunity to play games. The festival came to a close at 3:00, and just in time as the rain showed up at about 3:10. We estimated we had around 500 visitors at the festival and were happy that all of our hard work had paid off.
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