Heading into its eighth successful year, the Eagle Expo is a tribute to the return of the American bald eagle to Louisiana, which was removed from the endangered species list in June 2007.
There are 284 active nests in Louisiana with a large concentration in the St. Mary and Terrebonne parish areas, where the Expo is held.
The Expo will include a presentation for the public by Save Our American Raptors from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Patterson Area Civic Center. The presentation is a lively and informational presentation showcasing a variety of live raptors including a falcon, hawk, owl, black vulture and bald eagle.
Private and parochial schools, as well as home-schooled students, will have the opportunity to attend a SOAR presentation, at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Patterson Area Civic Center free of charge. Reservations are required. SOAR also will visit Franklin, Morgan City, Berwick and Patterson junior high schools.
A photography workshop taught by renowned wildlife photographer CC Lockwood will be held Friday. Lockwood is known for numerous publications and books, especially his 11th book, Marsh Mission, which brought attention to the crisis of the vanishing Gulf Coast wetlands. His photography has been featured in prominent publications such as the Smithsonian and National Geographic magazines.
The workshop includes a seminar at 9 a.m. at the Atchafalaya at Idlewild Golf Course Club House, with a field trip to Bayou Black beginning at noon. A boat tour in Bayou Black will focus on birding and marsh landscapes. The workshop requires separate registration and payment of $195. Contact Lockwood at www.cclockwood.com or call 225-769-4766 to register. Space is limited.
Tours to view eagles will take place Friday and Saturday. Featured waterways include the Atchafalaya Basin, Lake Verret, Turtle Bayou, Bayou Black and Bayou Long. Tours will be from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. on Friday and 9 to 11 a.m. and 2:30 to 4 p.m. Saturday. Each featured boat tour offers something different to attendees.
The Atchafalaya Basin is the largest overflow swamp in the U.S. with 10 distinct aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Home to over 170 bird species, 50 mammalian species, 40 reptilian, 20 amphibian species and 100 species of fin fish and shellfish, the basin offers more than just eagles.
Friday evening will feature a dinner and a presentation by photographer and author, Tim Mueller, at the Petroleum Club of Morgan City from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Mueller is a Baton Rouge-based photographer whose experience began at the University of Missouri and was developed while working many years as a photojournalist at The Advocate newspaper in Baton Rouge. Mueller and his wife, Risa, co-authored a book together, Nations Within: The Four Sovereign Tribes of Louisiana. The public may attend the dinner and presentation. Cost is $33 per person.
Saturday will feature a variety of speakers in the morning with boat tours in the afternoon. Speakers for the morning seminars are Darlene Eschete, David Hancock, Nickolas R. Smith, and David Muth.
Full registration includes the seminars Saturday morning, breakfast Saturday morning, a T-shirt, one boat tour and the SOAR presentation on Thursday evening. Registration fees are $100 to $125. One-day registration includes one boat tour (Saturday only), breakfast and all seminars on Saturday. The fee is $75 to $100 per person. Boat tours only are $45 per person. Registration fees for children are available.
The Cajun Coast Visitors and Convention Bureau has partnered with the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science, Conrad Industries, Johnny’s Propeller Shop, the Audubon Society, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, America’s Wetland Foundation, Buquet Distributing and B & G Foods to showcase not only the American Bald Eagle, but the numerous species of birds and wildlife found within the Atchafalaya Basin and surrounding areas.
For a complete event schedule, costs, registration forms and listings of hotel rates, contact the Cajun Coast Visitors and Convention Bureau at 985-395-4905, visit online at www.cajuncoast.com/eagleexpo or email email@example.com.