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Bird watchers gather in Arizona’s Verde Valley

The Annual Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival will be held from April 23 to 25 at Dead Horse Ranch State Park.

Registration is required for most activities, but is only $15 per person and includes admission to the park, parking and access to exhibits and booths.  Attendance and participation in the individual field trips and workshops requires additional fees ranging from free to $5 for several walks and workshops.

I have attended this festival and found it informative and interesting for participants of all ages. The festival should appeal to participants and causal observers who have a common interest in nature and birding in particular. Approximately 12 field trip leaders and presenters will host and lead several field trips to nearby and more distant bird watching sites and sites of general interest throughout the beautiful Verde Valley.

Field trips actually range in diversity and interest from armchair birding to more active birding participation. Some require strenuous hiking while others require little or no physical exertion.

The events are not limited to birdwatching, but will include a botanical walk, butterfly walk/talk, bighorn sheep presentation, “eating wild” walk and numerous additional presentations and workshops. Of course, vendors and exhibits will be offered.

Numerous RV parks, campgrounds and resorts are located in the Verde Valley ranging from membership parks, including Thousands Trails, Western Horizon Resorts, ROD, Sunrise and others, to privately owned campgrounds along Hwy. 89A and Route 260. National forest campgrounds and boondocking locations are nearby.

Original founders of this event which grew from an idea presented by Barbie Hart, festival founder and coordinator, were the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce, Northern Arizona Audubon Society and Arizona State Parks. There are now more than two dozen founders, partners and supporters of the festival.

Approximately 235 different bird species have been sighted during the birding festival over the years that the event has been held. All RVers and others are invited to come and participate in this unique event in the amazingly gorgeous Verde Valley.

Visitors may wish to take a break from birding, or stay longer, and hike many of the Sedona Red Rocks trails. Tuzigoot National Monument is very close to Dead Horse Ranch State Park and Montezuma Castle National Monument is less than 25 miles distance.

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About Dr. Bob Gorden

Dr. Bob Gorden is an RVer, hiker and writer. He has a PhD in microbial ecology from the University of Georgia in Athens. He is a retired research scientist from the University of Illinois Natural History Survey. He has owned and operated more than 55 RVs of various types, and has visited every state, except Hawaii, in his RV. He also traveled by RV in New Zealand, Canada and Mexico. He currently owns and travels in a 1978 GMC 26-foot Class A and 2013 Thor ACE 30.1 Class A motorhome. He has a compelling desire to be “On the Road Again!”

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