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E-M:/ Free Festival This Weekend

Enviro-Mich message from Michael Boyce <birder@voyager.net>

(Contact: Mike Boyce  (616) 763-3377)

Imagine a cool, crisp afternoon amidst the splendor of autumn colors. 
The stillness is suddenly interrupted by the prehistoric cry of the
cranes.  As the Greater Sandhill Cranes fly into view, you are thrilled
by the majesty of Michigan's largest bird.

CraneFest '98 will be Saturday and Sunday October 10 and 11 from noon to
7:00 p.m. in north central Calhoun County, Michigan.  The Festival will
be held at the Kiwanis Youth Area, 3.5 miles North of Cornwell's
Turkeyville, on 15 Mile Road between T Drive North and Junction Road,
approximately 7 miles from the intersection of I-94 and I-69.  A major
attraction will be watching a thousand Sandhill Cranes return to the
adjoining Baker Sanctuary, with the best viewing of this migration
spectacle between 4 p.m. and dusk. Admission is free.

Nature and human artistic achievement meld at Michigan Audubon Society's
Fourth Annual Sandhill Crane and Art Festival. The works of some of the
best professional artists of the Great Lakes area will be on display and
for sale.  In addition to the art work, cranes, and the fall colors, the
Festival features guided nature walks, creative movement and nature
photography workshops, nature crafts, a large selection of nature and
wildlife books, picnic areas and food concessions, hay rides and much
more. With free admission and so much priced so reasonably, this is
truly the place smart shoppers will look for those special holiday

More than 1,000 Greater Sandhill Cranes are expected to greet visitors
at this year's festival.  With autumn color peaking the same weekend,
everyone should consider making the event part of their fall color tour.

Sandhill Cranes are believed to be the oldest living bird species -
having existed in nearly their present form for more than 9 million
years.  The cranes are Michigan's largest bird measuring up to five feet
tall with wings spanning an impressive six to seven feet.  Thousands of
these majestic birds return annually to roost at Big Marsh Lake in Baker
Sanctuary before completing their winter migration to Florida.

The Festival was started to raise awareness and appreciation of our
natural heritage and to support ongoing educational and conservation
projects of the Michigan Audubon Society and Baker Sanctuary.  The
Sanctuary, open daily from dawn till dusk, offers free maintained hiking
and nature study trails including the Meadow and Marshland trail near
its southeast border encompassing a 15 acre, tall grass prairie,
restoration experiment.   

The 900-acre Baker Sanctuary is Michigan Audubon Society's first
sanctuary and one of its largest.  Located just 7 miles northwest of the
intersection of I-94 and I-69, the Sanctuary is only minutes south of
Bellevue and Olivet, a mere ten minutes north of historic Marshall and
less than 15 miles from Battle Creek.  In 1997, Baker Sanctuary became
Michigan's most significant staging area for Sandhill Cranes hosting
some 3,000 individuals on its peak November day.

CraneFest '98 is sponsored by the Michigan Audubon Society and the
Kiwanis Club of Battle Creek, with the assistance of the Bellevue Lions

For a map to the Festival, visit the Baker Sanctuary website at:
http://www.mi.verio.com/~dsnking/baker  (the map can be found under
"Where on Earth")

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