Watershed Festival is first of its kind in Park City | ParkRecord.com

Watershed Festival is first of its kind in Park City

Greg Larson, Swaner Nature Preserve

The bird above was released after rehabilitation from injuries in 2005 at the Swaner Nature Preserve.

Although spring in Park City can overwhelm visitors and residents with recreation options, few activities offer the chance to have fun, do something positive in the community, and learn something new.

Swaner Nature Preserve’s upcoming Watershed Festival will accomplish all three. The festival, to be held inside and outside of Basin Recreation’s Field House at Newpark, will be a fun celebration with a serious purpose: educating the regional community on the importance and ecology of local watersheds and all of the natural resources found in them. The event is free and open to the public, and will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 10.

The festival will offer families and others the chance to get outside and enjoy the preserve, experience live birds of prey, take a wildlife photography or nature-journaling class, do art and crafts in the kids’ area, visit interactive booths focused on local environment, learn to cast a fly-fishing rod, or participate in a preserve tour focusing on birds, soils, or plant and weed identification. Almost 40 organizations ranging from Arts-Kids to the Hogle Zoo to the Division of Water Quality will be participating in this first-of-its-kind event for Park City. Sponsorship comes from Park City Municipal Corporation, Summit County, the Snyderville Basin Water Reclamation District, Basin Recreation, the East Canyon Creek Watershed Committee, and the Spotted Frog Bookstore.

"It has been both exciting and rewarding to work on such an important and unique event," says Erin Spear, an AmeriCorps National Service member at Swaner Nature Preserve. "The festival has something for everyone: kids, nature lovers, visitors, people new to the area, and even those folks who have lived here their entire lives."

To make sure that everyone is having a good time, the afternoon will feature live bluegrass by the Puddle Mountain Ramblers. People are encouraged to come at 10 a.m. when the best selection of giveaways will be available, and for the best shot at joining the wildlife photography class, whose enrollment is limited to 25 participants, or some of the other morning workshops and tours. The Spotted Frog Bookstore will have food, drinks, and nature-themed merchandise for sale all day, in addition to merchandise provided by several local artists.

With all the activities, classes, and tours to keep people engaged, those in search of information will not be let down. Topics to be covered by participating organizations include: "water-wise" plants and water conservation, native plants and wildflowers, weed identification and control, composting, regional history, water quality and quantity, wetland functions and values, watershed assessments, regional geology and soils, raptor ecology and birding, fish and fishing, stream restoration, aquatic invertebrates, local environmental organizations and resources, and West Nile virus and its carriers.

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"We hope that people leave the festival having had a great experience, and with a little better understanding of this incredible place where we all live and play," says Glenda Gehri, a member of the festival’s organizing committee. As Park City continues to grow, educating the community about important watershed resources in our watershed becomes even more important. The hope of festival sponsors and organizers is to help build an informed community, while also having lots of fun.

More festival information can be found at http://www.swanernaturepreserve.org. To volunteer, e-mail admin@swanernature.org.