Families and Friends ‘Swoop’ Onto Florida’s Space Coast for the Ninth Annual Birding and Wildlife Festival

Festival Proudly Announces Nikon as Premier Sponsor

SPACE COAST, Fla., Oct. 4 /PRNewswire/ — Baby birders to nature enthusiasts migrate to Florida’s Space Coast, home of the largest collection of endangered wildlife in the country, for the Ninth Annual Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival Nov. 16-20, 2005. With “edutravel” being a popular trend among families today, the experience provides a perfect combination of education and entertainment, offering expeditions from kayak adventures and boat excursions to social gatherings and kids’ escapades. Headquartered at Brevard Community College Titusville Campus, the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival includes five days of unique interaction with the world’s leading ornithologists, oceanographers, wildlife biologists and naturalists. As the premier sponsor of one of the nation’s leading birding events, Nikon unveils its new digiscoping(TM) system — combining one of the most successful digital cameras in the world with one of the highest quality spotting scopes ever made.

Attendees explore on many ventures during the festival such as cruising along Mosquito Lagoon on Space Coast Nature Tour’s pontoon boat or kayaking through the Thousand Islands in Cocoa Beach. Families seeking more than beachside relaxation discover the marvels of nature, learning basic birding in the Beginning Birding seminar and using newly-found knowledge during a safari into the habitat on Merritt Island. Photography workshops teach the ins and outs of capturing wildlife on film, while expert presenters cover a vast range of nature-oriented topics during seminars on birds, bats, butterflies, wildflowers, manatees, sea turtles, sharks, reptiles and oceanography.

One of the top three birding events in the nation, the festival draws nature lovers from around the world with a special emphasis this year on raptors — carnivorous birds including eagles, hawks, owls and falcons. Keynote speakers Denver Holt, president of the North American Owl Research Institute, and Jonathan Wood from the Raptor Project bring a new traveling exhibit of live owls and hawks, while Florida Audubon Center for Birds of Prey provides attendees with a “behind the scenes” look at injured bird rehabilitation. Other keynote speakers include Neil Fifer, internationally acclaimed bird photographer; Victor Emanuel, founder of one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious birding tour companies; and noted underwater photographer Captain Peggy Goldberg.

Pre-registration is required for all field trips and costs vary, with some activities free to the public. Specific times and fees for events, seminars and exhibits, directions, registration forms and special accommodation rates are found on the festival website, http://www.nbbd.com/fly or by contacting Brevard Nature Alliance at (800) 460-2664.

Florida’s Space Coast features more than 72 miles of Atlantic shoreline, two inlets, a national seashore and two national wildlife refuges, in addition to the nation’s most biologically diverse estuary and Florida’s longest freshwater river with associated lakes and marshes. Featured among Money magazine’s “Best Places to Vacation,” the Space Coast is comprised primarily of area cities Titusville, Cocoa Beach, Melbourne and Palm Bay and only 35 miles east of the arena of Orlando attractions.

To celebrate birds and wildlife, contact Florida’s Space Coast Office of Tourism at (800) 93-OCEAN or visit http://www.space-coast.com/ .

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