Meadowlark Nature Festival back for 21st year

Tickets sales for Meadowlark start Saturday

The featured artist for the 2018 Meadowlark Festival is going to be a familiar name to many.

Along with his artwork, Skyler Punnett has made a name for himself as one of the organizers of Penticton’s popular Pecha Kucha series of talks. Now, he can add Meadowlark artist to his credentials, after creating this year’s iconic depiction of the bird.

“It’s incredibly organic and flowing and really presents the Meadowlark in a favourable artistic scenario that we’ve never really seen before. It’s very unique,” said Jayme Friedt, festival co-ordinator.

The painting, released at the kick off party Thursday, will be used for the festival’s promotional materials including t-shirts, poster and advertising. Limited edition signed prints of Meadowlark are available for purchase and a special framed print will be auctioned at the festival’s fundraising gala dinner.

The 21st annual Meadowlark Nature Festival runs May 17 to 21. Tickets for the more than 75 events go on sale April 14, starting at 10 a.m.

Punnett is also exhibiting at the Penticton Art Gallery May 18 to June 17, with “Meadowlark” as one of his featured pieces. He’ll be doing an artist’s talk on May 19 at 2 p.m. in the gallery.

Punnett is contributing to the festival in another way.

“On Thursday, for the first time ever, we have Pecha Kucha night that is part of the Meadowlark Festival,” said Friedt. “Skyler and his colleagues have invited several of our tour leaders to come and talk about their little aspect of the Meadowlark Festival, what it is they do, what their tour is about, what sort of conservation or environmental aspects their tour is addressing.

“It’s going to be sort of a nutshell look at some of the events that are taking place over the course of the weekend.”

And those events include many old favourites alongside new tours for 2018. Naturalist Margaret Holm is no stranger to the festival, having been involved for many years, but for the first time she is going to be leading her own tour, a grasslands walk to Testalinden Creek.

The En’owkin Centre is offering two tours this year. The riparian songbird research experience takes visitors to ECOmmunity Place at the Penticton Indian Band to participate in breeding bird research focused on gray catbirds, calliope hummingbirds and endangered yellow-breasted chats. This is a chance to learn what’s involved in banding territorial birds, identifying individual colour-banded birds, mapping territory’s and tracking migratory songbirds.

En’owkin also has an offering for the artistic side. Traditional art on the land takes visitors to experience and then paint the natural beauty of Shingle Creek and cottonwoods forest around En’owkin Centre with leaders Ann Doyon of Theytus Books and Michelle Jack, En’owkin Centre Visual Arts Instructor.

This year’s keynote speaker is Harvey Locke, a renowned conservationist and founder of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative and Nature Needs Half, ambitious projects to set aside and preserve interconnected space for wildlife and nature to thrive.

“Harvey’s stories and photographs will take us on an incredible journey from the Okanagan through Yellowstone to Yukon. His passion to promote and preserve interconnected spaces for wildlife is fascinating and inspiring,” said Friedt. “It will be a real treat to hear him speak about his adventures and see his nature photographs from around the globe.”

There are many more offerings at the 2018 Meadowlark, including burrowing owl tours, bat tours, the Voyageur canoe event as hikes up McIntyre Bluff, Skaha Bluffs, Mahoney Lake and Oliver Mountain.

For a full list of tours, visit meadowlarkfestival.ca Both online and in-person ticket sales start at 10 a.m. on April 14, through the website or in person from 10 a.m. to noon in room two at the Penticton Community Centre.

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