ABOUT THE FESTIVAL
Roger Tory Peterson’s Wild America Nature Festival is returning to Panama Rocks for its second year on July 28 & 29 – the last weekend of July. Headlining the event are Roger Tory Peterson’s son, Lee Peterson, nationally best-selling author Jennifer Ackerman, and famous animal expert Jeff Musial (with his animals).
Lee Peterson, the younger of two sons of Roger Tory Peterson, has worked in the world of Natural History his entire life and is the author/illustrator of “A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants of Eastern and Central North America.” As a gastronomic botanist, he has lectured throughout the United States and Canada and, as a jeweler, he has participated in art, museum, and trade shows throughout the country. Lee will give a presentation on the life of his father, Roger Tory Peterson, and lead walks discussing native plants.
Jennifer Ackerman has been writing about science and nature for three decades. Her most recent book, “The Genius of Birds,” explores the intelligence of birds. A national bestseller, the book has been published in 20 languages and has been a finalist for several awards. At the Wild America Nature Festival guests can join Jennifer as she explores the brilliance of birds and delves into the mysteries of the avian brain in an illustrated presentation of The Genius of Birds. Learn how birds make and use their own tools, teach one another new skills, count, navigate, exercise astonishing feats of memory, create works of art, communicate in ways that resemble language, and even pass along cultural traditions.
Jeff Musial has quickly made a name for himself in the wild world of animals over the last decade. While running his nationally recognized animal sanctuary, Jeff made his national television debut on CBS’ “The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet,” quickly followed by NBC’s “Today Show,” and became Jimmy Fallon’s go-to animal expert with over 30 appearances on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” Jeff’s vast knowledge of exotic animals coupled with his comedic styling and personality have made him an uncontrollable force when it comes to educating people of all ages about the many different animal species that inhabit the world. Guests will join Jeff as he presents a variety of his animals at the Wild America Nature Festival.
The festival’s Nature Art & Craft Show features over 50 artists presenting paintings and illustration, jewelry, ceramics, woodworking, felted animals, glass art, metal-working, and more. Many of the festival’s artists and master crafters have won national and international awards for their art. Whether you are looking for a gift for a loved one or are an experienced art collector, countless unique treasures will be available at a variety of prices.
The festival’s Local Food Cook-Off, sponsored by Edible Western New York, features award-winning restaurants crafting unique dishes featuring locally-sourced food. Let’s be honest – food is a major reason for attending summer events! Join Reverie Creamery, Ellicottville Brewing Company (EBC) West, Green Heron Growers, Labyrinth Press Company, Superfresh! Organic Café, and White Carrot Restaurant in this amazing food event that will leave everyone from gastronomes to picky eaters full and satisfied! In addition to the Local Food Cook-Off, the festival has a Farmer’s Market where guests can buy delicious fresh fruits, vegetables, snacks, and other farm products.
If you’re not convinced yet, there is so much more:
- American Hawkeye and Wild Spirit Education will amaze guests with both rehabilitated and free-flying birds of prey;
- The Audubon Community Nature Center will host a youth area for the young and young at heart to explore nature and natural artifacts (and more live animals);
- The musicians Steel Rails and Davis and Eng will play traditional and original folk music;
- Internationally-renown scientist Dr. Sherri “Sam” Mason will present her ground-breaking research on the dangers of plastic pollution and what you can do to help;
- Artist and outdoorsman Alberto Rey will give a presentation of his past and present projects on art, environmental issues, and community interaction;
- Dr. Twan Leenders of RTPI will give presentations on “Wild America in our Backyard,” which highlights the cool and surprising natural things found in our neighborhoods (you can meet some cool animals, too)!
- Guests can participate in a number of classes and workshops on topics such as gardening, native plants, meditation, yoga, bushcraft, & more!
Guests to the Wild America Nature Festival will also be able to explore the Panama Rocks scenic area and try their hand axe throwing at the brand-new Axcellent Adventures!
Discounted Weekend Passes are available for the price of a one-day pass to the Wild America Nature Festival online. The festival is currently accepting volunteer applications for 2018, which comes with free admission and other benefits, as well as applicants for the Farmer’s Market and hosts for classes, workshops and activities.
The Wild America Nature Festival is hosted by Panama Rocks Scenic Park and the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History (RTPI) and is sponsored by Edible Western New York, Edwards Insurance, Erie Times-News, Jamestown Mattress, and Media One Group. For more information on festival sponsorships, please contact Jonathan Weston at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a WILD summer!