Winter Wildlife Festival

Join us for a month-long celebration of coastal wildlife and nature! We're going the distance this year and presenting virtual and in-person components to ensure a safe, yet engaging experience for all. See all the festival highlights below.
2022 Winter Wildlife Festival registration is now open. Click here to register.

 Virtual Keynote

TheBirdWayJenniferAckerman.jpg2022 Keynote Information

Virtual Keynote: The Bird Way: Friday, January 28 @ 7pm via Zoom (Free, but registration required)

The multimedia presentation on The Bird Way explores a kaleidoscope of fascinating behaviors in the bird world through the lens of five arenas of daily activity—communication, work, play, love, and parenting.  It tells stories about some of the extraordinary ways that birds do these things and the secret, sophisticated intelligence underlying their behavior.  

The talk also explores the new discoveries that are overturning many of our old, conventional ideas about how birds live their lives, describes how science is making some of these astonishing discoveries, and shows the most stunning examples from each section of the book.  

The talk ranges from the tropical rainforests of eastern Australia and the remote woodlands of northern Japan, to the rolling hills of lower Austria and the islands of Alaska's Kachemak Bay, and includes audio, video, and spectacular photos by professional photographers.

Website: www.JenniferAckermanAuthor.com
Instagram: @JenniferAckemanAuthor
Twitter: @JenGAckerman




JenniferandCockatoo.jpgAbout the Speaker

A bird lover since childhood, Jennifer Ackerman has been writing about nature and science for three decades.  Her most recent book, The Bird Way, was selected as a Best Science Book of 2020 by NPR’s Science Friday and is a finalist for the PEN America Literary Award in Science.  Her bestselling The Genius of Birds is published in 25 languages and received numerous awards.  Jennifer is the author of five other books and her essays and articles have appeared in National Geographic Magazine, The New York Times, Scientific American, and other publications. She is the recipient of an NEA Literature Fellowship in Nonfiction, a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship, and a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. 

 Birding Challenge

2022 Team Birding Challenge


Join the Winter Wildlife Festival in celebrating the abundant and diverse birds overwintering in Coastal Virginia by challenging yourself to get outdoors and observe as many bird species as possible in a day! The Birding Challenge is a friendly team competition to celebrate our winter birds and is open to all ages and levels. While the main goal is FUN, awards will be given to top teams in each division! Teams may have 2-5 members. See Birding Challenge overview, Rules & Regulations, and resources at right.

Divisions:

  • Big Day (max 24 hours)
  • Mini Day (max 3 hours)
  • Backyard Birding (single location)

Cost and Registration Instructions:

  • Cost: $15 per Team Member.
  • Challenge is open to all ages and levels of birders.
  • All registered participants will receive a Winter Wildlife Festival Birding Challenge t-shirt. (Team Captain will select t-shirt sizes when submitting Team Registration Form)

How to Register:

  • Step 1: Pick your teammates and Challenge Division. 
  • Step 2: Register and pay through ActiveNet. Only one registration per team. Team Member registering should select number of teammates and pay total fee. 
  • Step 3: Team Captain must complete supplemental electronic Team Registration.

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Photo Contest Winners ‭[2]‬

 Virtual Workshops & Events

Virtual Workshops & Events

Fee-based | Online registration is required. 

E-bird Basics  | 16 & up

E-bird is an important tool not only for tracking your birding “life list” but also to contribute to citizen science. This course will teach you how to set up an e-bird account and track species when birding. Recommended for those who are participating in the Birding Challenge but are not familiar with the e-bird platform. 

​Location
​Virtual, Zoom
Fee
​Free, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Saturday,  January 15 | 11 am

RU a Naturalist? Let me show U how iNaturalist  | 16 & up

Join Jody Ullmann for a fun, interactive Zoom lesson about the iNaturalist platform.  This application allows you to not only capture information about the flora and fauna you see, but to share it with scientists around the world. The best part is that there is a world of experts just waiting to help you identify things that you see. Learn how to download and use the app and get tips and tricks for better cell phone photos.  We will learn a little about ongoing citizen science projects that use this app and how you can help collect data.

​Location
​Virtual, Zoom
Fee
​Free, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Saturday, January 22 | 9:30 am

Coastal Virginia Hawkwatch  | 16 & up

Brian Taber, President of Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory (CVWO) and its Raptor Research Team Leader, will present an overview on CVWO's raptor research. He will discuss CVWO's hawkwatches at Kiptopeke State Park on Virginia's Eastern Shore and at College Creek near Williamsburg. He will also share information about North America's hawkwatches in general and provide a few basic tips on identification of raptors.

​Location
​Virtual, Zoom
Fee
​Free, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Tuesday,  January 25 |  10 am

Birding Skill-builder Workshop | 16 & up

Are you just starting to get into birds? Do you enjoy watching them around your home and neighborhood and wish you knew how to identify them? Then this class is for you! Jessica Ruthenberg, a DWR Watchable Wildlife Biologist, will introduce you to the rewarding hobby of birding and will cover all the basic skills to help you get started. Topics covered will include the seven key identification clues, including the how-tos of observing birds by sight and sound; tips for finding and spotting birds; plus helpful resources and equipment. Participants in this virtual workshop are encouraged to join Jessica in-person to practice these skills in the accompanying optional field session. Recommended for new birders.

​Location
​Virtual, Zoom
Fee
​Free, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Thursday,  January 27 | 12:00 pm

From Rainbows to Rattles: The conservation & management of snakes in Southeastern Virginia | 16 & up

Southeastern Virginia is home to 24 species of snake, including all three of Virginia's venomous species and others that reach the northern extent of their range. In this presentation, J.D. Kleopfer (State Herpetologist) will present a general overview of their ecology and some of the conservation efforts and management challenges that DWR has been involved with over the past 15 years. 

​Location
​Virtual, Zoom
Fee
​Free, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Friday,  January 28 | 10:00 am

The Butcher Bird: Conservation of the Loggerhead Shrike in Virginia | 16 & up

Sergio Harding, Nongame Bird Conservation Biologist with the Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR), will introduce you to the Loggerhead Shrike, a charismatic and imperiled bird, affectionately known as "the Butcher Bird." He will present an overview of the status and natural history of Loggerhead Shrike with a focus on Virginia and will also discuss what DWR and partners are doing to help reverse shrike declines in Virginia and beyond.

​Location
​Virtual, Zoom
Fee
​Free, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Friday,  January 28 | 1:00 pm

Festival Keynote: “The Bird Way” with Jennifer Ackerman | 16 & up

The multimedia presentation on ‘The Bird Way’ explores a kaleidoscope of fascinating behaviors in the bird world through the lens of five arenas of daily activity—communication, work, play, love, and parenting.  It tells stories about some of the extraordinary ways that birds do these things and the secret, sophisticated intelligence underlying their behavior.  The talk also explores the new discoveries that are overturning many of our old, conventional ideas about how birds live their lives, describes how science is making some of these astonishing discoveries and shows the most stunning examples from each section of the book.  The talk ranges from the tropical rainforests of eastern Australia and the remote woodlands of northern Japan to the rolling hills of Lower Austria and the islands of Alaska’s Kachemak Bay and includes audio, video, and spectacular photos by professional photographers. Once registered, you will receive information via email on how to join this session through Zoom.

​Location
​Virtual, Zoom
Fee
​Free, Registration Required
​Date & Time
​Friday, January 28 | 7:00 - 8:30 pm






 Photo Contest

​Winter Wildlife Photography Contest | January 1 - January 31

50935408943_4c375871fc_c.jpgCATEGORIES**

WILDLIFE | Excludes captive animals including those in a zoo or museum or similar.

  • PORTRAIT - Must show wildlife in Coastal Virginia ; animal(s) must be still. (e.g. a perched bird)
  •  ACTION - Must show wildlife in Coastal Virginia; animal(s) in motion, displaying a behavior, etc. (e.g. a bird in flight, a whale breeching)

FESTIVAL IN ACTION | Must show festival partcipants during any 2022 Winter Wildlife Festival activity.

  • Submission should capture the “spirit” of the festival.

LANDSCAPE/SCENIC | Must show scenic landscape and/or native flowers, trees, shrubs or plants in Coastal Virginia.

YOUTH | Subject may be of wildlife, nature, or people participating in nature-based recreation taken in location in Coastal Virginia; must be under 16 to qualify.

PEOPLE’S CHOICE | Subject may be of wildlife, nature, or people participating in nature-based recreation taken in location in Coastal Virginia. Photographs entered in any of the above categories may also be entered in the People’s Choice category. Photo with the most likes on Facebook wins!

Download the Flyer | Rules & Regulations 


 


(submissions submitted before January 1, 2022 will not be considered)

All photos submitted must be taken in Coastal Virginia. Coastal Virginia is defined as the cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach and Williamsburg; and the counties of Accomack, Isle of Wight, James City, Northampton, Southampton and York.

*All entries must be submitted by 11:59pm on 1/31/22.
**All photos must be taken in January 2022. You may only submit one (1) photo per eligible category.


 Exhibit Hall

2022 Winter Wildlife Exhibit Hall | January 29

Join us at Princess Anne Recreation center for our annual winter wildlife exhibit hall - featuring live animals, exhibitors, children's activities, door prizes and much more! This event is free and open to the public. 

​Location
Princess Anne Recreation Center
Fee
Free
​Date & Time
Saturday,  January 29 | 10 am - 3 pm

Are you interested in becoming a vendor? Click here to download the application


 Trips & Excursions

​Trips & Excursions

All events require registration. 

FRIDAY -  January 28

NEW The Birds and History of Fort Monroe | 13 & up**FULL**

Enjoy birding at Virginia’s landmark Fort Monroe, also known as “Freedom’s Fortress.” We will walk the Fort Monroe seawall, a paved walkway that overlooks the confluence of the Chesapeake Bay and James River to look for migratory waterfowl, sea ducks, and seabirds. In addition to the birding, we will learn about the historical significance of Fort Monroe. If time allows, transportation will be provided to check out additional birding vantage points around the area, including Fort Monroe’s northern end that overlooks Mill Creek and the Hampton River.

​Location
Meets at Fort Monroe Visitor & Education Center (30 Ingalls Road, Fort Monroe, VA)
Fee
$30, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Friday,  January 28 | 8:30 am - 12:30 pm

North Landing River Boat Tour | 10 & up **FULL**

Join Moore to See Expeditions for an in-depth eco-tour of the marshlands that surround the North Landing River.  These areas provide critical habitat for many species of wintering waterfowl including snow geese, tundra swans and variety of ducks. Bald eagles are also a common site along this waterway.  This trip will provide many unique opportunities for taking nature photos.  All experience levels welcome. Please wear (and bring extra) warm layers, a hat, gloves or mittens, a wind- or water-proof outer layer, and waterproof shoes or boots for getting in and out of the boat.

​Location
Pungo Ferry Boat Launch (2272 Old Pungo Ferry Road)
Fee
$35, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Friday,  January 28 | 10 am - 12pm & 1 pm - 3pm
Saturday, January 29 | 10 am - 12pm & 1 pm - 3pm
Sunday, January 30 | 10 am - 12pm & 1 pm - 3pm

NEW Service Project Wildlife on the Line | 13 & up 

Join us in a service project to give back to the wildlife community, in honor of a cause chosen by 2021 Mary Reid Barrow Wildlife Advocate Award Recipient, Meredith Broadhurst. This land-based cleanup will take place around the water’s edge at Lake Lawson/Lake Smith Natural Area and Stumpy Lake Natural Area. Not only are these two areas some of Virginia Beach's most popular areas for fishing, but they also provide a significant habitat for waterfowl and migratory birds. Volunteers will navigate the wooded and grassy shorelines removing discarded fishing line and debris from waterways and surrounding areas to help prevent wildlife entanglement and endangerment.  All supplies will be provided. Ages 17 and younger must be with an adult. Click here to learn more. 

​Location
Stumpy Lake Natural Area (4797 Indian River Road) 
Fee
Free, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Friday,  January 28 | 1 pm - 3 pm

Festival Keynote: “The Bird Way” with Jennifer Ackerman | 16 & up

The multimedia presentation on ‘The Bird Way’ explores a kaleidoscope of fascinating behaviors in the bird world through the lens of five arenas of daily activity—communication, work, play, love, and parenting.  It tells stories about some of the extraordinary ways that birds do these things and the secret, sophisticated intelligence underlying their behavior.  The talk also explores the new discoveries that are overturning many of our old, conventional ideas about how birds live their lives, describes how science is making some of these astonishing discoveries, and shows the most stunning examples from each section of the book.  The talk ranges from the tropical rainforests of eastern Australia and the remote woodlands of northern Japan, to the rolling hills of lower Austria and the islands of Alaska’s Kachemak Bay, and includes audio, video, and spectacular photos by professional photographers. Once registered, you will receive information via email on how to join this session through Zoom.

​Location
Virtual, Zoom
Fee
Free, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Friday,  January 28 | 7 pm - 8:30 pm

NEW False Cape After Dark All Ages  **FULL**

Take an open-air tram ride through Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and explore False Cape State Park after dark! This program includes a guided hike through pristine maritime forest and dune habitats and out to the beach. We will call for owls along the way and check out the night sky (weather permitting) when we reach the beach. Expect to walk approximately 1.5 miles (round trip), partially over soft sand. ALL guests must wear a face mask while on the tram. Dress warmly, wear sturdy shoes, and bring a flashlight! Note: This program will be cancelled if temperatures are below freezing.

​Location
False Cape State Park; meets at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge (4005 Sandpiper Rd.)
Fee
$10, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Friday,  January 28 | 6 pm - 9 pm





SATURDAY - January 29

Chesapeake Bay Boat Trip  16 & up  **FULL**

View the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel Islands up close and personal! This boat trip offers eye-level views of birds, harbor seals and other wildlife on and around the CBBT islands. This is an excellent opportunity to view sea ducks, shorebirds and seabirds. Meets at Dockside Marina (3311 Shore Drive).  Recommended for experienced birders. Please wear (and bring extra) warm layers, a hat, gloves or mittens, and a wind- or water-proof outer layer.

​Location
Dockside Marina (3311 Shore Drive)
Fee
$45, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Saturday,  January 29 | 8 am - 11:30 am
Sunday,  January 30 | 8 am - 11:30 am

Waterfowl Walk 12 & up  **FULL**

Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is home to thousands of ducks, geese and swans each winter. Join us for a one-mile guided walk along the bay as we search for and identify our winter visitors. Binoculars are recommended but not required. Meets at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge (4005 Sandpiper Rd.). Recommended for experienced birders.

​Location
Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge (4005 Sandpiper Rd.)
Fee
$5, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Saturday,  January 29 | 8 am - 10 am

NEW Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel 4th Island 12 & up  **FULL**

The man-made islands of the CBBT that support the bridge provide rest stops for migrating and wintering birds. The islands can offer unusual or locally rare sightings. Northern gannet, brant, king eider, harlequin duck, little gull, great cormorant, purple sandpiper and rarities such as black-tailed gull make this one of the best winter birding sites in Virginia. The presence of the occasional harbor seals and wintering whales adds to the appeal of this unique site. Fee is per car; additional registration form required by Jan 14 for all participants within each car. Due to construction this trip will visit the 4th island only.  Bridge tunnel fee will be waived for participants.   All experience levels welcome.

Click Here to Download the CBBT Individual Security Form (must be completed by Jan 14 for all participants in each car)

​Location
Meets at CBBT Virginia Beach Office (2400 Northampton Blvd.)
Fee
$15, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Saturday,  January 29 | 8:30 am - 10 am
Sunday,  January 30 | 8:30 am - 10 am

NEW Birding Skill-builder Field Session 13 & up

Join Jessica Ruthenberg, a DWR Watchable Wildlife Biologist, for a walk at Pleasure House Point Natural Area to practice the new birding skills gained in the accompanying workshop. Binoculars will be available for loan and Jessica will teach you how to use them. If you have your own and prefer to use those, you are welcome to bring them. Participation in the virtual workshop is not a prerequisite for this field session, but is encouraged. Recommended for new birders. 

​Location
We will meet at the picnic tables under the Brock Environmental Center and then walk around Pleasure House Point.

Address: Pleasure House Point Natural Area (Brock Environmental Center - 3663 Marlin Bay Dr.)
Fee
$5, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Saturday,  January 29 | 9 am - 11 am

NEW RU a Naturalist? Let me show U how iNaturalist Field Session  All Ages

Bring your phone or camera and come "collect" local plants and animals on the iNaturalist app. This is an opportunity to practice what you learned in the Zoom workshop and get help using the various features. We will meet at the picnic tables under the Brock Building and go for an easy walk around the property.  You need not have taken the Zoom workshop to join us on this plant and animal "safari".  Families are welcome! 

​Location
Pleasure House Point Natural Area (Brock Environmental Center - 3663 Marlin Bay Dr.)
Fee
$5, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Saturday,  January 29 | 1 pm - 3 pm

Exploring Virginia’s Seaside Lagoon System 16 & up  **FULL**

This boat trip begins in Oyster Harbor on a rising tide and meanders along salt marshes looking for shorebirds and other water birds, raptors, seals and other interesting wildlife as we make our way toward the barrier islands. If weather conditions allow, we will disembark on Wreck Island, a remote barrier island owned and managed by the VA Dept. of Conservation and Recreation Natural Heritage Program. There we may encounter flocks of dunlin, American oystercatchers and other shorebirds. As the tide continues to rise, we may head north to Little Cobb and Cobb islands to look for roosting flocks of shorebirds, rafts of sea ducks and other treasures. Please keep in mind, this trip is weather dependent and may be cancelled if conditions are deemed too dangerous. The decision to go or cancel will be made by 5 pm the night before. Keep in mind temperatures and windchills are much colder on the water than on land. Please wear (and bring extra) warm layers and bring a hat, gloves or mittens, a wind- or water-proof outer layer, and waterproof knee or hip boots for getting in and out of the boat. You are also strongly encouraged to bring sunscreen, sunglasses. Bring your favorite binoculars, spotting scopes are optional. Trip leaders will bring light snacks and water and several spotting scopes.  

​Location
Oyster Boat Ramp (Crumb Hill Road, Oyster, VA)
Fee
$40, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Saturday,  January 29 | 1 pm - 4 pm

Notable Trees Field Trip - Central VA Beach 12 & up

Join Lynnhaven River Now’s Captain Brent James in visiting some of Virginia Beach’s Notable Trees! While seeing these trees up close you will learn history of the property on which they reside, their approximate ages, as well as their sizes relative to the state and national champion trees of that species. Meets on location for transportation to locations. All experience levels welcome. It is recommended that you wear sturdy, waterproof footwear. Transportation for this trip is provided by The Nature Bus.

​Location
PARC
Fee
$15, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Saturday,  January 29 | 10 am - 2 pm

Blue Goose Wildlife Tram All Ages

Adventure doesn’t disappear in the winter! The Blue Goose Wildlife Tram takes passengers through Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park. We observe wintering ducks, geese and swans, visit the cemetery of the historic community of Wash Woods and discuss what makes this part of Virginia Beach a unique and exciting place. This trip includes an optional, one-mile hike. The tram is an open-air vehicle, please be prepared for the weather!

​Location
Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge (4005 Sandpiper Road) 
Fee
$15, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Saturday,  January 29 | 1 pm - 5 pm

Whales Watching Boat Trip All Ages

Join the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, the longest running and most experienced whale watching entity in Virginia, in an immersive encounter with some of the ocean’s most magnificent creatures. Specialized educators will share a program built upon the Aquarium’s scientific research and almost three decades of experience connecting guests with the area’s marine mammal visitors. Trips take place on a spacious and stable catamaran that boasts one of the most comfortable rides in Virginia Beach, and has been outfitted especially for conducting dolphin & whale watching trips.  Experience spectacular views from the outdoor covered seating areas, or from cushioned seats inside a heated cabin. This ~2.5 hour adventure is an exploration in search of whales, dolphins, seals, and seabirds. Marine mammal sightings are not guaranteed. Meets at Virginia Aquarium Dock (717 General Booth Blvd.)  All experience levels welcome.

​Location
Virginia Aquarium Dock (717 General Booth Blvd.)
Fee
$28, ages 12 & up 
$23, ages 3-11
Under 3, FREE
Registration Required
​Date & Time
Saturday, January 29 | 2 pm - 4:30 pm
Sunday, January 30 | 10 am - 12:30 pm 

First Landing Nature Walk  5 & up

Experience firsthand the amazing habitats that exist within First Landing State Park. Discover what makes the park’s environment so unique that it has been made a national natural area. The 2-mile hike will take participants across swamp overlooks and through maritime forest in search of wildlife and natural phenomena found within the park. Meet at the First Landing State Park Trail Center (2500 Shore Dr.).  All experience levels welcome.

​Location
First Landing State Park (2500 Shore Drive – Trail Center)
Fee
$5, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Saturday,  January 29 | 2 pm - 4 pm
Sunday,  January 30 | 1 pm - 3 pm

Owl Prowl 10 & up  **FULL**

Explore the night-time woods looking and listening for their nocturnal hunters. Great horned, barred and screech owls and other creatures of the night are all possibilities for these trips. Look up and keep your ears open as we discover what life is like for an owl and learn more about the starry skies above. Meet at location. All experience levels welcome.

​Location
First Landing State Park (2500 Shore Drive) 
Great Neck Park (2513 Shorehaven Drive)
Fee
$10, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Saturday, January 29 | 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm

North Landing River Boat Tour | 10 & up  **FULL**

Join Moore to See Expeditions for an in-depth eco-tour of the marshlands that surround the North Landing River.  These areas provide critical habitat for many species of wintering waterfowl including snow geese, tundra swans and variety of ducks. Bald eagles are also a common site along this waterway.  This trip will provide many unique opportunities for taking nature photos.  All experience levels welcome. Please wear (and bring extra) warm layers, a hat, gloves or mittens, a wind- or water-proof outer layer, and waterproof shoes or boots for getting in and out of the boat.

​Location
Pungo Ferry Boat Launch (2272 Old Pungo Ferry Road)
Fee
$35, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Friday,  January 28 | 10 am - 12pm & 1 pm - 3pm
Saturday, January 29 | 10 am - 12pm & 1 pm - 3pm
Sunday, January 30 | 10 am - 12pm & 1 pm - 3pm





SUNDAY - January 29

Princess Anne Wildlife Management Area Birding 12 & up

This trip will visit the Beasley and Whitehurst Tracts of Princess Anne WMA.  The WMA is a patchwork of marshes, weedy fields, narrow freshwater impoundments, and pine woodland. This area is known for winter waterfowl, including impressive numbers of snow geese. Raptors, wintering songbirds, and wading birds can also be found in the varied habitats here. **Please note that some of the trails may be wet this time of year; comfortable waterproof shoes or rubber boots are required.** 

​Location (s)
Princess Anne Wildlife Management Area (Munden Road) 
Fee
$15, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Sunday,  January 30 | 8 am - 12 pm

Blue Goose Birding Tram 16 & up

Winter is an exciting time of year at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park. Ducks, geese and swans overwinter in our area and use the Refuge and State Park as feeding and resting grounds. On our birding tram we will focus on viewing opportunities of these and other winter migrants. Binoculars are recommended for this trip.

​Location (s)
Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge (4005 Sandpiper Road)
Fee
$15, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Sunday,  January 30 | 8 am - 12 pm

NEW Birds in the City  5 & up

Discover a variety of interesting birds that spend the winter in Virginia Beach on this introductory bird walk around Mount Trashmore Park. Even in the heart of the city, in this urban park, a surprising number of birds may be found. We will walk the paved paths around the park, primarily focusing on observing its two lakes. Binoculars will be available for loan and your guide will teach you how to use them. No previous birding experience is needed. Wear comfortable walking shoes and dress in layers appropriate for the winter weather.  Recommended for anyone interested in giving birding a try or just simply wishing to spend a morning outdoors connecting with nature.

​Location (s)
Mount Trashmore Park (310 Edwin Drive)
Fee
$5, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Sunday,  January 30 | 9 am - 11 am

NEW Service Project Wildlife on the Line 16 & up

Join us in a service project to give back to the wildlife community, in honor of a cause chosen by 2021 Mary Reid Barrow Wildlife Advocate Award Recipient, Meredith Broadhurst. This land-based cleanup will take place around the water’s edge at Lake Lawson/Lake Smith Natural Area and Stumpy Lake Natural Area. Not only are these two areas some of Virginia Beach's most popular areas for fishing, but they also provide a significant habitat for waterfowl and migratory birds. Volunteers will navigate the wooded and grassy shorelines removing discarded fishing line and debris from waterways and surrounding areas to help prevent wildlife entanglement and endangerment.  All supplies will be provided. Ages 17 and younger must be with an adult. Click here to learn more.

​Location (s)
Lake Lawson/Lake Smith Natural Area (5381 Shell Road) 
Fee
Free, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Sunday,  January 30 | 1 pm - 3 pm

Chesapeake Bay Boat Trip  16 & up

View the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel Islands up close and personal! This boat trip offers eye-level views of birds, harbor seals and other wildlife on and around the CBBT islands. This is an excellent opportunity to view sea ducks, shorebirds and seabirds. Meets at Dockside Marina (3311 Shore Drive).  Recommended for experienced birders. Please wear (and bring extra) warm layers, a hat, gloves or mittens, and a wind- or water-proof outer layer.

​Location
Dockside Marina (3311 Shore Drive)
Fee
$45, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Saturday,  January 29 | 8 am - 11:30 am
Sunday,  January 30 | 8 am - 11:30 am

First Landing Nature Walk  5 & up

Experience firsthand the amazing habitats that exist within First Landing State Park. Discover what makes the park’s environment so unique that it has been made a national natural area. The 2-mile hike will take participants across swamp overlooks and through maritime forest in search of wildlife and natural phenomena found within the park. Meet at the First Landing State Park Trail Center (2500 Shore Dr.).  All experience levels welcome.

​Location
First Landing State Park (2500 Shore Drive – Trail Center)
Fee
$5, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Saturday,  January 29 | 2 pm - 4 pm
Sunday,  January 30 | 1 pm - 3 pm

Notable Trees Field Trip - Northeast VA Beach 12 & up

Join Lynnhaven River Now’s Captain Brent James in visiting some of Virginia Beach’s Notable Trees! While seeing these trees up close you will learn history of the property on which they reside, their approximate ages, as well as their sizes relative to the state and national champion trees of that species. Meets on location for transportation to locations. All experience levels welcome. It is recommended that you wear sturdy, waterproof footwear. Transportation for this trip is provided by The Nature Bus.

​Location
Brock Environmental Center (3663 Marlin Bay Dr)
Fee
$15, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Sunday, January 30 | 10 am - 2 pm

Whales Watching Boat Trip All Ages

Join the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, the longest running and most experienced whale watching entity in Virginia, in an immersive encounter with some of the ocean’s most magnificent creatures. Specialized educators will share a program built upon the Aquarium’s scientific research and almost three decades of experience connecting guests with the area’s marine mammal visitors. Trips take place on a spacious and stable catamaran that boasts one of the most comfortable rides in Virginia Beach, and has been outfitted especially for conducting dolphin & whale watching trips.  Experience spectacular views from the outdoor covered seating areas, or from cushioned seats inside a heated cabin. This ~2.5 hour adventure is an exploration in search of whales, dolphins, seals, and seabirds. Marine mammal sightings are not guaranteed. Meets at Virginia Aquarium Dock (717 General Booth Blvd.)  All experience levels welcome.

​Location
Virginia Aquarium Dock (717 General Booth Blvd.)
Fee
$28, ages 12 & up 
$23, ages 3-11
Under 3: FREE
Registration Required
​Date & Time
Saturday, January 29 | 2 pm - 4:30 pm
Sunday, January 30 | 10 am - 12:30 pm 

North Landing River Boat Tour | 10 & up **FULL**

Join Moore to See Expeditions for an in-depth eco-tour of the marshlands that surround the North Landing River.  These areas provide critical habitat for many species of wintering waterfowl including snow geese, tundra swans and variety of ducks. Bald eagles are also a common site along this waterway.  This trip will provide many unique opportunities for taking nature photos.  All experience levels welcome. Please wear (and bring extra) warm layers, a hat, gloves or mittens, a wind- or water-proof outer layer, and waterproof shoes or boots for getting in and out of the boat.

​Location
Pungo Ferry Boat Launch (2272 Old Pungo Ferry Road)
Fee
$35, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Friday,  January 28 | 10 am - 12pm & 1 pm - 3pm
Saturday, January 29 | 10 am - 12pm & 1 pm - 3pm
Sunday, January 30 | 10 am - 12pm & 1 pm - 3pm

NEW Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel 4th Island 12 & up  **FULL**

The man-made islands of the CBBT that support the bridge provide rest stops for migrating and wintering birds. The islands can offer unusual or locally rare sightings. Northern gannet, brant, king eider, harlequin duck, little gull, great cormorant, purple sandpiper and rarities such as black-tailed gull make this one of the best winter birding sites in Virginia. The presence of the occasional harbor seals and wintering whales adds to the appeal of this unique site. Fee is per car; additional registration form required by Jan 14 for all participants within each car. Due to construction this trip will visit the 4th island only.  Bridge tunnel fee will be waived for participants.   All experience levels welcome.

Click Here to Download the CBBT Individual Security Form (must be completed by Jan 14 for all participants in each car)

​Location
Meets at CBBT Virginia Beach Office (2400 Northampton Blvd.)
Fee
$15, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Saturday,  January 29 | 8:30 am - 10 am
Sunday,  January 30 | 8:30 am - 10 am







 Community Art Project

Seeking Submissions for 2022 Community Art Project!

Calling all artists! Here's an opportunity to work with materials you might have thought to throw away, including random scraps of paper, cardboard, natural materials, painted leftover pieces of paper to make a piece of art that represents the birds, and other animals that we observe in Hampton Roads.

Individual submissions will be assembled into a quilt and displayed at the 2022 Winter Wildlife Festival Exhibit Hall on Saturday,  January 29 at Princess Anne Recreation Center. Click here to download the flyer. 

All submissions must be received by January 15, 2022. 

​Who can Submit? 
Project is open to all ages & skill levels!
​Where to submit?
​Any Virginia Beach Rec Center or Library!

Or by mail at the following address:
WWF Community Art Project
2154 Landstown Rd
Virginia Beach, VA 23456
​Submission Criteria ​All submissions should be on an 8-inch x 8-inch square of paper.

This project is inspired by "The Scraps Book" by Lois Ehlert. Watch the video to learn more about the book and get inspired to create your collage!






 StoryWalk ®

Birds by Carme Lemniscates.jpg​Bundle up the family and visit StoryWalk®!

"Birds are like thoughts.
They come, stay awhile…
and then fly away."

Birds come in all shapes, sizes, and colors! Come learn all about birds and their wonder-inspiring ways through brilliant graphic illustrations and gentle, thought-provoking text. The 2021 Winter Wildlife Festival StoryWalk® book Winter’s Dance will make encore appearances throughout the month as well!

​2022 STORYWALK® SCHEDULE

SATURDAYS (10am - 1pm)
​WEDNESDAYS (10am - 1pm)
​ FESTIVAL WEEKEND (10am - 1pm)
​Jan 8
​Lake Lawson/Lake Smith Natural Area
​Jan 12
​Great Neck Library
Jan 29
​Princess Anne Recreation Center
​Jan 15
​Marshview Park
​Jan 19
​Kempsville Library
​Jan 30
​Mount Trashmore Park
​Jan 22
​City View Park
​Jan 26
​Princess Anne Library


 Wildlife Advocate Award

Mary Reid Barrow Wildlife Advocate Award

Named after Mary Reid Barrow, who devoted her entire career to engaging the public about our natural environment, the Wildlife Advocate Award was created in 2020 as a way to honor those in our community that strive to make a difference for wildlife and the environment. Barrow's weekly columns made nature relatable to the average person and she was a gentle, but tireless, advocate for wildlife. She continues to serve the community through her involvement with environmental non-profits and campaigns. 

Submissions are no longer being accepted - check back for updates regarding this year's winner! 

2021's Winner: Meredith Broadhurst

Mary Reid Barrow.jpgOn Friday, January 29, during the 11th Annual Winter Wildlife Festival keynote presentation, Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation announced the recipient of this year’s Mary Reid Barrow Wildlife Advocate Award as Meredith Broadhurst

Broadhurst is a valued member of the wildlife rehabilitation community who goes above and beyond to help injured animals in need. Answering the calls of concerned citizens at all times of day or night, her dedication knows no bounds when it comes to assisting wildlife. To aid in her work, she raises funds and finds creative ways to educate the greater community through social media, outreach, training, and workshops. Through those efforts, she has also established a network of other caring individuals to share in the work of caring for the animals. It is for all of those reasons that she was nominated and selected as the 2021 award recipient. 
Read the press release.

 Resources

Plan Your Birding Adventure

It’s easy to discover Virginia’s wild side with the Virginia Bird and Wildlife Trail (VBWT), an organized network of outdoor sites highlighting the best places to see birds and wildlife in the Commonwealth. With 400 species of birds, 150 species of mammals, 150 species of amphibians and reptiles, 250 species of fish, plus hundreds of butterfly, dragonfly, and other invertebrate species, you’ll soon see why Virginia is a premier destination for birding and wildlife viewing.  The VBWT features 65 trail loops to help you plan your outdoor travels to multiple birding and wildlife viewing sites each with a webpage, map, descriptions, and links to tourism information. 



Free Apps

Connect with Nature. Explore and share your observations from the natural world with these free apps. Download and follow the step-by-step instructions for using the apps from a mobile device.

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​Download eBird
​Download Merlin
​Download iNaturalist
Google Play
App Store
Google Play
App Store
Google Play
App Store


Hidden Treasures in our Parks & Natural Areas 

Discover the hidden treasures, unique wildlife, flora, and fauna tucked within our city parks and natural areas.
Watch Hidden Treasure video series >>

Virginia Beach Public Libraries Wildlife Resources

Special Thanks to our Festival Partners

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Contact Information