Monday, May 4, 2009

Loon Appreciation Week

Every spring, people throughout North America honor one of our most charismatic wild birds during Loon Appreciation Week. Held the first full week in May, this celebration of the Common Loon is marked locally by loon presentations at birding festivals across North America as well as the nationwide distribution of an artistic and educational poster by the LoonWatch program of the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute in Ashland. The poster and workshops provide information about the preservation of loons to the people who enjoy them, and instill wonder for this fascinating bird.

This years Loon Appreciation Week poster features a photograph of a nesting loon taken by nature photographer Peter Hawkins. Hawkins will be signing the posters at the May 12-17 Spring Migration Celebration in Duluth and at the Walker Artists and Crafters Mall on May 22, from 1 to 6 p.m. in Walker, Min.. The posters will be given away free at both events. Hawkins received his B.A. from Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, Calif., but has spent most of his adult life in northern Minnesota working to inspire a desire for preservation through his photography. His website, which includes photographs and a biography, is If you would like a free Loon Appreciation Week poster, contact the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute at (715) 682-1223 or

In Wisconsin and Minnesota, residents will have an opportunity to attend loon programs during the month of May. On Sunday, May 9, LoonWatch will offer an introductory Loon Ranger Workshop in Spooner, Wis. This is the 31st year LoonWatch has coordinated volunteers, known as Loon Rangers, on more than 350 lakes to monitor loon activity and reproductive success. This training will equip individuals with the tools necessary to monitor loons on Wisconsin lakes. For more information, contact LoonWatch at (715) 682-1220 or

In Duluth, the LoonWatch posters will be given away in conjunction with a presentation at the Spring Migration Celebration on May 12-17 by local birding experts Dave Benson and Mike Hendrickson about Birdathon, a 24-hour bird-sighting competition. The six day festival will include presentations, potlucks and several field trips to birding hotspots. Anyone interested in the event should visit

Loons will also be a topic of discussion at the May 15-17 Chequamegon Bay Nature and Birding Festival at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland. There will be several events related to loons at the festival, such as a pontoon trip onto Beaver Dam Lake and a presentation about the loon’s role as a barometer for lake health led by Stacy Craig, coordinator of the LoonWatch program. The three day event will feature over a hundred workshops, tours, presentations and field trips to choose from. Writer, speaker, storyteller and humorist Al Batt of Hartland, Minnesota will be the keynote speaker. Anyone interested in the festival should visit to view the complete schedule and register.

For more information about loons, visit the LoonWatch website at or continue reading our blog for both and new information.

Northland College and its Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute are located in Ashland, Wis., near the shores of Lake Superior. Northland’s distinctive environmental liberal arts program, passionate faculty, and beautiful natural location create a community of engaged learners who develop the skills and experience to prepare for advanced studies and meaningful lives. Founded in 1892, Northland enrolls 700 students from across the nation and across the world. For more information about Northland College and its Institute, visit

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