Shrub-steppe field trips, bird festival set this weekend

May 11, 2017 GMT

The Yakima River Canyon is the place to be this weekend — Get Intimate with the Shrub Steppe and the new Yakima River Canyon Bird Fest will get people outside for field trips and educational programs.

Get Intimate with the Shrub Steppe

This annual, free event runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday with a 7:30 a.m. bird walk. Field trips leave from the Umtanum Creek Recreation Area.

Parking is $5 a day and can be purchased ahead of time at the Chamber of Commerce office in Ellensburg or on site the day of the event.

Families and children are encouraged to attend, but pets should be left at home. Pre-registration is not required.

Free activities include:

n 7:30 a.m.: Bird walk with Deborah Essman

n 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: River bugs and fish with Paul James

n 9 a.m.: Beaver tales with Lixing Sun, cultural landscapes with Steve Hackenberger and spring wildflowers with Ian Seiler


n 10:30 a.m.: Geology of the canyon with Nick Zentner, spring wildflowers with Linda Raubeson and snake sneaking with Robert Weaver

n Noon: Insect investigating with Logan Kral and lichens with Jack Massie

The event is sponsored by the Kittitas Environmental Education Network and the CWU Biology Department.

Bird festival

Meanwhile, KEEN is hosting the first-ever Yakima River Canyon Birdfest from Friday through Sunday.

The event will be based out of Helen McCabe State Park and includes keynote speaker Paul Bannick, workshops, social networking and children’s activities. Bannick is a Washington native and author of two books on woodpeckers and owls. Bannick also will be doing a workshop on photography.

Other workshops include birding by ear, avian illustration, mist-netting and falconry.

Tickets for the event vary in price, depending on which workshops are chosen. For more information visit, or contact KEEN.