The annual Earth Day Celebration at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary will have a decidedly feathery feel. Held on Saturday, April 24, this full-day celebration coincides with the peak of spring hawk migration, and if southerly winds blow, as many as 300 birds of prey could pass.
All admission proceeds directly support Hawk Mountain conservation programs.
"Every day is Earth Day at Hawk Mountain," says spokesperson Mary Linkevich, "but a one-day celebration is a great opportunity to get people outside and increase awareness."
Hawk Mountain programs on Earth Day meet a diverse range of interests and will include a popular Nature Sketching Workshop from 9 to 11 a.m. in the Common Room. Here, Artist and Naturalist Dave Hughes will present an indoor lesson on general nature sketching and the techniques used to draw raptors, followed by a chance to practice sketching outside. Advance registration for nature sketching is required; call (610) 756-6961.
From 10 a.m.-2 p.m., visitors can chat with astronomer Gary Becker just outside the Visitor Center, and take an up-close look at the sun. Gary's "Touch the Sun" station is designed to teach visitors how scientists use a solar filter to study the sun's surface, and his scope will be trained on a nest in the event of cloudy weather.
At 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., educators will present Raptors up Close!, the Sanctuary's signature live hawk or owl program. Held in the Outdoor Amphitheater, this program is a great opportunity to see a live bird of prey up close and to learn about the special adaptations that put these winged predators at the top of the food chain. This program is held indoors in event of rain.
At noon and 3 p.m., plant enthusiasts may join a garden expert for a guided tour of the Sanctuary's Native Plant Garden, located directly next to the Visitor Center. During the tour, visitors will learn how native plant species benefit wildlife, have a chance to see common species, and will receive tips on how to use native plants in the home landscape as a strategy to reduce maintenance and help benefit and attract wildlife.
Throughout the morning, visitors may sign up for the highly popular "Learn Your Trees Walk" with ecologist Dr. Chris Sacchi from Kutztown University. Held from 1 to 2:30 pm, Dr. Sacchi will take his group outside, rain or shine, and lead a laid-back walk that shows participants how anyone can learn to identify common trees based on their leaves, bark, seeds or fruit. Interested participants may sign-up at bookstore or call (610) 756-6961. Trail fees will apply.
At 1 pm, visitors will have a chance to meet Hawk Mountain interns from Spain, Panama, Kenya, and the Philippines and learn from them the tools, techniques and technology needed to study migratory raptors. This program is held in the Outdoor Amphitheater at no cost.
Throughout the day, visitors may browse and take home free literature on how to become a more eco-friendly citizen, and children may visit the indoor activity table to recycle nature calendars by using them in child-friendly crafts.
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is operated by Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association, a non-profit organization devoted to the conservation of birds of prey. Hawk Mountain is famous as the world's first refuge for predatory birds and is recognized internationally as a center for raptor conservation. Last year, Hawk Mountain celebrated 75 years in raptor conservation.
The 2,600-acre Sanctuary includes a Visitor Center with wildlife viewing areas, Wings of Wonder gallery, interactive exhibits and bookstore, a Native Plant Garden, an eight-mile trail system, half a dozen scenic overlooks, and an Ice-age boulder field.
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is located just off Route 895, seven miles north of the I-78/Route 61 Cabela's intersection. For more information, directions, or details on upcoming events, visit www.hawkmountain.org  or call 756-6961.