Celebrate World Migratory Bird Day and the annual return of the American White Pelicans with other migrating birds to the Rock River region by attending the Rockton Pelican Fest on Saturday, May 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    The Natural Land Institute, Sinnissippi Audubon Society, the Village of Rockton and JR Finally Art Studio & Gallery will present a day filled with activities and sights sure to delight everyone. Learn about and meet some interesting birds while visiting several educational and environmental booths in downtown Rockton and stroll along the historic streets to visit shops and restaurants, which will have pelican themed specials, for an entertaining day. Attend presentations held at Talcott Free Library and Village Hall and visit nearby Nygren Wetland Preserve to look for the American White Pelicans, Sandhill Cranes, other birds and wildlife.

At Nygren Wetland Preserve – Wildlife Overlook

3714 W. Rockton Road, Rockton)   

    • 7:30 a.m.: Early Bird Hike, presented by Sinnissippi Audubon Society. Led by birding expert Alan Branhagen, Executive Director, Natural Land Institute, who will point out birds along the trail and in the wetland.

    • 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Visit anytime throughout the event. Volunteers will be there to help identify birds and other wildlife that will be seen. A First Student shuttle bus will be provided by Downtown Rockton for free transportation to and from the Overlook on an ongoing basis. Pick it up in downtown Rockton at the corner of W. Main and N. Prairie streets.

    • Guided tours of the preserve start at the Nygren Wetland Wildlife Overlook at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., led by Rick Barton; and 2 p.m., led by Zach Grycan.

In Downtown Rockton

10 a.m. to– 4 p.m.

    Stroll the shops and restaurants, see booths at the corner of W. Main and N. Prairie streets and in the 200 block of W. Main St. Visit the Traveling Science Center. Participate in sidewalk chalk art with Melinda Cook from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Collect bird cards – collect all 22 of them to enter to win a LEGO Icons Series Kingfisher. Other prizes also available.

    See art shows and demonstrations at JR Finally Art Studio & Gallery, located at 210 W. Main St., by Rockford Art Guild and Whitman Post Elementary School. Wood Carving Demo by Don Hyson and watercolor demo by Jean Apgar. Enter a drawing to win a pelican watercolor painting by Jean Apgar and buy raffle tickets for a chance to win another pelican watercolor by Apgar.



    • Village Hall, 110 E. Main St., Rockton, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: “Hoo” Haven Open House – visit a live American White Pelican and hear interesting facts about the life of pelicans and their habitat.

    • Talcott Free Library, 101 E. Main St., Rockton: 10:30 a.m. – World Bird Migratory Day and Peregrine Falcons, Sinnissippi Audubon Society, Jennifer Kuroda; 12:30 p.m. – Trash Talk: Recycling, Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful, Corinne Sosso; 1:30 p.m. – Life in Art: Using Pelicans to Study Dinosaurs, Burpee Museum of Natural History, Ryan Dewey; and 2:15 p.m. – Creating a Pollinator Friendly Garden & Conservation@Home, Natural Land Institute, Kim Johnsen


Outdoor Booths:

    Burpee Museum, Buckets n Blooms, Downtown Fancy Franks, Forest Preserves of Winnebago County, GAIA Environmental Club (Hononegah High School), “Hoo” Haven, JR Finally Art Studio & Gallery, Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful, Kids Spot Academy, Natural Land Institute, Northern Regional Groundwater Protection, Planning Committee, Severson Dells Nature Center, and Sinnissippi Audubon Society.

Event sponsors

    • $500: Sandhill Crane; $250: Northern Regional Groundwater Protection Planning Committee, Sinnissippi Audubon Society Great Egret; DairyHäus, Pheasants Forever Winnebago County, Severson Dells Nature Center.

    • Participating business sponsors ($100+): Balsley Printing & Mailing, Buckets n Blooms, Burpee Museum of Natural History, Dee Dee’s Main Street Coffee and Décor, Downtown Rockton, Forest Preserves of Winnebago County, The Gem Shop, Healing Touch Acupuncture, “Hoo” Haven Wildlife & Education Center, Inkwell Books & Threads, JR Finally Art Studio & Gallery, Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful, KISS Glass, M & M Dari Ripple, Natural Land Institute, Positive Changes Chiropractic, Pickadilly Antiques, Rockton Inn Pub & Grub, Sand Bluff Bird Observatory, Sugar Britches Old Fashioned Candy, TAC Rockford, The Village of Rockton, Truly Treasured Thrift Shop, and Wild Birds Unlimited.

    For more information about the Rockton Pelican Fest visit NaturalLand.org, SinnissippiAudubon.org, or Facebook at event Rockton Pelican Fest.

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