|Flight for Freedom Eagle Release
|Photographer of the Year
|Wednesday Evening Entertainment
|Artist of the Year
|Thursday Evening Entertainment
|Wildlife Center Photography Workshop (NEW in 2008!)
|Friday Evening Entertainment
|Wildlife Presentations & Workshops
|Saturday Evening Entertainment
|2008 Schedule of Events & Activities
|Other Festival Activities
|Guided Eagle Viewing
The American Bald Eagle Foundation and the people of Haines welcome you to the 2008 Alaska Bald Eagle Festival! Most Festival activities are held at the American Bald Eagle Foundation museum, conveniently located at the corner of Second Avenue and the Haines Highway. Here you will attend wildlife workshops, meet for tours, classes and live raptor presentations. Daily busses and/or vans will carry you safely to the Alaska Bald Eagle Preserve to witness the annual "Gathering of the Eagles. " At this time of year, over 3,000 eagles can be found in the Preserve feeding on a late run of salmon. The Festival includes a variety of evening entertainment to round out your Festival experience.
Plan to attend the Festival highlight - the rehabilitated eagle release at the Preserve at 1:30 on Saturday. Anyone may bid in the annual "Flight For Freedom" auction for the honor of releasing one of these magnificent birds back into the wild!
Started in 2003, the "Flight For Freedom" auction program raises funds for statewide educational programs having to do with the American Bald Eagle and the preservation of its habitat in Alaska.
Between scheduled events, you will want to visit our many shops and galleries around Haines and in Fort Seward. Haines offers a wide selection of local Alaskan artwork and other special treasures to take home with you.
Thank you for helping us to celebrate our 14th annual Alaska Bald Eagle Festival!
Robert O'Toole - Photographer/Photoshop Instructor from Clearwater, Florida
Robert is a full time Nature Photographer based in Florida. "Not one day goes by when I don't truly appreciate how lucky I am. I travel the world and make a living doing what I love" he says. Robert leads photography workshop tours year round across the US and around the world. He also leads instructional workshops around the country on image optimization techniques using Photoshop.
Robert O'Toole's vertical "Bald Eagle Banking" image was honored in the 2006 BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition. Robert has 7 years of experience traveling around the world working for various companies in the commercial photography field as a full time professional photographer. Past clients include Quiksilver, Billabong, DC shoes and Liquid Energy. Robert's first nature photography exhibit was at the 2005 Celebrate the Sea international ocean imaging competition. Robert O'Toole has been leading photography and Photoshop workshops since 2006 and has been a BIRDS AS ART / Instructional Photo Tour co-leader for the past five years.
Register now to join Robert O'Toole on Wednesday morning for a digital photography workshop using Photoshop at our local high school computer lab. In the afternoon the class will continue with a field session in the Bald Eagle Preserve. Bus transportation to and from the Preserve is included with the cost of the class. Please note that the Photoshop class is not suitable for the complete beginner. Students should have a familiarity with the program and are welcome to bring their own laptops with personal copies of the software.
On Thursday and Friday, Robert will teach full-day workshops on photographing bald eagles in the Preserve. Join a professional wildlife photographer for this rare opportunity to capture stunning images of our nation's symbol. Class sizes are limited and registration is available only via our Festival internet site until full.
There is an additional $100 charge per day for these classes or $250 for all three workshops with Robert O'Toole. Robert will also be presenting a 30-minute show the Bear of Katmai Wednesday evening during the catered Festival dinner.
John C. Pitcher - Artist/Naturalist from Dorset, Vermont
John Pitcher approaches his art as an Artist/Naturalist, creating his field sketches, field journals and finished paintings with confidence and originality. For over thirty years he has expressed his passion for birds and the natural world through his paintings of wildlife.
John C. Pitcher moved to Alaska in 1971, there he spent the next twelve years raising his family and developing his art and birding skills. His first sketches of the Bald Eagle "Council Grounds" were made in 1982 which he later developed into his popular painting "Winter on the River". He since has lived in Washington and now in southwest Vermont where he and his wife Sue Westin, also a professional artist, run their Gallery on the Marsh along the shore the Dorset Marsh.
Nick Hammond, a British author/editor/publisher specializing in wildlife and nature, rates Pitcher as "among the best American wildlife artists." Robert J. Koenke, a leading spokesperson on wildlife art and a marketing expert says, "I'd compare Pitcher's work with that of any of the great artists in the world." Pitcher is an honoured member of the Society of Animal Artists and a canoeing crewmember of "WREAF" (Wilderness River Expedition Artist Foundation) where his field studies and paintings are part of the touring exhibit "Visions of the Boreal Forest -- Artists deep in the Wilderness" - this exhibit will soon be featured at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.
His published works are through Artique Ltd., Mill Pond Press, Alaska Geographic, National Geographic, National Wildlife Federation, Apple Jack Limited Ed. and Good Nature Publishing Co.
An award-winning member of the international Society of Animal Artists, John Pitcher's paintings are exhibited nationally and are in the permanent collections of the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, AK; University of Alaska Museum, AK; The Bennington Center for the Arts, VT; The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, WI; and the Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, NJ.
Thursday evening will be a Celebration of Wildlife Art at the Foundation. Come meet our Artist of the Year, John Pitcher, and other local Haines artists from 5:30 -7:00 for an open house viewing of their work. At 7:00, John will present "Drawing Close to Nature" an inspiring PowerPoint lecture sharing experiences from his many years in the field as a wildlife artist. There is no additional cost for the Celebration of Wildlife Art open house or evening presentation by John Pitcher. Art by local artists will be on display and available for purchase. Light refreshments will be served.
(NEW in 2008!)
Join Steve Kroschel and Mario Benassi on either Wednesday or Saturday for a three-hour outdoor photography workshop of selected animals at the Wildlife Center located approximately 30 miles north of Haines. Steve Kroschel has spent a lifetime working with wildlife, both in animal husbandry and natural history filmmaking. His passionate educational work with live animal lectures has taken him across North America -- from elementary school classrooms, to college campuses, to appearances on national television. His natural history documentaries and cinematography are seen on PBS, TLC, Discovery Channel, and the major networks.
Now, in his forties, Steve wanted to provide the public with a unique opportunity to experience nature up close and approachable. To that end, he has established a wildlife center with tame/trained indigenous animals of Alaska that would otherwise be virtually impossible to intimately experience, unless they were a pelt!
At the Kroschel Film's Wildlife & Educational center, visitors can tickle almost all of their senses and photograph these shy native animals like no place else. Natural backdrops and cooperative wildlife become a photographer's dream, with the end result being information, experiences and photographs that benefit both subject and observer without any harm to either. To obtain this result in the wild would otherwise require weeks, months and years, as well as enormous amounts of money to achieve. For example, wolverines are almost impossible to view in the wild, and some biologists that study them for a living, never have seen one! Yet, at the center, habituated wolverines can be photographed and touched without hazard. A world exclusive! The center continues to be a reality thanks to the curiosity and passion of visitors like you.
There is an additional $80 charge for this workshop and space is limited. Please register online when purchasing your festival pass. Bus and/or 15-passenger van transportation from Haines is included. Be prepared to be outside all day and bring a sack lunch and snacks. Buses and/or 15-passenger vans will leave the Bald Eagle Foundation at 9:00 on Wednesday and Saturday mornings and arrive at the Wildlife Center at approximately 10:00. The workshop will end at approximately 1:00 on Wednesday and at 1:00 sharp on Saturday. On Wednesday, transportation will be provided from the Wildlife Center back to Haines. Participants on Saturday will be taken directly to the Preserve in time for the Flight for Freedom Eagle Release at 1:30.
Wildlife Presentations and Workshops
Live Animal Presentations
Anchorage Bird TLC - Kerry Siefert and Lynn Siefert
Juneau Raptor Center - presenters TBA
Wildlife Center - Steve Kroschel and Mario Benassi
Join us for live animal presentations at the Wednesday evening catered dinner, Friday evening entertainment, Saturday and Sunday mornings at the American Bald Eagle Foundation museum. Learn about local animals and take advantage of this rare opportunity for close-up photographs.
Sunday morning at the American Bald Eagle Foundation will be devoted to an introductory Injured Bird Handling training. Learn what to do when you find an injured bird, either a song bird or a raptor. The training begins at 9:00 with one hour of lecture inside folowed by a break outside with a live bird demonstartion and photo opportunity. We will return inside to continue another hour of lecture and discussion. This workshop is open to everyone and is an excellent introduction to those wanting to volunteer at a local raptor center. The workshop will be lead by Kerry Seifert, Mario Benassi and Beth Pattinson.
Wildlife Presentations and Discussions
Ecology of the Chilkat Valley by Tim Shields at 4:00 on Wednesday. Join local artist and ecologist Tim Shields for a brief overview of the spectacular valley surrounding Haines. Learn why 3,000 eagles converge here in the Valley of the Eagles each fall. Learn about the different animals, raptors and salmon found around Haines. Welcome to Haines and to the start of the 14th Alaska Bald Eagle Festival!
Avian Flu presented by Beth Patinson at 3:00 on Thursday.
Join Beth Pattinson from the US Fish and Wildlife Service Anchorage office to learn about avian influenza in the north. There will be time for questions and discussion following the PowerPoint presentation.
Eagles in British Columbia and Alaska presented by David Hancock at 4:00 on Thursday.
Learn from renown eagle expert David Hancock about the latest research and news regarding bald eagles living along North America's western coast from Vancouver to Haines.
Bald Eagles in Southeast Alaska presented by Phil Schempf at 3:00 on Friday.
Join Phil Schempf from Juneau to hear about recent survey results of Bald Eagles in Southeast Alaska and implications for changing Federal regulations relating to Bald Eagles.
Bald Eagles in Florida presented by EagleWatch Coordinator Lynda White at 4:00 on Friday.
Florida has the third largest population of Bald Eagles in the United States, yet the differences could not be more pronounced between Alaska's far north and Florida's deep south. Learn more about the differences and similarities between the eagles of the frozen north and the steamy south. Discover what Florida's EagleWatch citizen science program, aiding state and federal wildlife agencies is doing to assist in monitoring eagle recovery. You will also enjoy some spectacular photos of Florida's Bald Eagles.
Wolves in the north presented by Bob Hayes at 3:30 on Saturday.
Back by popular request, Bob Hayes will share with us the latest research on Wolves in the Yukon and Alaska.
Gyr Falcons and Ptarmigan in the North presented by Dave Mossop at 4:30 on Saturday.
Dave Mossop, an instructor from Yukon College in Whitehorse and better known as the Bird Man of the Yukon, will present findings from his community study investigating the reationship between ptarmigan and gyr falcons.
• Naturalist Guided Excursions to the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, twice daily
• A Park Ranger is frequently on-site in the Preserve to answer your questions.
Join a naturalist for a narrated 21-mile journey up the Chilkat River to the "Eagle Council Grounds" in the heart of the 48,000-acre Bald Eagle Preserve north of Haines. This is a unique area where a special underground reservoir in an alluvial fan keeps a mile-long stretch of the Chilkat River ice-free providing access to the unique winter run of spawning salmon when food supplies are exhausted elsewhere. Your drivers enjoy sharing their knowledge of the area's rich natural and cultural history. Questions are encouraged.
DURATION: 3 hours including bus ride. Participants who are prepared for the weather can arrange with their guide to stay through lunch in the Preserve for a total of 7 hours, and return on the afternon bus to town. Make sure to arrange this with your guide ahead of time. During some festivals the local brown bears were still at large and had not gone to their winter dens yet. Cell phones do not work from the Preserve.
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderate. Two miles of level trails, viewing areas and boardwalks. Participants should be in good health and able to walk for sustained periods outdoors. The buses will make multiple stops.
DRESS: Dress for the weather, with warm layered clothing, waterproof shell, warm boots, gloves, or mittens.
BRING: Cameras, extra film and batteries, binoculars, and a snack. Heat packs extend battery life on cold days.
COST: Included in your festival registration.
WEATHER: It's not nearly as cold as you might think! Just 21 miles from the ocean you can expect everything from 40Á F, cloudy and rainy, to 20Á F with three feet of snow , to 0ÁF with clear skies. At this latitude and time of year the sun rises at 8:30 AM and sets around 3:00 PM.
Join us Wednesday evening at 6:00 for a catered dinner celebration inside the American Bald Eagle Museum. Sit down at long tables for a delicious meal among friends. Following dinner, cinematographer and Founder of Kroschel Films Wildlife & Educational Center Steve Kroschel and local falconer Mario Benassi will share with you stories and a wolverine from their center. Many years ago, Steve was invited as a guest on Saturday Night Live with two of his wolverines. Come Wednesday night for a gathering of friends and learn about this magnificent animal!
Artist of the Year Robert O'Toole will also join the evening celebration and share with us spectacular pictures from his recent photography trips to Katmai. Join Robert for an amazing 30-minute show -- the Bear of Katmai!
There is an additional $35 fee for the Wednesday night festival dinner, animal presentation and slide show. This annual event sells out each year. Please register online to attend. The main course will offer an option of Prime rib or local Halibut. We apologize to vegetarians that the meal will not provide a vegetarian option.
Join us at 5:30 pm on Thursday for the Premier Celebration of Wildlife Art at the Bald Eagle Foundation. Our Artist of the Year, John Pitcher, will be joined by other local artists to discuss their work. Art will be on display and available for purchase at our evening open house from 5:30-7:00. There is no additional cost to attend and light refreshments will be served.
At 7:00, John Pitcher will present "Drawing Close to Nature" - an inspiring PowerPoint lecture sharing experiences from his many years in the field as a wildlife artist. The presentation will be followed by an informal question and answer period. Take this rare opportunity to learn from a professional artist/naturalist how he approaches a new project and produces sketches and paintings from nature. Participants interested in sketching with John at the Council Grounds should attend this session and schedule a group field lesson.
There will be a Live Bird Presentation and Photo Opportunity starting at 7:00 p.m. at the Bald Eagle Foundation. We are excited to welcome back Kroschel Film's Wildlife & Educational center Founder Steve Kroschel and local falconer Mario Benassi to this very popular evening event. Several years ago Steve thrilled the Festival audience by holding a lynx from his center. This year's animals will be a complete surprise! Join us for an exciting, fun-filled Friday night at the Foundation.
The cost of this event is included with the Friday Festival registration.
Join us at 7:30 p.m. for an evening of song and dance with the HI-DE-HO'S at the American Bald Eagle Foundation. Jazz, Swing and Blues of the masters performed by Haines muscians with day jobs and Xtra Tuffs. Entrance is included with your Saturday Festival registration. Local music Alaska style!
Heidi Robichaud: vocals and guitar
Kid Burfl: trombone and vocals
Tom Heywood: guitar and vocals
John Boswell: Bass
• View the American Bald Eagle Foundation natural history display and diorama
• Klukwan Tribal tours and Artist Demonstrations Thursday-Saturday in Klukwan
• Jilkaat Kwaan Heritage Center Benefit Dinner and Auction November 4th in Klukwan
• Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center Festival activities through Sunday
Please register online to attend the Alaska Bald Eagle Festival. Early registration will both secure you a ticket and help us to plan for buses to transport people to the Preserve. You may purchase one, three or five-day festival passes. There is an additional fee for the professional photography workshops and catered Wednesday night dinner. All proceeds go to covering the cost of the Festival and to running our educational programs. Please register online.
One-Day Festival Pass: