Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival

Stewart/USFWS

Colleen is Black Bear & Furbearer Biologist, Surveys & Research Program, Wildlife Management Division of North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

WOW Partners

Partners volunteer time, equipment, expertise, donations, locations and more

     Colleen Olfenbuttel

        Keynote Speaker

Register

To reach the 2021 WOW registration website:


CLOSED---CLOSED---CLOSED


NO 2020 WINGS OVER WATER


POSTPONED UNTIL 2021

Festival-at-a-Glance



Schedule (date & time) for 88 trips, including the main session in October and WOW Encore in December

                                   NO WINGS OVER WATER IN 2020. POSTPONED UNTIL 2021

wings over water Overview

TO SEE THE 2019 FESTIVAL SCHEDULE INFORMATION GO TO SCHEDULE SECTION--THIS INFORMATION IS KEPT ON-LINE AS AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT A NORMAL WING OVER WATER FESTIVAL (WOW) LOOKS LIKE. NEW FESTIVAL INFORMATION WILL BE ADDED IN 2021. WOW 2020 IS POSTPONED UNTIL 2021.

Photos by USFWS, Hillibrand, Orsulak, Rock, Lebing, Glennon, Stewart & Meekins

Hillebrand/USFWS

Orsulak/USFWS

In 1997 Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival was begun under the direction of then refuge manager, Mike Bryant, as a way to encourage and offer the public wildlife and wild land interpretation, educational opportunities and experiences on regional national wildlife refuges. This annual national wildlife refuge fundraising event has grown from a few offered activities in 1997, to over 90 birding, paddling, photography, art & natural history programs. The festival takes place in 6 national wildlife refuges over 6 northeast North Carolina counties. It is one of the premier east coast wildlife festivals. Locally, many activities take place on National Park Service property, specifically Cape Hatteras National Seashore, one of the Festival partners. What keeps Wings Over Water going year-after-year with a high registrant return rate? Great, knowledgeable activity leaders along with a small ratio of participants-to-leader (so you don’t get lost in the crowd) and of course wonderful wildlife opportunities.  Every festival leader is a professional in their own field, volunteering their time, travel and expertise. Wings Over Water leaders come from a wide range of professions & fields such as professors, top birders, well-respected botanists and biologist, authors and award-winning photographers and artists. We also have a Wings Over Water session in December just for birding called Wings Over Water (WOW) Encore (dates vary year to year). WOW Encore is held in what is often colder weather. The hope is that there is a better possibility of seeing large flocks of migratory birds and waterfowl than might be present during the October session.

Wings Over Water is an annual refuge fundraising event sponsored by Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society (CWRS). CWRS is a non-profit group which exists to support regional national wildlife refuges. WOW, besides providing funds for educational grants to schools, is a part of many CWRS refuge support projects such as maintaining trails and signs and other refuge structures. Also, WOW helps CWRS provide volunteers and staff who are essential to the maintenance and operation of the regional national wildlife refuges visitor centers and refuges. This year, funds from WOW and CWRS will go toward one of the most important and ambitious projects, which is raising the Pea Island Refuge Visitor Center about 5 feet. The idea is to prolong this important gathering location for hundreds of thousands of birders and nature lovers until another facility is built. This project is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2020.  

POSTPONED UNTIL 2021------POSTPONED UNTIL 2021-----POSTPONED UNTIL 2021

                                                                             OPEN LETTER


Wings Over Water participants and supporters, 

Due to continued issues with COVID-19, we are sad to announce that there will be no 2020 Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival (WOW).  We aren't canceling the event; we are postponing it until 2021!

We will soon begin planning for WOW 2021. Dates for WOW 2021 are October 19-24 (main session) and WOW Encore December 10-12.  Please mark your calendars now and plan to join us in 2021.  After a year gap, our aspiration is for everyone to have TWICE the enjoyment next year, to make up for the loss of the 2020 event.

Thanks to many of you who have provided input on this tough decision.   One suggestion we have heard repeatedly is to "remind people to support WOW monetarily with donations."  We certainly understand if you have been unemployed during the pandemic closures, and we do not expect you to offer donations that might negatively impact your families.   However, if you have the means, please consider supporting our staffing needs, as we have also lost a large portion of our annual income this year.

You can support Wings Over Water by registering next year.  But to keep us going you are also welcome to send a check to WOW  P.O. Box 1808 Manteo, NC  27954. Also, you may call in a credit card donation by calling Steve @ 252-216-9464. And you may go directly on-line to donate - https://www.coastalwildliferefuge.com/donate.html

Donations to Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society may be tax deductible. The Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society is a 501(c) (3), non-profit organization, which supports Wings Over Water by directing designated funds through national wildlife refuges.

We send best wishes and hope that you and your families will be safe, well, and able to get out and enjoy one of the few safe things available for entertainment – outdoor activities such as birding, paddling, hiking, biking, etc.