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Our Opinion: An event worth saving

February 12, 2002

When the organizers of the Salton Sea International Bird Festival decided they could not hold the event this year because of a lack of volunteer help, it was sad news because the festival had become a tradition in the Imperial Valley for the five years is was staged annually.

The organizers said they wanted to use this year as a building year so that the festival might return in 2003. It was difficult to see such an important event for the Valley come to a stop, even if it was only a temporary stop.

Now the coordinators of the New River wetlands project have come forward with a new event — a spin-off of the international bird festival, sort of an abbreviated version of it. On April 20 those with the wetlands project together with the Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program and with support from the organizers of the international bird festival will conduct a bird and nature event in conjunction with Earth Day festivities.

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The event will feature tours of local areas where large bird populations can be found, the Salton Sea and wetlands areas. The tours also will focus on the natural beauty of the Valley, organizers have said. They have said the event will be geared toward beginning bird watchers and focus on local people taking part in the tours.

Jim Kuhn, organizer of the Salton Sea International Bird Festival, has said he supports the idea of a bird and nature event. He said perhaps in the future the international event can be held in alternating years with the bird and nature event. That sounds like a good idea.

We support people coming up with creative solutions to maintain important programs in the Imperial Valley, and this is one example of that kind of creativity. Still, we would like to see the international bird festival continue to be an annual event that attracts people from throughout the world. Such an event promotes the tourism industry and educates the world about the Imperial Valley and how it has used its natural resources to create agriculture and a safe haven for birds.

We wish Kuhn luck in preparing for another international bird festival. In the meantime, we look forward to the bird and nature event in April and praise those who understand the importance of keeping something good going.

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