Snow Goose Festival on the Santa Fe Trail

Annual High Plains Snow Goose Festival


Held In February, Lamar, Colorado

The Annual High Plains Snow Goose & Birding Festival and Nature Arts and Crafts Fair in Lamar, Colorado.
Registration begins at 5 p.m., at the Lamar Welcome Center


Contact 719-336-4379 for reservations, dates and times.

Snow geese, Canadian geese and Ross geese have begun to winter in Colorado. Birds thrive in the grain-rich farmland and prairie habitat. Numbering at least six million, lesser snow geese are considered to be the most abundant goose in the world according to official counts.

"Of wild birds, the water fowls are the most numerous: the ponds and rivers being literally lined at certain seasons of the year with myriads of geese, ducks, and cranes," from Josiah Gregg's "Commerce of the Prairies".
The book enumerates his journeys along the Santa Fe Trail during the mid- 1800's. A pioneer of the trail, Gregg was an amateur naturalist of the prairies. He studied the tribes of Indians, the plants and animals, and the mineral resources of the new west.

Photos Courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Dave Menke, Gary M. Stolz, Gary R. Zahm, Lamar Chamber of Commerce

A sample itenerary of one of the past festivals

It will start off on Friday with registration and social hour in the evening, then for fun-filled days of tours and activities on Saturday and Sunday. Take in a sunrise or sunset tour to view snow geese, sandhill cranes, and other waterfowl. Also during the day go on a guided nature walk, and/or visit local and historic sites of interest.




4-8 PM
Registration, Hospitality Gathering and Book Signing

Unwind after your drive and pick up your registration packet for the weekend’s activities at the “Shore Arts Center” in downtown Lamar. Official kick off for the festival; meet folks, ask questions, enjoy hors d’oeuvres and music, meet author, Mary Taylor Young who will be on hand from 6-7 PM to autograph books.

6-8 PM
Snow Goose Hunting Seminar

Division of Wildlife biologists will present information about hunting snow geese on the eastern plains of Colorado. Topics will range from the basics for beginners, to tips and techniques for the seasoned hunter. “Pre-register by calling Linda at 719-336-6608”






Saturday, Feb 23, 2008

8-4 PM
Nature Art and Craft Fair

Browse local artisans’ booths and information booths in Betz Building Atrium.

8-9 AM
Beginner Bird Walk

Great opportunity for those with limited or no birding experience. The group will walk through Lamar Community College Woods, one of the sites on the Colorado Birding Trail. Walk leaders will provide assistance in locating and identifying birds. Leaders—Clif and Pearle Sandstrom-Smith, both very experienced birders who have led many field trips and who enjoy spreading the fun of birding to new and newer birders. Clif and Pearle are active members of the Arkansas Valley Audubon Society and prior board members. Outdoors at LCC.

8-9 AM
Camp Amache History

Amache, a Japanese internment camp during World War II located near the town of Granada. Come hear the story from the students of Granada High School, who have spent years researching and gathering information on this slice of US history and who have helped preserve the historic site. This is an extraordinary story of Youth and Preservation. Indoors

8-3 PM
Colorado Birding Trail Computer Lab

The Colorado Birding Trail is a fabulous interactive website to show you in great detail the places to go and birds to see in Southeast Colorado. Visit the computer lab and to learn about and explore the website with a guide. Indoors

9-10 AM
Plan Your Perfect Trip During Spring or Fall Migration

Choose the birds you’d like to see or the dates you’d like to visit and we’ll help you create a memorable itinerary! Hear about the great places to go and things to do including birding hot spots, unusual lodging, fascinating heritage sites and a collection of local characters that like to connect with visitors. Come let us help craft your plans for the next trip to the canyons or plains! Indoors

9-10 AM
Colorado Bluebird Program

Find out more about bluebirds, their nesting needs, and the efforts to inventory them throughout the state! Learn specifics about bluebird houses and maybe even build one! Indoors

AM Wildlife Photography Workshop

Join Steven Goodman to learn more about wildlife photography, tips, tricks, and how to get that great photo with moving subjects and changing conditions! Indoor program – field trip at 1 PM.

9-12 PM
A History of the Sand Creek Massacre

with Craig Moore, Interpreter at the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site. Near dawn,
November 29, 1864 some 675 Colorado Volunteers, under the command of Colonel John Chivington, attacked a village about 600 Cheyenne and Arapahoe. The attack resulted in the death of over 130 Indians, including many children, women, and elderly. The following day, the village was burned and most of its contents destroyed. the nature of the attack, including allegations of scalping and mutilations, led to federal investigations and a military inquiry. Congress soon labeled the events a national disgrace. In Colorado, some eyewitness officers bitterly condemned the attack, describing it as cowardly and murderous, others defended it as an eye-for-an-eye victory. Today, for many, the Sand Creek Massacre remains a place of deep emotion and martyrdom. The Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site is located in Kiowa County, approximately 20 miles northeast of Eads. Bus leaves at 9 AM, tour starts at 10 AM.

10-11:30 AM
Writing in the Woods

Nature Journaling with Children Join our special guest, Mary Taylor Young, as she leads the children into the woods to explore, observe and connect with the wild things outside the back door! This special limited program is for children (third grade and up) will enjoy some time outdoors in LCC Woods, and then come inside to journal their experiences. Limited program – must pre-register.

AM Homestead Act Presentations

The Homestead Act had a profound impact on the settlement of the West and in particular
Southeastern Colorado. Fred and Norma Dorenkamp, Arena Dust Tours, with the assistance of documentation from the Prowers County Land Office will present the history of the Act's evolution locally, how settlers obtained land, and detail a family case history based on research utilizing a web site database, searching land patents and deeds. Participants will learn how to access this information for their own family research. Indoors

10:30-11:30 AM
Amphibians and Reptiles of Colorado

Learn all about reptiles and amphibians in Colorado from Tina Jackson, Herptile Coordinator for the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Indoors

10:30-11:30 AM
Notable Birds of SE Colorado

Hear from biologists from Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory and Division of Wildlife about certain bird species here and the efforts to help their populations and manage their habitat. Including terns, plovers, prairie chickens, snow geese and more! Indoors

11 AM-12 PM
Birds of Prey – Live! And 1-2 PM

Learn about hawks, owls, eagles and falcons through a live bird of prey presentation. Diana Miller from the Pueblo Raptor Center will discuss birds of prey adaptations, predator/prey relationships, specific characteristics, natural histories, the personal histories of each bird, and their work to rehabilitate the injured birds. Indoors

Lunch served at the college cafeteria – must pre-register

1-3 PM
Mini Film Festival

1-4 PM
Photography field trip

Head out into the field with photographer Steve Goodman to put your new skills into practice. Bring your camera and aim to capture the snow geese, ducks or whatever flies into view. Pre-register for limited seating to local wildlife area. Outdoors

1-2 PM
Birds of Prey – Live!
Repeat of morning program

1-2 PM
"Well-Known and Little-Known" Natural History of SE Colorado

Discover the natural history of Southeast Colorado with Dave Leatherman. Dave knows the prairie intimately and has lots to share about the birds, bugs, trees and much more! Indoors

1-2 PM
WPA Sites and Stories

Abbey Christman has completed a survey of over 300 New Deal Sites in Southeast Colorado. View her slides of WPA structures in Kiowa County and the region, and hear details of the conditions in eastern Colorado that led to the Depression and the Dust Bowl. Field trip following.

2-3 PM
Field Trip to the Tower in Lamar City Park (following the lecture)

Abbey will lead an optional field trip to the Tower in Lamar’s City Park, the structure that was the first CWA project in Colorado. (approximately one mile from the LCC campus) Outdoors

2-3 PM
Falconry Demonstration

See a demonstration of the art of falconry – hunting with real birds of prey! Travel just to the edge of town with presenters Cathy and Bob Tintinger. Outdoors

2-3:30 PM
Kid Zone

Kid’s activities designed to have fun while learning more about snow geese and wildlife! Indoors

2:15-3:15 PM
Zebulon Pike – Explorer and Namesake!

Zebulon Pike is said to have been one of the first explorers to “discover” Pikes Peak from a vantage point near John Martin Reservoir. 2006 was the 200th anniversary of his historical journey. Rediscover his adventure with Don Headlee, Ranger at John Martin with the Army Corps of Engineers. Indoors

2:15-3:15 PM
Colorado Birding Trail

Discover the new Colorado Birding Trail! Created by several bird, wildlife and conservation organizations with local landowners all working together to offer places to go and birds to meet! Find out how its works here! Indoors

2:15-3:15 PM
Koshare Indian Dancers

The Koshare Indian Dancers are Boy Scouts who have studied Native American culture, dances and costumes and will perform today! Based out of the Koshare Indian Museum in La Junta, they travel far and wide to perform and educate people about this culture.

3:30-6:30 PM
Sunset Tour

As the sun sinks in the western sky, all the ducks, geese and cranes return to the lakes to roost for the night. Join us for a guided tour of the wildlife areas to watch this spectacle at sunset! Outdoor tour. Cost $5

6:30-8:00 PM
Banquet at Lamar Community College Wellness Center

8 PM
Land of Hidden Treasures:
Discovering the Secrets of the Colorado Prairie Mary Taylor Young has brought Colorado landscapes to life with her vivid portrayals, at times touching or humorous but always compelling, of the wild creatures and native communities that define the West. Her nine books, hundreds of articles, signs and exhibits in parks and visitor centers, countless brochures, and Words On Birds column in the Rocky Mountain News, have helped people of all ages increase their knowledge and understanding of wildlife and enlist their commitment to preserve our priceless natural heritage. Indoors




Sunday , Feb. 24, 2008

5:15-10 AM
Sunrise Tour

Watch the snow geese wake up and fly off to their feeding grounds. Tour State Wildlife Areas and farm fields to see a variety of waterfowl including sandhill cranes, ducks and shorebirds. Breakfast will be served at the Eads Community Center – warm up with a hearty breakfast and good company indoors before the trip back to Lamar. Cost: $5.00 per person over 6, plus $5.00 for breakfast. Outdoor tour.

11:30 am free
Kiowa Creek Natural Area at Jackson’s Pond Tour

Town of Eads - See how the community has planned to save their natural area and wetlands, and still develop. Must pre-register – call 719-438-2200.

12:30 p.m.
Boggsville Tour and Birding Trail
with Duane Nelson
Birders should plan to join a walk though Boggsville with Duane Nelson, local ornithologist. We will be departing from the John W. Rawlings Museum at 12:30 pm Join a guided tour of the Purgatory Birding Trail which crosses the historic Santa Fe Trail. Cost is $10 per birder or $15

Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site
Located 8 miles east of La Junta on Hwy 194, the Fort is open for self guided tours daily from 9:00–4:00 with guided tours daily at 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Cost $3. Heritage Journey Tours with Laneha Everett – Tour, driving tours through Cottonwood Canyon, Two Buttes, Black Hole.


What to Bring and What to Wear

A few handy items will ensure your day is both comfortable and fun. Make sure you have everything you need to make the most of your day. Considering the time of year and the unpredictability of Colorado weather, please pack & dress accordingly.


Go to Lamar Chamber of Commerce web site to make your reservations or phone- 719-336-4379. Or you call the friendly staff at the Colorado Welcome Center 719-336-4383, for their assistance when making your plans. The Festival is Sponsored by: Colorado Division of Wildlife, Lamar Chamber of Commerce, Prowers County Development, Inc., Kiowa County and the Eads Chamber of Commerce.







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