RCI’s Don Henderson to discuss Nevada agriculture at “Eagles & Ag” Feb. 19

GARDNERVILLE — The Carson Valley agricultural and ranching community, along with the Carson Valley Visitors Authority, the Lahontan Audubon Society, the Great Basin Bird Observatory, the Nature Conservancy and the conservation community have announced that the unique birds of prey viewing and agricultural education experience, the 8th Annual Eagles and Agriculture Event, will take place February 19-21, 2010.

The ‘Eagles and Ag’ tours and workshops focus on the influx of bald eagles and other birds of prey that come to the scenic Carson Valley each year during the winter calving season. This remarkable interaction between nature and agriculture attracts photographers, birders and nature-lovers of all kinds who come to closely observe bald and golden eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, and a variety of other bird and wildlife species. A complete schedule of events and information can be viewed at www.visitcarsonvalley.org.

Friday evening, February 19, join us for the kickoff of Eagles & Agriculture 2010. Meet fellow enthusiasts and see what’s new at displays from the many agency and business sponsors who make this event possible. A generous lineup of hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, cash bar and guest presenters set the tone for an evening of socializing and learning. Our presenters this year are Dr. Alan Gubanich, emeritus faculty member at the University of Nevada-Reno and Vice-President of the Lahontan Audubon Society, on “Tell Me Why It’s Not a Red-tailed Hawk” and Don Henderson, an agriculture and rangeland science expert on “Exactly What is Agriculture in Nevada?” Of course, Falconer Lew Souder will return, and this year will be accompanied by Northern Goshawk. Lew’s presentation and Q&A session is always a high point of the reception.

Saturday morning, February 20, luxury motor coaches depart for the private “Ranch and Eagle” tour. As the guest of the ranches, you’ll observe their operations up close and meet the men and women who run them. Attendees will learn about Carson Valley ranching and conservation plus have the opportunity to observe birds of prey from vantage points not available to the general public. This is a once in a year opportunity for eagle viewing and photography. Following the tour, a sumptuous buffet lunch will be served with a group discussion on sightings allowing participants to compare experiences and observations with their fellow attendees. The tour and luncheon is being offered for just $60 per person and includes luxury motor coach transportation along with expert guides on Carson Valley history and wildlife.

On Saturday afternoon participants are invited on the popular Owl Prowl Tour and Live Falconing Field Demonstration. Led by a local naturalist, the Owl Prowl goes to historic area barns to view owls in their habitat. Watch Falconer Lew Souder fly his Northern Goshawk! The tour is limited to only 45 participants, weather permitting. The cost is $35 per person.

A two-day wildlife photography workshop led by Steve Ting of Steve Ting Photography is offered on Saturday and Sunday with instruction and discussion on Saturday and a nature photo shoot on location at an area ranch on Sunday. This is a very affordable opportunity to take your nature photography skills up a notch or two. The cost is $60 or the two-day workshop and is limited to 20 participants.

On either Saturday or Sunday participants can join in the “Raptor Highway and Byway Tour” by Birding Under Nevada Skies. This is a supplemental tour for those interested in the Buteos, Accipiters and Falcons which commonly winter in Carson Valley and the perfect complement to the Ranch and Eagle Tour. The cost is $45 and is limited to 15 participants per tour.

Another unique way to observe the eagles, hawks and falcons occurs on Sunday, February 21, when a guided Raft/Canoe Trip conducted by Great Basin Sports is offered. Participants will paddle down the beautiful Carson River and enjoy scenery and wildlife. This is a great event for photography buffs! The cost is $75.

In conjunction with the ‘Eagles and Ag’ event, there is the annual Photography Contest. A $125 prize will be awarded for the best birding photo and another $125 prize is available for the best agricultural/wildlife photo taken in Carson Valley. To qualify, photos of 5 x 7 or larger along with a CD must be submitted by March 16 to the Carson Valley Visitors Authority. A photo release must be signed for eligibility. Enter as many photos as you would like!

Over 3,000 people have attended previous year’s events and have given rave reviews. Participants are encouraged to sign up soon as space is limited for all Eagles and Agriculture events. The tours and workshops demonstrate how agricultural stewardship benefits wildlife and their habitat in Nevada. All proceeds benefit local wildlife, conservation and agriculture projects. All tours and events are staged at or hosted by the Carson Valley Inn on US Hwy 395 in Minden, Nevada.

To register for ‘Eagles and Ag’, contact the Carson Valley Arts Council at 775-782-8207 or go on-line to www.visitcarsonvalley.org to download the registration form, check out the great lodging specials and learn more about this unique event. For additional lodging and visitor information call the Carson Valley Visitors Authority at 775-782-8144 or toll-free at 800-727-7677.