MartinFest Update

Hello OPMA Members,

Our first Purple Martin Festival is behind us, and we want to provide a quick report for now, but more detail will follow in a later newsletter and on our website.
The weather was PERFECT!     The unusual week-long heat wave finally broke, and a mild breeze, sunshine, and normal humidity levels provided a beautiful day and probably helped to bring people out.   

We had 133 people sign our guest book, but suspect that there were very many more who attended without stopping by our Welcome table.     We had attendees from Alberta and Belarus (here on vacation with family), from Thornhill, Ottawa, Michigan, and many points throughout Essex County. 

Colchester Park and Harbour is a really excellent site, with a spectacular view of the lake, marina, and a snack bar/restaurant within walking distance.    We are thankful to the Town of Essex & Essex Communities in Bloom for use of this site for our event.   
Our Purple Martin colony (11 nesting pairs), located on the top of the hill overlooking the lake, seemed to know they were the star attraction, and posed on the overhead wires for pictures.   Folks unfamiliar with Martins got to see and hear the typical activity of a Martin colony.     
The talks were informative and quite well attended, and the 2 banding sessions drew a crowd.    The area for kids’ activities was busy all day, with so many creative games to play, all with a focus on Purple Martins!     
We had photographers taking pictures throughout our event, and several newspaper reporters were there also. 
Many responded to our suggestion of a donation to help the local Food Bank, resulting in two large bins being filled to the brim, as well as receiving some monetary donations!

This was a fantastic experience!    We will build on the positives, and make adjustments where necessary, but overall, we felt our first MartinFest was very successful in our goal of spreading interest in the conservation of Purple Martins.  

We want to express our gratitude to all who helped to make this event possible: 
  • to all of our members who shared our event through social media, who posted our printed flyers in their local areas, and who came to see us at MartinFest, 

  • to our members at MartinFest who spent time interacting with the public, answering questions,and sharing their expertise and experiences;  

  • to those who took care of advertising in newspapers, on radio, TV, and other online venues; arranging for bales of straw and boards for seating, obtaining sound projection for the speakers, lending canopies, providing water, making display boards, providing handouts, and hauling truckloads of the above (and more), in and out …. and many other tasks too numerous to list, 
  • to those who arrived early to lay out the site-map and erect all of the canopies, tables, chairs, put up banners, etc., and those who came and/or stayed specifically to help with take-down and cleanup, (John Balga, Fern & Linda Bellavance, Richard & Susan Carr, Ron Delcourt, Brian Drew, Paul & Kathy Hamel, Al Hamill, Marianne Knapp & family, Karen & Dennis Koestler, Cy Poisson, Carolyn Recker, Nancy Robson, Dennis Shady, Carol Taves, Jon & Ann Taylor, Mary Wilson);

  • to the vendors who showcased their unique goods and crafts (Arbor Herbs & Lavender, Natural Soy Candles, Native Trees & Plants, Laser Design Co., Plein Air Artists of Windsor & Essex County);
  • to the participants whose displays and information represented their particular connection with the OPMA and our event (Essex Communities in Bloom, Nature Canada, Pelee Island Bird Observatory, Walpole Island Purple Martin Project, Holiday Beach Migration Observatory)
  • to our Welcomer who provided a guest book and greeted as many visitors as possible, 
    (Monica Poisson; assisted by Nancy Robson)
  • to all of our speakers who presented their particular topics, (Dennis Shady, John Balga, Ron Delcourt, Lou Kociuk, Mary Wilson, Lyle Papps, Nature Canada, Pelee Island Bird Observatory)

  • to the team providing the kids with a wonderful array of games and snacks throughout the day,(Susan Carr, assisted by Penny Williams, Carol Holley, Kathy Hamel)

  • to the bird banders who conducted two separate banding sessions, (Richard Carr & Ron Delcourt)

  • to the photographers who recorded the day, (Jeremy Wolting & Brian Houston)
  • and to our MartinFest Committee, for their organization of and commitment to this project. 
    (John Balga, Richard Carr, Paul Hamel, Al Hamill, Marianne Knapp, Mary Wilson)
Thank you SO MUCH, to everyone who took part in any way!   We feel blessed to have such support from our membership from the beginning of this experience right through to July 7th!    

Our success is due to the contributions of all of you !!!!! 

With sincere appreciation, 
The OPMA Board 

Mary Wilson


Mary Wilson

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