Unfortunately, we have some difficult news to share. In light of recent announcements by Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, which indicate that COVID-19 could have a resurgence in the fall and could also very likely develop into a seasonal illness, the Executive Board of Friends of Bosque del Apache has made the very difficult decision to cancel the Festival of the Cranes for 2020.
This decision to cancel Festival 2020 was not taken lightly. However, the health and safety of our members, visitors, and staff is of the utmost importance to us. We also take very seriously the task of being responsible stewards of the financial resources that our members and donors bestow upon us. We know that you contribute financially to Friends of Bosque del Apache because you care about the refuge and want to support the critical work of conserving this important wetland habitat in the high desert. For nearly three decades, Friends has utilized your gifts to maximize that support. (Click here to read more about some of the significant ways Friends has, thanks to your financial contributions, aided the refuge.) A significant portion of the substantial costs associated with hosting Festival of the Cranes each year are incurred during the early planning phases, beginning in April and growing through September when Festival registration commences. In current conditions, we fear losing income if the Festival revenue that we have come to expect is not earned back this year. Further, an event of this size could potentially endanger the health of our attendees. Therefore, the risk of moving ahead with planning the 2020 Festival of the Cranes is too great for us to take in this current environment of uncertainty.
Be assured that we are not taking the year off. Instead, Friends staff are currently hard at work investigating how we might deliver birding and photography workshops, environmental education, and tours virtually or in very small groups (in-person) throughout the year. We are upgrading our website and our skills to meet this new challenge. This will allow us to have a better year-round presence and to also deliver a better than ever Festival of the Cranes in 2021.