Festival of the Cranes
COVID-19 and Festival of the Cranes Update
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.
The first virtual event we’ll share is the Desert Arboretum Stroll. We’ll release segments on our website and our Facebook page over the next few weeks, beginning April 18. Follow Tom Hyden, our master gardener, as he leads a videotaped tour of the Desert Arboretum, sharing information about the Chihuahuan Desert plants in our garden, how plants have been used historically, and what is currently in bloom. We’re also planning future educational videotapes about how to better enjoy bird watching and spotlighting our spring migrants. Because we may not be able to hold our planned May 16 birding tour, we’ve asked expert birding guide Wezil Walraven to create a set of educational videos to share with you. Check our website and Facebook page for news about other videos and perhaps small, in-person tours when COVID-19 restrictions are eased.
Let’s band together during this challenging time. We need your friendship and help to support our wonderful refuge now more than ever. If you are able, please continue your memberships and donations. The recently enacted CARES bill includes Charitable Giving Incentives to encourage and support taxpayers to give to nonprofits. One of these incentives is a “Universal Charitable Donation” which allows all taxpayers to deduct up to $300 of cash donations to charitable organizations (this includes individuals who don’t itemize their deductions). Another update is the lifting of the existing cap on annual contributions for those who do itemize. Please consider taking advantage of these incentives to give to Friends of Bosque del Apache. Your donation will allow us to continue supporting refuge projects and offering programming., while also keeping our staff employed. If you’d like to make a donation now, you can visit our page here.
Connect with us over the coming weeks and months, and we promise to share uplifting photos, videos, and engaging stories about wild spaces and wildlife that are sure to add to your sense of wonder and well-being. You’ll find access to these on our website www.FriendsofBosquedelApache.org and posted to our Facebook page. In the end, and with your help, we hope to emerge stronger than ever.