North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Arlington's Eagle Festival highlights local nature


February 7, 2018 | View PDF

Christopher Andersson

Kestrel SkyHawk, education director at the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center, presents a golden eagle from the center to visitors at this year's Eagle Festival on Feb. 3.

Arlington locals celebrated the return of eagles to the Stillaguamish Valley with the 11th annual Eagle Festival on Feb. 2 and 3.

The festival, which is run by the city of Arlington, the Stillaguamish Tribe, the Arlington Arts Council and other community partners, is meant to highlight some of the nature in the community.

That includes nature walks, activities for kids about their local environment, and more.

Most well-known is the eagles and other large birds on display from the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center at the Arlington City Council chambers during the festival.

"Our number one goal is to rescue, rehabilitate and release wild animals, but second to that is educating the public," said Kestrel SkyHawk, education director at the center.

"If we can show people these magnificent animals up close, we hope that they will appreciate them more and stop doing other things that are influencing them negatively," she said.

Up close interaction with the birds is one of the best ways to gain empathy with them, she said.

"If you see it in real life, there is nothing better. If you see a picture, that's cool and all, but you really can't connect to that in my opinion," said SkyHawk.

The birds that the center brings are animals that cannot be released back into the wild.

"We have our unreleasable birds. These guys can't go back out into the wild, so we bring them so people can see them," said SkyHawk.

"As long as the animals are being well taken care of and they are as healthy as you can make them, then it's a good thing," she said.

Other activities included the chainsaw carvers at the Legion Park parking lot and the horse rides around Olympic Avenue sponsored by the Downtown Arlington Business Association.

"It's great. I was watching my granddaughter today so we just thought 'let's come down here,'" said Jan Benson.

"We rode the horse ride," she said, and her granddaughter also enjoyed the hands-on activities, like the Arlington Arts Council's nature-related crafts.

"It's pretty fun," said Jessica Koontz, who said it was her first time down at the festival.

"There's lots of good children activities," she said.

Christopher Andersson

Local Jan Benson, left, and her granddaughter Emma Benson put together some crafts at this year's Eagle Festival on Feb. 3.

New activities at the festival this year include a petting zoo sponsored by Arlington Co-Op Supply and a "Country Charming Bracelet Walk" from the Arlington Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce.

Participants who registered received a bracelet and map to local businesses that were handing out charms.

Jennifer Egger, executive director of the chamber, said they were able to sell out and that more than 20 businesses participated.

"The feedback that we've gotten so far has been overwhelmingly positive," she said.

Businesses liked the number of people who came into their stores and "the city likes that there is another aspect to the Eagle Festival," she said.

Egger said that the chamber "definitely" plans to do another charm walk and is considering one around Christmas-time.


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