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One of the chainsaw carvers at Arlington's Eagle Festival on Feb. 1 works on a wood sculpture.

 

Arlington residents got to learn about eagles up close, go on nature walks and learn from local organizations at the annual Eagle Festival.

The festival was held Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 this year, with the majority of activities on Saturday.

Environmental groups  come out to interact with families and talk about their work during the festival.

This year instead of being at the City Council chambers those groups were moved to Haller Middle School, which was the biggest change to this year's festival.

The additional space meant the festival could bring in more organizations.

"We're really excited to have this new space at Haller Middle School so that we could invite 24 organizations," said Sarah Lopez, community revitalization project manager and one of the main organizers of the event.

"It's a really good turnout and we're happy that it's going so well," she said.

Lopez said she got the idea from Tamara Neuffer, an outreach and education specialist at the Stillaguamish Tribe and who is one of the main organizers of the Festival of the River.

"We wanted to do what we do at the Festival of the River and put all of our educators together and create a bingo card for the kids to give out prizes," she said.

Many families came out to Haller Middle School to see the organizations.

"So far, we're feeling really good. It's only 40 minutes in and were filled with people already," said Neuffer.

Other events returned as part of the festival as well, including Sarvey Wildlife Center displaying eagles and other birds of prey, chainsaw carvers working at the Legion Park parking lot, and nature and bird identification walks.

The festival is meant to help families connect with the nature around them.

"It's fun," said local parent Barry Moss. He said his two daughters liked "the science, learning things about the fish and about the water and about the animals."

Parent Emily Goodman said she was enjoying herself.

"It's fantastic. There's lots of fun stuff to do and great stuff for kids and adults," she said. "We came from Camano and we're enjoying it a lot."

Organizations also liked the opportunity to talk to families.

"Actually, someone from PUD came up to me and told us that it was awesome and they were getting so many people at their booth," said Neuffer.

Department of Fish and Wildlife habitat biologist Lindsey Desmul also said the event was useful.

"I think it's really neat. It's nice that it's in the gym so that people can walk around and interact. It's great coming out here and honoring our eagles," she said.

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