Coastal North Carolina Wildlife Refuges Group Art Show / by Lara Neece

This past week Brian and I drove up to Manteo, NC, for my artist reception at the Coastal North Carolina Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center. It was a beautiful weekend all around. After renting beach cruisers and biking around town all day, we headed over to the visitor center for refreshments on Friday evening. The visitor center is in a large relatively new facility with fantastic displays about the native plants and animals and environmental concerns impacting the national parks in the area. In addition to my artwork, there was a wildlife photographer, another painter, and two mixed media artists. It was such a fun show because most of the attendees were wildlife or bird enthusiasts, meaning I got to talk to a bunch of interesting people about snowy owls, migration patterns, wildlife art, natural science illustration, etc (equals Lara in heaven). All of the artwork is worth checking out, and I highly recommend stopping by if you are in the area. If not for the art, then just go take a look at their exhibits! The show will be hanging until January 2015 - so you still have several months to get over there.

In a few weeks they will be hosting the Wings over Water festival, which I am told is a huge birding event. Apparently, every year the Alligator River Wildlife Refuge floods many of their fields to attract migrating birds. Much of the wetlands that the birds used to frequent on their journey south has been destroyed, so it's crucial for the park to continue to provide a mostly safe haven for these species (though they do allow hunting on the park). The plus side is that it also creates a great attraction for bird enthusiasts, who come from all over to see the new arrivals. We were a few weeks early to join in the festivities, but we did go on a beautiful little walk through the park on our last day there - where I snapped the gorgeous picture above - and Brian and I found some lovely paddling trails, which we will be sure to utilize next time!