From Staff Reports
The Fayette Education Fund has been awarded a state grant through the West Virginia Tourism Commission’s Matching Advertising Partnership Program (MAPP) in order to promote its annual New River Birding and Nature Festival.
The $4,590 grant is a state match for $1,530 provided by the FEC. MAPP allows state tourism businesses to match their advertising dollars through partnerships with other tourism businesses and the state. Matches are based on the budgets of the applicants with their partners combined, along with the amount of funding available. The matching funds support efforts to promote West Virginia as a premier tourist destination, increasing the number of visitors and travel expenditures to West Virginia.
The New River Birding and Nature Festival, which translates to more than $100,000 a year for the local economy, is designed to provide shoulder season tourism business by attracting birders from across North America – from experts to beginners; the elderly and youth to southern West Virginia for what Bird Watcher’s Digest calls a “Top 10 event.”
The festival is promoted as featuring “guided birding and nature excursions, world-class speakers, the finest collection of guides at any festival destination anywhere, tasty food, and a back-porch atmosphere unmatched by any other birding festival. Signature guided bird-watching experiences include the opportunity to visit a wide range of habitats, instruction for those wanting to enhance their birding skills, and the best guide-to-guest ratio on the festival circuit.”
Funds raised through the festival support the Fayette Education Fund’s Leadership Fayette County, a youth leadership program that has served nearly 200 Fayette County high school juniors since its inception.
Juniors are chosen through a rigorous application process and take part in a nine month-long curriculum which offers environmental education and community service experience at Wolf Creek Park in Fayetteville in addition to a wide variety of other sessions.
“We work to make them aware of the opportunities that are here in West Virginia so they can make an informed decision to return here and raise a family when they complete their higher education,” Dave Pollard, FEF president, said in an earlier interview.
For more on the festival, visit www.birding-wv.com or their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NewRiverBirdingNatureFestival.