Every February, Port Aransas showcases its rare and famous winter neighbors, the Whooping Cranes. The festival is open to avid or amateur birders, photographers, families, and anyone who loves the outdoors and nature-related activities. The 19th Annual Whooping Crane Festival is February 19-22, 2015 in Port Aransas, Texas.

Special guests at this year’s festival include board members and staff from the International Crane Foundation (ICF), which is holding its annual board meeting in Port Aransas to coincide with the festival. Forty-nine board members, their guests and staff from across the U.S. will be attending the festival. ICF works worldwide to conserve cranes and the wetland and grassland ecosystems on which they depend. “ICF has been an integral part of the Whooping Crane Festival for the past 19 years,” said Ann Bracher Vaughan, President and CEO of the Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce. “The chamber is delighted to host ICF’s Board of Directors and staff during this year’s festival, and we welcome them to ‘America’s Birdiest Small Coastal City!’”

A special evening session open to all festival registrants will feature Dr. George Archibald, co-founder of ICF and internationally recognized as the world’s leading authority on cranes. Dr. Archibald and colleagues from ICF will discuss the life history of the Whooping Crane and conservation and recovery efforts for the species.

Festival attendees will have the opportunity to take a guided boat tour to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge to view the cranes on their wintering grounds. The four-day festival attracts hundreds of birding enthusiasts each year and features world-renowned speakers, birding experts, and bird and nature bus tours. Exhibits, a free nature-related trade show, and interactive workshops and seminars are ongoing throughout the festival.

The festival is sponsored by Cheniere, Eagle Optics, HEB, Port Corpus Christi, and Swarovski Optik, as well as many local partners, and is proud to be a nature-related and educational festival which stands out as “one of a kind,” focusing on conservation and recovery of one of our most endangered species.

For more information and registration visit: www.whoopingcranefestival.org. Early registration closes at midnight on Monday, February 9. On-site registration will open on Thursday, February 19, 1:30 p.m. at the Civic Center and run daily through the festival.