Cheney Free Press -


Turnbull Refuge festival provides something for everyone


If there is a highlight to spring, it might be this weekend’s “Floods, Flowers and Feathers Spring Nature Festival” this Saturday at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge. The third annual festival, which had over 400 visitors last year on a day refuge visitor services manager Sandy Rancourt said was so cold she “could actually see my breath” runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. with free entrance to the refuge and free events for everyone of all ages.

Rancourt said the festival has doubled in size this year, with 35 organizations partnering with the refuge to provide tours, hikes and activities. There will be two large tents, the “family” interactive booth tent, where all kinds of activities are taking place, and the informational booth tent, where festivalgoers can learn about a number of outdoor organizations.

“It should be a good day,” Rancourt said.

Some of the activities in the interactive booth tent will be “Make Your Own Bookmark,” with representatives on hand from the Cheney Library to provide resources and assistance to make a bookmark unique to the reader. Ducks Unlimited will have decoy painting for kids, Eastern Washington University wildlife students will have some live amphibians and reptiles on hand. Exploring Families will teach what signs to look for to find certain animals, Ice Age Floods Institute will provide some hands-on science about the region and the Mobius Science Center will have one of its most dreaded demonstrations, the bed of nails, on hand.

The information tent will have booths where festival participants can learn about the activities of, and how to possibly join, organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, Channeled Scablands Weed Management Area, Friends of Turnbull, Ice Age Floods Institute Cheney-Spokane Chapter and the Spokane Audubon Society. There will also be a bluebird-nesting box demonstration, a fire and wildfire enforcement demonstration along with a number of walks and tours such as a photography walk and a wildflower walk.

There will also be activities and information at the refuge’s visitor center and bookstore.

As the festival grows in popularity, Rancourt said they hope to eventually expand it into Cheney, providing some activities in the city and others out at the refuge.

“That is our goal down the road,” she said. “We’re not really set up for a lot of things, plus we’re running out of space.”

John McCallum can be reached at

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