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The Inns of Aurora to host Birding Retreat

The Inns of Aurora is slated to host its first birding retreat, featuring national experts on bird photography, bird-friendly gardens, and more, from Saturday, April 9, through Monday, April 11. Developed in partnership with the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, the Montezuma Audubon Center, the New York State Bluebird Society, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the retreat takes full advantage of some of the Northeast’s top birding locations. A full schedule with details follows. Ideal for novice birders and wildlife enthusiasts alike, this immersive retreat features chauffeured service to birding sites and hands-on workshops and personal discussions with retreat guides, including Andrea Vanbeusichem, Visitor Services Manager for the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, Chris Lajewski, Center Director for the Montezuma Audubon Center, John Rogers, co-founder of the NYS Bluebird Society, and Marie Read, widely published wildlife photographer and former photography editor at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Laura Coburn, Director of Serenity for the Inns of Aurora, will host Wine, Cheese, and Birdseed: Creating Bird-Friendly Habitats at Home. Two sunrise excursions will bring guests to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at Sapsucker Woods for a guided nature walk, and to the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge to view Eagles on their migratory route. On Sunday morning, guests may hike Clark’s Ridge, a part of Montezuma, to view the ruins of the 1970 American Eagle Reintroduction program — a rare opportunity. “The highlight [of the retreat] for me will be leading the tour of Clark’s Ridge,” states Vanbeusichem. “It’s normally closed to the public and is one of the most peaceful places I know. Standing on the spot where Bald Eagles were reintroduced to this region feels so special. It is truly a sacred place of historical importance.” The birding retreat builds on the Inns of Aurora’s successful series of educational programming: its sold-out wellness retreat this January blended yoga sessions with cooking lessons, and its vintner-for-a-day package with nearby Heart & Hands Wine Company has been featured in the New York Times. According to Sue Edinger, General Manager, travelers today seek authentic, hands-on experiences to share with each other: “Gathering experts in our lakeside properties allows us to create a truly one-of-a-kind birding experience. We know many travelers value experiences that are both relaxing and educational.” Please visit innsofaurora.com or call the Aurora Inn at 315.364.8888 for reservations. The retreat costs $800 per person or $1,200 per couple including all meals, two nights of luxurious accommodations at Rowland House, instruction, transportation to off-site tours, and tax & gratuity. ________________________________________________________ BIRDING RETREAT All sessions are optional and you are free to join in or spend some quiet time on your own. Please note bird watching excursions leave early in the morning. SATURDAY, APRIL 9Sunrise: 6:26 am | Sunset: 7:30 pm 3:00 pm – Check-in & get settled for the weekend. 6:00 pm – Welcome reception. 7:00 pm – Family-style dinner with introduction to the weekend by Andrea Vanbeusichem, Visitor Services Manager for the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge and Chris Lajewski, Center Director for the Montezuma Audubon Center. SUNDAY, APRIL 10Sunrise: 6:24 am | Sunset: 7:31 pm 6:00 am – Sunrise trip to Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge with travel coffee and muffins (24-minute drive time). At this time of year, Eagles are flying through and the Warblers are starting to arrive. 8:15 am – Options:(1) Depart for an exclusive and rare guided nature hike of Clarks Ridge, part of the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge with Andrea Vanbeusichem. Visit the site and view ruins of the 197 American Eagle Reintroduction program. Tour begins at 8:45 am. (2) Bird watching driving tour throughout the Montezuma Wetland Complex or from the porch at Rowland House. 11:30 am – Lunch and Learn: All about Bluebirds and More by John Rogers, co-founder of the New York State Bluebird Society. 2:15 pm – Hands-on: Photographing birds with Marie Read, widely published professional wildlife photographer and former photo editor at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 5:00 pm – Wine, Cheese, and Birdseed: Creating Bird-Friendly Habitats at Home with Laura Coburn, Director of Serenity for the Inns of Aurora. 6:30 pm – Dinner break. Explore Aurora and enjoy dinner on your own with a $50 voucher. 8:00 pm – Presentation: Creating a Bird Friendly Garden with Marie Read, widely published professional wildlife photographer and former photo editor at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. MONDAY, APRIL 11Sunrise: 6:23 am | Sunset: 7:32 pm 5:45 am – Bird watching excursion and nature walk at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at Sapsucker Woods with transportation, coffee, and muffins (40-minute drive time). 9:00 am – Depart Sapsucker Woods for Rowland House (40-minute drive time). 11:00 am – Check-out of your guestroom. 11:30 am – Lunch and Learn: Creating Bird Friendly Communities with Chris Lajewski, Center Director for the Montezuma Audubon Center.

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