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27th annual Migration Festival at Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz

Almost two dozen groups set up today at Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz, California for the 27th annual Migration Festival! Tom Kieckhefer of the group, Save the Whales (1; based in Seaside), drew attention to the endangered vaquita dolphin, which number only 200. “They’re getting caught in the nets of shrimp fishermen and they drown. We want to make people aware of that.” Other groups included the Marine Mammal Center, Save the Frogs, and Save Our Shores.

The free festival included kid games, storytime, face painting, live music, guided bird walks, a bat presentation and a migration skit by UC Santa Cruz students.

Education was a big part of the Festival, because many animals stop in Santa Cruz as part of their migration patterns, including birds, whales, and butterflies!

Martha Nitzberg, lead interpreter for Natural Bridges State Park, said she enjoys educating the public on the importance of the environment and why the Santa Cruz habitat is especially important for migrating animals.

“Where we live on the coast and our backyards are part of the migration patterns, and people don’t even realize that sometimes,” Nitzberg said. “We’re here highlighting who comes and who goes. We want to get people more aware of their environment.”

-Bill at

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