LEESBURG – From Segway tours of secluded ecotourism attractions to a 5K run around Leesburg, Lake County’s 3rd Annual Wings & Wildflowers Festival is offering new events that will appeal to birders and beyond.
The festival, to be held Oct. 3-5 at Venetian Gardens, located at 201 E. Dixie Ave., Leesburg, will spotlight Lake County’s growing reputation as Florida’s premier birding destination and features field trips to birding hotspots and wildflower havens.
New to the festival this year are two guided Segway tours through Emeralda Marsh, a 7,000-acre conversation area considered to be the crown jewel of Lake County birding. It is best known for viewing herons and egrets, and is home to a vast array of species including the King Rail, Purple Gallinule, Limpkin and Barn Owl. The tours are $50 per person and will be held at 7 a.m. Friday, Oct. 3 and Saturday, Oct. 4.
Sponsored by Advocare of Eustis, the “Running is for the Birds 5K” is a family-friendly run/walk at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 4, beginning at Venetian Gardens and winding through the City of Leesburg's Venetian, Fountain Lake and Magnolia trails. Registration is $15 and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Florida Ornithological Society.
Also for the first time, nature enthusiasts are invited to join Patricia Burgos of Lake County Water Authority and Shari Blisset-Clark of the Florida Bat Conservancy for the free “Wildflowers and Bats” field trip from 2- 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 3. Staff will discuss the efforts taken to convert a pasture into a lively wildflower meadow and visit the Flat Island bat houses to learn the benefits of inviting bats into home gardens.
To sign up for these and many other Wings & Wildflowers events, visit www.wingsandwildflowers.com. For up-to-date festival information, follow www.facebook.com/WingsandWildflowers or www.twitter.com/wingswildflower.