Pikes Peak Birding & Nature Festival

Next Festival: Friday, May 19 to Sunday May 21, 2017

We haven’t updated the website for 2017 yet, but you can see the program for 2016 below.

 www.pikespeakbirdingandnaturefestival.org for more information

Early Bird Discounts available until April 17, 2016  ▪  Military Discounts

PPBNF Poster 2016 lettersize

Join 16 public, private and non-profits for an ecotourism birding and nature festival that promotes conservation and education to explore the area’s natural and agricultural heritage resources of the Pikes Peak Region. The festival offers thirty-five unique opportunities for participants. Twenty field trips take you from the top of Pikes Peak to the prairie. Join an experienced field trip leader for a birding experience you’ll never forget. Explore the prairies, foothills, and higher elevations for a variety of birds, each species adapted to its special habitat.

Provide an ecotourism birding festival that promotes conservation and education that builds upon the area’s natural and agricultural heritage resources of the Pikes Peak Region.

Festival Partners:
The festival committee is a group of dedicated professionals from twenty public and private, and non-profit agencies that want to collaborate to provide a unique opportunity to highlight the diversity of birds and wildlife in our region, parks and facilities.

  • Aiken Audubon Society
  • Bear Creek Nature Center
  • Cheyenne Mountain State Park
  • Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
  • Chico Basin Ranch
  • Colorado Parks & Wildlife
  • Colorado Springs Parks & Recreation & Cultural Services
  • El Paso County Recreation & Cultural Services
  • Fountain Creek Nature Center
  • Friends of Cheyenne Cañon
  • Friends of El Paso County Nature Centers
  • Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center
  • Pikes Peak Community College
  • Pikes Peak Community Foundation
  • Pinello Ranch/Venetucci
  • Starsmore Visitor & Nature Center
  • The J&R Group


Paul Bannick, our keynote speaker, is an award-winning wildlife photographer specializing in the natural history of North America with a focus on birds and habitat. Coupling his love of the outdoors with his skill as a photographer, he creates images that foster the intimacy between viewer and subject, inspiring education and conservation.

In June of 2012, Paul was awarded the Canon prize in the International Conservation Photography Awards, an award selected by Art Wolfe from among thousands of entries worldwide, for the photo that best exemplifies the mission of the ICP Awards. In 2011, Paul took first place among professional in the Birds and Their Habitat category in Audubon Magazine’s prestigious annual photography contest. Paul’s first book, The Owl and the Woodpecker, continues to be one of the best-selling bird books in North America, and was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award for general non-fiction. He will also have Woodpeckers of North America: A Naturalist’s Guide and A Journey with The Owls available for purchase at the festival.

Paul has served a keynote speaker for dozens of festivals and fundraisers across the country, and two of his photos are part of the traveling exhibit, “Arctic Wings,” featuring images from several of the world’s finest wildlife photographers.

After graduating from the University of Washington, Paul worked successfully for 15 years in the computer software industry beginning as one of the original 75 employees of the Aldus Corporation. He later served as a Director for Adobe Systems, and also worked as a senior manager at Microsoft. Wishing to combine his passion for wilderness conservation with his career, Paul turned his attention to non-profit work and currently serves as the Major Gifts Director of Development for Conservation Northwest, an organization dedicated to protecting and connecting wild areas from the Pacific Coast to the Canadian Rockies.

Jennifer Heiny is a Park Interpreter with the City of Colorado Springs at Garden of the Gods. She received a B.A. in Geology and a B.A. in Meteorology from the University of Northern Colorado. She has worked with the School Adventure Programs at the Garden of the Gods for several years. She has a passion for sharing nature with youth and gets really excited about sharing geology and paleontology with others.

Ken Pals is a life long birder. One of his best-loved books is Feathers for Lunch. Chickadees, “the birds that know all and tell all,” are his favorites. He is a well-known nature interpreter working at El Paso County Park’s Bear Creek and Fountain Creek Nature Centers for over 30 years. Ken has a passion for sharing the joy of birding and enjoys the pleasure of seeing Birding for Beginners 101 and 102 followers on the trail. He currently perches in Fort Collins.

Debbie Barnes-Shankster has been birding and photographing birds for over ten years. She is currently an Aiken Audubon Society board member, program chair, and field trip leader. In addition, she volunteers for Colorado State Parks. She teaches raptor identification classes at Cheyenne Mountain State Park, has spoken at meetings of the Colorado State Raptor Monitors, and taught a birding class at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.

Ruth-Ann Larish has been an instructor at Pikes Peak Community College (PPCC) for 21 years. She has taught courses in Environmental Science, Wilderness Ethics, PR of Natural Resources, Outdoor Leadership, Mountain Orientation, Outdoor Recreation Programming, Wilderness Navigation, and Introduction to Recreation just to name a few. She is a Master Trainer in the Leave No Trace (LNT) principles and has taught the trainer classes both at PPCC and in the Colorado Springs Community. When Ruth-Ann is not teaching or developing new curriculum and degree programs, you will find her engaged in some of her favorite pastimes: kayaking, backpacking, yoga, canyoneering, music, reading and cooking.

Mark Izold has taught at Pikes Peak Community College for the past 16 years.  Previously he taught at the Maricopa Community Colleges of the Phoenix, Arizona region and at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.  He has specialized in micropaleontology and holds a BS and MS in the Geological Sciences.

The Wild Things Outreach Program is a volunteer group of dedicated students from the Zoo Keeping Technology program at Pikes Peak Community College. Wild Things allows students to gain extra hands-on experiences with a variety of educational animals while practicing their interpretive public speaking skills. The students accepted into the Wild Things Program have completed the program’s prerequisite courses and are well prepared to provide any group with a fun, educational and interactive experience!

The student club at Pikes Peak Community College known as S.C.A.T. (Students Concerned for Animals in Trouble) focuses on conservation and the care for all animals and their environments. In accordance with their various conservation activities, every year this club chooses two animal foundations (local, national, or global) to fundraise for and raise awareness about how these organizations are helping animals.


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