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Festival Will Draw Flocks of Bird Lovers

November 22, 1986|WILLIAM S. MURPHY

A museum with collections of more than 40,000 bird eggs gathered from throughout the Southwest is certain to attract ornithologists. The San Bernardino County Museum at Redlands has an added attraction today and Sunday that will draw bird lovers from throughout Southern California as the museum hosts its fourth annual Wildlife West Festival.

The festival will include demonstrations of woodcarving, taxidermy, fly tying and rod wrapping. A number of talented wildlife artists will be displaying and selling their work. While the festival emphasis is on birds, other animals found in the wilderness also serve as subjects for blade and brush. Among the organizations with participating booths are the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society.

The highlight of the festival promises to be an exhibit of 100 of the best entries in the Federal and State Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp contest, including the winning design by Arthur G. Anderson of Onalaska, Wis. His painting of three redhead ducks flying over a backwater marsh was selected by a panel of wildlife artists and conservation officials from more than 800 entries nationwide.

$285 Million in Proceeds

The Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act was passed in 1934 by a Congress alarmed at the steady decline of America's once-huge flocks of ducks and geese as millions of acres of prime waterfowl habitat were drained for agriculture. Each year, until 1949, a leading artist was commissioned to prepare a duck stamp design. In 1949, the duck stamp contest began and became the federal government's only continuing art competition. By 1984, more than $285 million from the sale of duck stamps to hunters had been used to preserve some 3.5 million acres of wetland habitat. In recent years, the stamps have become recognized as collector's items and are snapped up by non-hunting conservationists.

The museum offers other exhibits that are designed to appeal to a diversity of interests. Currently on display are examples of Southwest Indian art and crafts including carving, basketry, weaving, pottery and jewelry from the Hopi, Pueblo, Navajo and Zuni cultures.

Historic exhibits cover the coming of the first Spanish explorers into the San Bernardino Valley during the late 18th Century continuing to the 1850s when Mormons established what is now the city of San Bernardino.

Mormons arrived in the valley in 1851 from Salt Lake City to establish the colony of San Bernardino. That same year the new residents built the first road to the summit of the nearby mountains, developing a prosperous business hauling lumber to Los Angeles and other communities. Highway 18, the Rim of the World Drive, follows this old lumber trail.

The museum is about 60 miles east of Los Angeles. Follow the San Bernardino Freeway (Interstate 10) two miles past the interchange leading to San Bernardino, in the direction of Palm Springs. Take the California Street offramp north a short distance to the museum at 2024 Orange Tree Lane. Hours on Saturday and Sunday are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. There's a picnic area on the grounds. For information phone (714) 792-1334.

The Edwards mansion adjacent to the museum was originally built in 1890 and is a classic example of Victorian architecture. It has been converted into a restaurant where lunch is served Saturdays from 11:30 to 2:30 p.m.; Sundays from 10 to 2:30 p.m. And the food is excellent.

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