The city of Río Gallegos, at the southern tip of Argentina, celebrated its first annual shorebird festival earlier this month and marked a major step in becoming a conservation leader.


In 2004, the city paid little attention to its shorebirds or its wetlands, according to Manomet’s Shorebird Recovery Project Director Charles Duncan. But things have changed.


Last year, the city proudly opened a new nature interpretation center focusing on shorebirds. This month’s week-long Shorebird Festival featured musical performances, academic presentations and a showing of the documentary Crash, which explores Red Knot migration. The Rio Gallegos working group invited Duncan to the festival and applauded Manomet’s contribution to the area’s progress.


“We believe that you share the efforts and achievements of these years, and many things would not have happened if it were not for your generous company and leadership,” the invitation read.


Duncan said that the community’s leaders understand that the region’s well-being is directly tied to the health of the surrounding ecosystem.


“Years ago, our partners in Río Gallegos helped us understand the power of connecting conservation of shorebirds and their habitats to the quality of life of an area’s residents,” Duncan said. “We salute them for the huge success in doing exactly that with the city’s first Shorebird Festival.”


– Dave McGlinchey