Heritage and tradition
Carson Valley is known for its rich agricultural history and celebrated traditions, both long-standing and somewhat new. And there is possibly no better example than the Eagles & Ag event which takes place at the end of January and is now in its 17th year.
What is Eagles & Ag? To begin with, “Ag” is short for Agriculture, and “Eagles”, well that should be self-explanatory. The two come together in Carson Valley when the many herds of cattle give birth to their calves and eagles descend upon the valley to dine on the afterbirth. For the eagles, it’s fine dining and prepares them for their flight home to Alaska or Canada. And what a sight to behold! Bald eagles everywhere, in almost every rancher’s field in Genoa, Gardnerville and Minden.
The Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce is the host of this signature event, which began in 2001 and has grown both in popularity and size over the years. This annual gathering of eagles and celebration of agriculture takes place this year January 24 – 27. Registration is now open and tends to sell out quickly.
Participants have the opportunity to meet birds of prey up close and personal by attending the “Opening Reception and Photography Exhibit” Thursday evening. Falconers with their birds will be present, and local wildlife photography will be on display.
On Friday, the Falconers’ Dinner, which has grown in popularity over the last several years, provides an unprecedented up close look at various types of hawks and raptors, and the chance to meet their handlers. The dinner will take place at the Carson Valley Inn, which is known for its warm hospitality and excellent food.
Saturday, the Chartered Bus Eagle/Ranch Tour & Luncheon is surely a highlight of the weekend and provides a private, behind the scenes group tour of four area ranches. Participants will learn about Carson Valley ranching, conservation and have an opportunity to photograph eagles, hawks, owls, and other birds of prey. Afterwards, a delicious luncheon will be served, where everyone can finally wind down and share photographs and experiences.
“We’re expecting another great year. This is our 17th time doing Eagles & Ag, and each year we try and offer a little more or something a little different, but what never goes away is how much fun it is to show off Carson Valley. Most people come to the event for a chance to see and photograph bald eagles in a natural setting or see some of the falconer’s birds up close, but all of them go away with a better understanding of how important the ranches are in maintaining habitat and how remarkably beautiful this Valley is. That’s what makes it all worth doing,” said Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Bill Chernock.
The event will offer other tours, photography classes and lectures throughout the weekend as well. For more information, pricing and to download the event schedule go to http://www.carsonvalleynv.org/pages/EAGLESAG/.
Focus and shoot
One of most anticipated opportunities of the event is the photo contest, and believe me there is plenty of scenery to shoot. I’d venture to say that even an amateur photographer such as myself, could get an award winning shot, even if only by luck. Here’s more information on the contest; https://chambermaster.blob.core.windows.net/userfiles/UserFiles/chambers/820/CMS/2019_Eagles_Ag/PhotoContestFlyer2019.pdf.
More birds of prey
As I said before, Carson Valley is known for its traditions, especially long-standing ones. If you can’t wait for “Eagles & Ag,” or can’t get enough of those birds of prey, The California Hawking Club is celebrating its “48t Annual Field Meet” January 16 – 19 at the Topaz Lodge in South Gardnerville.
There will be several activities over the 4 days, including a banquet, as well as a free “Introduction to Falconry” presentation for the public on Saturday from Noon to 1:00 pm at the Topaz Lodge. The presentation will look at the history of falconry, discuss how raptors are identified, the importance of conservation, which birds of prey are used in the sport of falconry and their hunting attributes. Following the presentation, attendees will be able to view numerous birds of prey in the weathering area and talk with many practicing falconers. To attend this presentation, please RSVP to Mary Hoffman via email at firstname.lastname@example.org (please include in the subject line: Intro Presentation RSVP), or call (661)299-5555.
The California Hawking Club was formed in 1971 by a small group of dedicated falconers to preserve and promote the public image of the art of falconry, to assist in the conservation of birds of prey, and to collect and disseminate information through its publications. More information on this club and the event can be found at https://www.calhawkingclub.org/index.php/field-meet/annual-field-meet.
Well, I think we’re off to a great start this year, with more traditional heritage celebrations to come. So keep an eye on Carson Valley and plan your year accordingly. History is made every moment, every hour and every day by every one of us. Make our history count … keep it ALIVE!
— Kim Harris