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KWEC showcases ‘Birds of Columbia’
COURTESY PHOTO This sword-billed hummingbird is just one of the 523 species of birds, professional photographer Bob Gress observed in Columbia. Gress will share highlights of his photo safari in “Birds of Columbia” at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, March 10 at 2 p.m.

Take a photographic journey to Columbia, one of the three most diverse countries for birds, with professional photographer Bob Gress at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 10, at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center. 

Gress’s 10-person group recorded 523 bird species found within the Columbian Andes Mountains, which branch into three distinct chains. The diversity of habitats within each chain includes plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth.

“Colombia conjures up images of emeralds, coffee, guerillas and cocaine. Of these, the only one this group encountered was coffee,” said Gress. “Today, Colombia is a country that is safe, friendly, clean and incredibly beautiful. This program is for all those who appreciate the value of wild places and wild things.”

Showcasing the rich biodiversity of South America, the event is held in collaboration with the Shafer Art Gallery’s show “The Connected World: Biodiversity in the Art of Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen,” March 1-April 18. A dedicated conservationist, van Kempen uses hyper realistic mixed media paintings to depict nature’s intricacy. 

Gress, former director of the Great Plains Nature Center in Wichita, and co-founder of, has photographed wildlife in wild places throughout North America, Central America, South America, Africa, Asia, New Zealand and Australia. He has an master of science in environmental biology from Emporia State University. Over 4,400 of his wildlife photos have been published and are seen in a variety of magazines, and in more than 60 books, including “Birds of Kansas,” “The Guide to Kansas Birds and Birding Hot Spots,” “Faces of the Great Plains,” “Kansas Wildlife,” “Watching Kansas Wildlife,” “The Living Gulf Coast,” “The Smithsonian Book of North American Mammals” and “The Guide to Colorado Mammals.”