An area created to attract songbirds to the courthouse square was added during construction of the Jack Kilby monument. Although birds have been using the habitat on the north side of the courthouse for several months, the "official opening" takes place Thursday.
This small garden on the north of the courthouse will be dedicated with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m., following the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce coffee at 9 a.m. at Rana Luna Boutique at 1910 Broadway Ave.
Cris Collier, president of the Great Bend Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), said the Community Bird Sanctuary was created as a tie-in to the Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway. The plants and feeders where chosen to provide shelter and food for a variety of songbirds right in the middle of downtown Great Bend. Community members are invited to attend its grand opening and commemoration and show their support for this project.
"The songbird habitat is just one of the projects we are working on to tie Great Bend more closely to the amazing natural assets we have just outside our community at Cheyenne Bottoms." Collier said.
The habitat was funded privately by the Brining family of Great Bend. Erika Brining said "Our family is really pleased to be able to help with a project that will promote our community’s goals and the downtown landscape. We’re also interested in watching birds and other wildlife, so this project was of special interest to us. It is our hope that the people of Great Bend, and visitors to our downtown area, will appreciate and enjoy this new feature on the courthouse square."
After Thursday's ribbon cutting, bird lovers may want to cross Main Street and visit the Barton County Arts Center at Forest and Main. The new exhibit is the People, Places, Things photography contest, which features several bird photos. The Arts Center can also help the community get involved with the next phase of promoting nature in Great Bend.
The Barton County Arts Council has taken the lead in the community Birdhouse Project. People are being encouraged to add larger than life artist-decorated "birdhouses" throughout the city. Unpainted birdhouses ranging from 3 to 5 feet tall are available now at the Arts Center.
Arts Council board chairman Rick Abel commented, "The Barton County Arts Council is most pleased and eager to assist in this project. It honors both our wild birds and our many talented local artists."
Already, four houses have been purchased by downtown Great Bend’s My Town businesses, and the Best Western Angus Inn and Travelers Budget Inn will each add sets of three to their landscaping, Collier said.
My Town’s Mark Mingenback said he is enthused about the possibilities. "We are excited about My Town’s participation in the birdhouse project. This project ties the retail community to the songbird habitat project and the Wetlands & Wildlife National Scenic Byway very nicely. It allows visitors to experience a birding theme throughout Great Bend."
For information about the Songbird Habitat or the Birdhouse Project, contact the Great Bend Convention & Visitors Bureau by calling 620-792-2750, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Information can also be found at www.VisitGreatBend.com.