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2023 Festival Yearbook

Wings over the Rockies Nature Festival celebrated the 26th annual event in 2023. Our theme for this year’s festival was Wildlife and Landscapes. With more than 110 events over the week, we had an average event attendance of 63%, somewhat lower than previous years. However, our revenue for the festival was the highest ever with ticket sales the best since 2017.

We were very pleased to have had Dale Leckie, as our guest speaker. Dr. Leckie’s key note presentation addressed the theme of the 2023 festival by exploring the close relationship between landscape (geology) and wildlife in our area and western Canada

Not to be missed was the Wings’ finale concert. Séan McCann, co-founder of the iconic Canadian band Great Big Sea and recipient of the Order of Canada, took to the stage and royally entertained the almost sold-out crowd at the Columbia Valley Centre on Sunday, May 14. In a rollicking mix of songs, stories and laughter drawn from his Maritime roots, Sean’s concert featured the “Great Big Songbook” – a tribute to 30 years of Great Big Sea music.

Wings Online Auction continued its success in funding our society. A special thanks to Adventure Canada for its trip donation, to our sponsors Home Hardware and Columbia Valley Arts and to the many donations offered by our local businesses, organizations and individuals for recreational goods, events, art, books and food. For the third year, we want to thank our auction service provider, Fundables, a local software company.

We welcomed the continued support of our attendees, 50% local to our community, 35% Alberta residents and 15% coming from other locales in British Columbia, other provinces of Canada, United States and overseas. Of course, none of this would be possible without the participation and engagement of our many presenters, leaders and local volunteers. We are excitedly looking forward to delivering our 27th Festival, May 6 – 12, 2024.


2022 Festival Yearbook

Wing’s celebrated the 25th annual festival in 2022. It was so exhilarating to once again be able to have a full event calendar with our theme: Celebrating Nature … Winging it for 25 Years! With over 100 events over the week, we had an average attendance rate of 74% over all of our events. Our financials for the festival were in line with pre-covid numbers with better ticket sales than in 2018 and 2019. People were more than willing to come to the festival after the two year hiatus.

We were very pleased to have had Harvey Locke, as our guest speaker. As a Canadian conservationist, writer, and photographer, he is recognized as a global leader in the field of parks, wilderness, wildlife and large landscape conservation. His presentation with his unique perspectives helped all of us appreciate and celebrate nature.

We also were very pleased that our music evening with The Wardens was a sellout. The Wardens stories and mountain music rise from the very land they’ve protected as Canadian national park wardens collectively for over 50 years. They are such a good fit for our festival!

Wings Online Auction continued its success in funding our society. A special thanks to Adventure Canada for its trip donation, to our sponsors Home Hardware, British Columbia Fairs and Festivals, Regional District of East Kootenay the many other donations offered by our local businesses, organizations and individuals from recreational goods and events, to art, to books and to food. For the second year, we want to thank our auction service, run by a valley company, Fundables.

We were pleased with the continued support of our attendees, coming from far and wide, as well as our many presenters, leaders and local volunteers. We are excitedly looking forward to delivering our 26th Celebration May 8 – 14, 2023.


2021 Festival Yearbook

Wing’s 2021 Live Outdoor events were cancelled due to Covid. The festival proceeded online with both Live and On Demand online programs, through the generosity of Wings Expert Presenters. A wide variety of  nature, history, and adventure was shared. The programs received excellent reviews from our Wings viewers.

Wings affiliates, the Invermere School System and the Invermere Public Library, were able to move forward with INSPIRED BY NATURE programs which assisted over 600 students to have a better understanding of nature and their role as stewards of the valley.

The Community participated in a bird house building contest. Some 250 blue birdhouse kits were distributed to the businesses and families in the valley thanks to the support of Home Hardware, Newhouse Self Storage and Rona plus the hard work of some of our dedicated volunteers. Many of the bluebird houses went on display during the festival in the Wildlife Art exhibit hosted by CV Arts at Pynelogs gallery.

Check out the winners of the Fairmont Hot Springs Wings Over the Rockies photo contest. The photo contest received a fine collection of photos of the valley in 4 categories – Wildlife, Landscape. Gentle Recreation, and Stewardship. It is Wing’s First Annual Photo Contest. Start collecting your best photos now for submission in the 2022 Photo Contest.

Wings first ever Online Auction was a great success thanks to Adventure Canada, the many exciting events and facilities offered and all the goodies from art, to books, to food that were donated. The auction was run by a new valley company, Fundables. They were easy to work with and they did everything possible to make the auction a success. We thank them and we recommend them!

Wings successfully reinvented itself and found new ways to fly thanks to all the support from our business community, volunteers, and partnering organizations. We are excitedly looking forward to delivering a special 25th Celebration May 9-15, 2022.


2020 Festival Yearbook

Covid-19 prevented our 2020 festival from flying. The birds will be back! And we will too, to witness the spring migration in 2021.


2019 Festival Yearbook

Wings Over the Rockies 2019

Go Ahead…Explore!

May 6th to 12th, 2019

With over 100 events to choose from, the fabulous Spring weather, plenty of wildlife to see and a dynamic Keynote Speaker, we sure had a terrific 2019 Festival. Our Festival photographers, Don Delany & Pat Morrow captured so many photos of the folks enjoying the Festival…it was hard to capture a frown since everyone was having such a great time!!


2018 Festival Yearbook

Wings Over the Rockies 2018

Webs & Roots: Talk About Networking!

May 7th to 13th, 2018


This year’s Wings Over the Rockies Festival explored the theme Webs & Roots: Talk About Networking! in recognition of Ecologist Dr. Suzanne Simard who while researching her doctoral thesis discovered that trees use a network of soil fungi to communicate their needs and send each other nutrients through a network of roots and web-type fungi buried in the soil.

With over 100 events to choose from over 7-days, there was a variety of hikes, paddles, presentations and field trips hosted by a large cross-section of educators, wildlife experts, conservationists, ecologists, historians, biologists and more…

Whether it’s talking and networking to spread a web of ideas, or finding ways that birds depend on trees for nesting, safety and nutrients, or how lakes are networked by trails, webs and roots or having a more global view of how we can live in a more interconnected world that binds together for a stronger system of communication and social networks, thanks for joining us for our 22nd annual Festival in the beautiful Columbia Valley to experience ways to connect and network with like-minded people.



2017 Festival Yearbook

Wings Over the Rockies 2017

Birds, Bats, Bears & Beyond…

May 8thto 15th, 2017

The year’s Wings Over the Rockies Festival explored the theme Birds, Bats, Bears & Beyond in recognition of Canada’s interconnected, but increasingly challenged wildlife – international migratory birds; mysterious bats and grizzly bears, all symbols of our wilderness. The festival (over 100 events) brought in experts to provide insights into the lives of these animals and the conservation challenges in protecting them. Wings Fest provides opportunities for visitors and locals alike to engage in wildlife watching and learn about the nature of the Columbia Valley – the envy of the world.

We were honoured that Danny Catt was the the Keynote Speaker at the Gala on Saturday May 13. Danny is an internationally known conservationist, photographer and environmental educator. He spent more than decade in the upper Columbia Valley as a park planner when he received a Rotary International ‘Preserve Planet Earth’ scholarship to study conservation around the globe. Since then, Danny has explored and photographed the people, landscapes and wildlife of close to 100 countries. Now head of British Columbia Institute of Technology’s Fish, Wildlife and Recreational Land Management program he inspires future generations of wildlife conservationists.


2016 Festival Yearbook


20thAnnual Wings Over the Rockies Festival

May 9-15, 2016

Through presentations, fieldtrips, paddles, and workshops, the Festival explored the essential role of fresh water resources in our Columbia Valley, examined the current conditions in our lakes, rivers, creeks and glaciers, and discussed the challenges our water resources will face in the future from climate change, population growth, recreational use, invasive species and other pressures.

Within this umbrella, the Festival continued to offer amazing birding opportunities and a wide variety of presentations and field trips examining many aspects of the natural environment in our Columbia Valley.



Keynote Speaker and Guest Scientist

We were honoured that David Schindler, an internationally celebrated scientist who has led efforts to protect fresh water resources in Canada and around the world, was the Keynote Speaker and Guest Scientist for the 2016 Wings Festival – Reflections on Water.

Dr. Schindler received his doctorate from Oxford University where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. Later, he directed the Experimental Lakes Project of the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans near Kenora, Ontario and his ground-breaking research on boreal aquatic ecosystems has been widely used in formulating ecological management policy around the world. Most recently, Dr. Schindler served as the Killam Memorial Professor of Ecology at the University of Alberta, Edmonton from where he retired to the Brisco wetlands several years ago.

Over his 50-year career, Dr. Schindler has authored over 300 scientific publications and received numerous awards and honors for his remarkable accomplishments including the highly prestigious Stockholm Water Prize and the Officer of the Order of Canada.

Through tireless outreach and collaboration with policy makers, Dr. Schindler has had a significant impact on environmental policy. He regularly writes articles for popular magazines, provides commentary for radio and television and serves an expert advisor for environmental documentaries, as well as giving an average of 50 public lectures per year on a variety of issues related to the aquatic sciences.

Record Participation at the 2015 Wings Over the Rockies Festival

The 2015 Wings Festival – Fossils & Feathers enjoyed record attendance with over 2300 bookings for 100 events.  We would like to thank these participants for making the 2015 Festival so successful.

Donation to the Canadian Red Cross for Nepal Relief

Wings donated the entire proceeds of Pat and Baiba Morrow’s Heart of the Himalaya presentation during the 2015 Festival, together with the contents from a collection jar, a total of $4184 to the Canadian Red Cross for relief work following the devastating earthquake in Nepal.  This amount was doubled by a matching contribution from the Government of Canada.

Wings Over the Rockies 2016 Costa Rica Trip

After great success this year, Eagle-Eye Tours is once again offering a special birding tour in Costa Rica for past participants and friends of Wings Over the Rockies. The tour will be led by Cam Gillies who many of you will know as an event leader and banquet emcee at Wings Festivals. Cam’s PhD studied the movement of forest birds in Costa Rica.

This year’s tour saw 336 species of birds including quetzals, tanagers, antbirds, a plethora of hummingbirds and much more plus sloths, orchids, frogs and butterflies.  The tour samples a range of habitats from the high cloud forest to coastal mangroves.  The tour will be Feb. 2 – 12, is limited to 12 people and costs $3,995 CAD. Go to for full details on itinerary, featured birds, what to expect, and registration.