We love to make our guests cry.
Wow, what a week! So much fun, so much hard work, so many people to thank.
For one week a year we entertain about 100 people a day, feeding them, taking them on birding and nature field trips, showing off our guides’ amazing talents with popcorn talks, evening presentations, and according to the participants, having lots of fun.
Here at OCR, we know “we” is a big word. The gargantuan “we” that makes this event happen behind the scenes are OSSUM!
From the breakfast at Burnwood in the AM to the lunches in the field (made with love by the early-rising ladies in the deli at Foodland) to the ACE adventures super-safe bus drivers that make it possible to criss-cross the New River Gorge Region as a group. Sharon, Cindy and the staff at the CVB put up with a lot over the course of the year. Pastor Ray Crook and the ladies of the ramps who feed a few lucky trips each year at the Danese Community Center.
Sherri at the NPS patiently reminds me, then re-answers the same questions I had last year as we fill out the National Park Service permit forms.
Spouses and friends all contribute in their own way, from jumping in and volunteering to stitching names on hats or keeping the home fires burning while we immerse ourselves in the week.
The landowners like Dave Ross of Dave’s Exxon who allows us to traipse onto his family’s fields and revel in the unexplainable song of the Bobolink.
I am surely missing some, like a bird I forgot to mention in all the excitement, but they are no less appreciated.
We’ve seen the birds countless times. What is amazing is when one of our guests, world famous authors, or guides sees the birds for the first time. At that moment everyone in the group can feel the wonder, awe and emotion wash over us. “We” all feel the joy.
Tears of joy are far too rare in this world. Those feelings are why we do this event.
Thank you to all our past and future guests. We are honored to share this festival with you.
I am not crying.