International visitors take in Huron Fringe Birding Festival

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Newton George of Tobago

(L) Birding Festival volunteer, Norah Toth, Tobago visitor Newton George and Festival board member, Jim Duncan

The Huron Fringe Birding Festival at MacGregor Point National Park continues to attract visitors from around the word.

This year, from the exotic rainforests of Tabago, West Indies, Newton George visited the Canadian forests of MacGregor Park in southwestern Ontario.

George spent the last week (until June 3) in MacGregor Point Park as a visitor to the Huron Fringe Birding Festival.

"It is amazing here," said George.  "The park is very beautiful and the way the environment is protected is exceptional."

As a birdwatcher, George's interest was naturally in the birds of the area.  "Up to Thursday," said George, "I saw 90 specials and, of those, 50 were lifers!"

George operates a tourist nature travel business in Tobago where he takes visitors from around the world on natural bird watching tours. "Of course our birds are much more exotic and colourful," said George, "but that doesn't make them any more beautiful or interesting than those found here."

Newton worked for the Trinidad & Tobago Forestry Department for 23 years, monitoring and protecting the oldest protected rainforest in the western hemisphere. Between 1971 and 1981, he was Custodian of the island of Little Tobago.

As a birdwatcher, George has travelled to India, Africa, Brazil, Venezuela, England, Germany and Columbia, among others.  He has, in fact, visited four of the world’s five continents to observe different wildlife environments and attend conferences

"Like your area here, our island of Tobago is tourist oriented," said George. "In fact, 40 percent of our economy is tourist based."

George is a past Game Warden for the Island of Tobago and travels frequently to Birding Festivals, representing the Tobagan government.

George was asked to attend the Huron Fringe Birding Festival by Stewart Nutt and Doug Pedwell of the Friends of MacGregor, who had visited Tobago on birdwatching expeditions.

"I was very happy to come to the birding festival," said George. "The Canadian people are incredible.  The hospitality I've received is amazing and my only regret is that I did not bring my wife with me but .... we are both coming next year!"

To learn more about George's nature tours of Tobago go to:  Newton@NewtonGeorge.com

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Sunday, June 03, 2012