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Friends of Tamarac to host event Saturday in mall

Earlier this month, the annual fall festival at Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge was canceled, due to the fact that the refuge was closed in the wake of the partial federal government shutdown.

It was then that the Friends of Tamarac went to work and began planning to relocate and reschedule several of the activities planned for that festival.

That planning will come to fruition this weekend at the Washington Square Mall, as the Friends of Tamarac have planned a variety of activities to take place there this Saturday and Sunday, in conjunction with the awards ceremony for their annual photo contest.

This Saturday, Oct. 19, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., there will be nature activity tables set up throughout the mall, along with a quilt raffle, a photo display featuring all the breathtaking images entered in the annual Tamarac Photo Contest, and a Friends of Tamarac Gift Shop.

The nature activity tables will feature displays of a variety of items from nature, such as insects, fruits and berries, pine cones, wasp nests and animal furs, magnifying glasses to study the displays, a photo slide show and more.

Another display table will feature information on the Discovery Center, an upcoming project of the Friends to build a facility at Tamarac to host its various environmental education programs for children.

There will also be a banner on display, “75 Reasons Why I Love Tamarac,” in honor of the refuge’s 75th anniversary. Kids of all ages are invited to write or draw on the banner, to describe all the reasons why the Tamarac Refuge is such a special place.

Each person who writes on the banner will get a special commemorative Friends of Tamarac wooden nickel; the banner will be displayed at upcoming events at the Refuge once it reopens.

From 12:30 to 1:30, Friends of Tamarac volunteer educator Connie Carlson will share an interactive puppet presentation featuring stories of the various types of wildlife that make their home at Tamarac.

At 2 p.m., there will be a cake cutting in honor of the Friends of Tamarac’s 20th anniversary. The cake will be cut by Nancy Moulden, a charter member of the Friends, which was organized in 1991 and became a non-profit organization in 1993.

People will also be able to browse through a photo display featuring entries in the annual Tamarac Photo Contest, and to vote on their favorites — one of which will earn the coveted People’s Choice Award.

All the award winners, including the People’s Choice, will be announced at the awards ceremony, which is set for Sunday, Oct. 20 from 2 to 3 p.m. This is also when the raffle drawing will take place for a special commemorative quilt made by Friends of Tamarac members.