If you’ve got an affinity for birds, beers or perhaps both, the upcoming Wild Brew event is a match made in heaven. The event, helmed by the George Miksch Sutton Avian Research Center, is a one-of-a-kind affair that combines top-notch food from the Tulsa area with first rate local beers, wines and spirits. On top of that, there is live music, demonstrations from local artists, opportunities for selfies with an array of live birds, plus a silent auction. The live birds include a Narragansett turkey, a red-tailed hawk and a golden pheasant. 

Local Tulsa artist Josh Stout will be on site doing a live painting that will be auctioned off during the event. 

“We will have an art gallery set up at the event with donated artwork from well-known local artists who support the Sutton Center’s conservation work,” says Christina King, communications officer with the research center. “People will be able to purchase artwork during the event.” 

The annual fundraiser supports the Sutton Center, an internationally recognized non-profit established in 1983 that’s best known for its work with bald eagles. A decade ago, the bald eagle was on the endangered list. Now, they fly the Oklahoma skies with regularity. After this success, the Sutton Center is now trying to save more endangered birds, such as the masked bobwhite and Attwater’s prairie chicken. The center also keeps tabs on bald eagles through satellite tracking, surveys and a live nest webcam. All in all, the center operates with the goal of finding conservation solutions for birds and the natural world through science and education.

On top of protecting birds like the bald eagle, the Sutton Center also launched a major study of Oklahoma’s breeding birds for a five year statewide survey. The results will help to understand how these Oklahoma animals are faring. 

There are also “All About Birds” Ambassador Programs, meant to share the Sutton Center’s expertise with students all across the state of Oklahoma. Each program combines science and environmental education along with interactive presentations, activities and live animal guests. 

“We have several very exciting projects happening at the Sutton Center and around Oklahoma,” says King. “We are well known nationwide, but a hidden gem locally!”

Conservation internships bring high school and college students into the fold on real projects, as they play a role in wildlife conservation. Satellite tracking of young bald eagles lets students and the public continue to follow the birds on their journey. 

The Sutton Scholarship Award, with support from NatureWorks and corporate sponsors, recognizes Oklahoma high school students who demonstrate the ability to effectively communicate current conservation topics in compelling ways through different art mediums. Coupled with the viewing of baby bald eagles, there are also videos of the eagles hunting, feeding and defending their nests. 

As a non-profit, the best way to help the Sutton Center is through donations or the volunteering of your time. The Wild Brew event, hosted at Tulsa’s Cox Business Convention Center on Aug. 26 from 5-8 p.m., is also a wonderful way to help the center and have a great time doing it. General admission is $75. The live local music includes Shelby Eicher, Kyle Reid, and Biscuits and Gravy. 

Drink a beer and save a bird!

Main image cutline: The George Miksch Sutton Avian Research Center offers education and programming alongside its Wild Brew event. Photo courtesy the Sutton Avian Research Center

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