Decoy building to be featured at Spring Wings

The 16th annual Spring Wings Festival is returning to flight.

The annual event hosted by The Friends of Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge runs from May 17-19. The public is invited to participate in one of the more unique, hands-on workshops offered: Decoy Carving. The workshop is May 17 from 1-6 p.m. at the multipurpose/exhibit building at the Churchill County Parks and Recreation Complex on Sheckler Road.

Workshop costs $30 and all materials and expert instructions are supplied by the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association (PFDA), with a limit of 16 seats available. Participants will learn the art and history of decoy carving, while crafting their own Black-necked Stilt, one of the Lahontan Valley’s iconic migratory shorebirds.

The Pacific Flyway Decoy Association is a non-profit art association dedicated to the preservation of wildfowl art through education. Decoy carving is an original American art form, which began more than 200 years ago with the development of the first duck decoys.

What started out as a functional need to improve the harvesting of waterfowl has evolved into the modern day art of sculpting and painting a block of wood into a lifelike North American bird.

The PFDA formally began in 1971 as a result of local gatherings and swap meets for duck hunters who carved their own decoys. After a few parking lot get-togethers were held in in the city of Martinez, Calif., and in 1971 a more organized event in Berkeley became the origin of the PFDA competitive show.

The founders of this event are affectionately known as the ‘Tule Rats’. This quickly became an annual show, slowly leaving the waterfowl hunter/carver gatherings behind and making way for artists of all backgrounds and interests.

The PFDA is currently based out of Sacramento where among their major objectives as a nonprofit are “to host an annual art show in the Sacramento area emphasizing the beauty of [the] native bird population, and to educate the public about an original American art form … decoy carving.”

For workshop reservations, visit, or call Stillwater refuge at 775-423-5128.


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