Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Support the Tropicbirds!

Do you care about the future of birding? I imagine it's safe to say that you do. The future of birding rests on the interest and participation of young people in the birding community. One could argue that many birders discover the joys of birding in adulthood, but it's no coincidence that many of North America's top birders--Jon Dunn, Kenn Kaufman, David Sibley, and Pete Dunne, to name a few--began birding as children.

Alright, we've established that young birders are crucial to the future of birding. Allow me to introduce the American Birding Association's (ABA) youth education program.

The ABA provides fantastic opportunities for young birders. I've benefited from many of them. Three main opportunities exist: the Young Birder of the Year Contest (YBY), camps geared for young birders, and publications about birding. The YBY encourages young birders to hone their skills in note-taking, photography, writing, and illustration. Its participants invariably come out as better birders. In addition to allowing young birders to travel and see new birds, the ABA's camps give young birders the chance to meet like-minded young people, often creating life-long friendships. Lastly, the ABA's publications--including Birding, Winging It, and North American Birds--allow young birders to learn more about birds and to connect with the birding community.

Well, that's great, but how can you help? It's simple. The ABA can't run these programs without financial support. Donating to the ABA's youth education program will enrich the lives of young people and help the future of birding.

That's where I come in. I've been selected to participate in the Great Texas Birding Classic on the ABA's Tropicbirds team. For the uninitiated, the Great Texas Birding Classic is a competitive birding event in which teams try to find as many species as possible in a day. The Tropicbirds, a team of five enthusiastic young birders, have the goal to raise funds for the ABA's youth education program.

If you have any interest in supporting the Tropicbirds, please visit the pledge page on the ABA's website for more details: http://www.aba.org/yb/tropicbirds/pledge.html. You can pledge an amount per species we find on our Big Day, or just play it safe and donate a lump sum. Donating online is probably the easiest option. If you have any questions or do not wish to pledge online, feel free to email me at prairiemerlin AT gmail.com.


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