Thanks to our BEN Bulletin sponsor:
The Bird Education Network (BEN) was created following the February 2007 National Gathering, hosted by the Council for Environmental Education (CEE). BEN is a CEE initiative that seeks to connect and support a community of bird education professionals.
Over 3,000 individuals representing 300 organizations receive communications and engage in professional dialogue through the BEN-run Bird Education Listserv.
A BEN Committee has been established to provide advice and guidance for this important initiative, to advance "bird conservation through education."
Pledge to Fledge and More
Pledge to Fledge (P2F), an effort to mobilize everyday birders across six continents to share their interest for birding with the non-birding people in their lives. The website is www.pledgetofledge.org.
The goal of P2F is to bring birding out of the shadows, popularize birding worldwide, and generate more awareness of bird conservation issues. Because the best way to do this is for passionate b
irders to spread the word to non-birders, P2F wants volunteers to dedicate two weekends a year to taking neighbors, friends, family members, local kids, or any other "non-birders" out birding - 'fledging' a new birder. The kick-off weekend is set for August 24-26th 2012.
The great thing about the P2F campaign is that virtually anyone can participate and help raise awareness of birds and birding. There is an online pledge that bird enthusiasts can sign to show their support for this innovative movement. The website includes resources to help guide birders in their efforts to get others interested in birding.
Bird educators can help the Pledge to Fledge mission in a number of ways:
1. Signing the online pledge.
2. Bringing a friend or two to a local park to enjoy the birds there.
3. Hosting a small event at your center, park, refuge, or neighborhood.
4. Posting a link to Pledge to Fledge on your website/blog.
5. Embedding the P2F banner Embedding the P2F banner (click here) on your website/blog.
ABA Mid-Atlantic Young Birder Conference
The ABA and Leica Sport Optics have partnered to create a unique birding experience focusing upon young birders and their mentors in the Mid-Atlantic area. Co-sponsored by the Delaware Nature Society and the Delmarva Ornithological Society's youth birders, the Delaware Dunlins, a conference will be held on the grounds of Ashland Nature Center in Hockessin, Delaware on September 22, 2012.
Striving to bring more young birders together in a rich learning atmosphere, the event has planned a day filled with birding, learning, fun, and friendship. Bird walks will be led by the ABA and Leica staff around the 242 acre preserve at Ashland, along with concurrent indoor sessions for new and experienced young birders alike, allowing everyone from elementary school through high school to find things of interest. There will also be special sessions by and for parents, mentors, and club coordinators. They will also spend part of the day on top of Hawk Watch Hill, where the Ashland Hawk Watch tallies 13,000+ raptors each autumn.
Keynote presentations include ABA's Young Birder of the Year 2012, the very talented Marie McGee, and Bill Thompson III, editor of Bird Watcher's Digest
and author of The Young Birder's Guide to Birds of Eastern North America
(all attendees will receive a free copy
) and The Young Birder's Guide to Birds of North America
. They expect to deliver a one-two punch intended to have everyone fired up about birding and its potential to enrich and connect us all, kid or adult.
For complete details, please visit aba.org/events/MAYBC.
To register, please visit aba.org/events/MAYBC12/reg or call 800-850-2473.
Model Adult Bird Education Effort in Massachusetts
by Paul J. Baicich
It all started in August 2004, and it has been a real success.
Indeed, the Birder's Certificate Program (BCP) has been operating for eight years out of Mass Audubon's Joppa Flats Education Center, at Newburyport, and it has developed into an ornithology course combined with field time and self-directed study.
BCP covers 12 separate modules (e.g., behavior, ecology, biogeography, and conservation) that can be completed within one year. Those who complete the BCP program receive a certificate of achievement and a custom binocular harness. Perhaps best of all, they also get bragging rights.
The goals of BCP have been to develop a skilled base of birders, to find ways to contribute to increasing the study of birds, and to encourage cooperation between birders and professionals. For many, the real pay-off is to develop a cadre of skilled program and trip leaders and to contribute to bird conservation in Massachusetts.
The classes (limited to 18 participants) are run by five rotating instructors, each with separate assignments. Interaction with these instructors, in the classroom and the field, is one of the highlights of the course for many of the students.
In the words of David Larson, Education Coordinator at the Joppa Flats Education Center and the Director of BCP, "The audience for this program includes birders who want to go beyond simple field identification, nature enthusiasts who want to gain an in- depth knowledge of bird life, and natural history program leaders who want to gain scientific insight into their work."
One important feature of BCP is the independent and self-directed study module, an opportunity to do some creative advanced work. The BCP approach, now entering its ninth year, is a fine model that deserves close examination and is an effort that might be reproduced elsewhere.
For more on how the BCP model works for adults, see:
NAAEE Environmental Education Video Contest
The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, recently announced its Environmental Education (EE) video contest for high school and college undergraduate students. The focus of the contest is to showcase environmental education heroes-people who can inspire students to chart a career path in environmental education and harness their own power to improve the world. Here is a real opportunity for bird-oriented subjects
Four winners (two from the high school level and two from the college undergraduate level) will receive an iPad3, and their video will be featured on NAAEE's website and at the NAAEE annual conference in Oakland, CA in October 2012.
Entries will be in the form of video profiles of educators discussing what they do and how they found their path to help educate and empower others to value and protect our planet. A diversity of faces in these videos is expected. Winning profiles will reflect people from diverse backgrounds, genders, ethnicities, communities, and in a wide variety of career fields. NAAEE is especially interested in stories of Native Americans, Latinos and Hispanic Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, women, and others from ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds.
Go to http://www.naaee.net/careervideocontest for more information.
The deadline for video submissions is August 17, 2012.