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 Bird Conservation Through Education TM

September 25, 2012 

In This Issue
Focus on Diversity Conference
Fred Bodsworth: Last of his kind
National Public Lands Day
Thanks to our BEN Bulletin sponsor:
Sylvan Dell Publishing
Sylvan Dell Publishing
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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."

Quick Links
Focus on Diversity Conference
Photo credit: Drew Lanham
John Heinz NWR hosted the first event ever focused on the issue of the lack of diversity in the American birding community. That historic gathering opened a public dialogue on a topic that has been whispered about for decades.


On October 13th, the second Focus on Diversity: Changing the Face of American Birding Conference will herald concerned birders and dedicated bird and environmental educators to Minnesota Valley NWR in Bloomington, Minnesota. This Midwest/Great Lakes Region conference will further examine why such a narrow swath of Americans are represented in the birding community.


High-profile presenters like Kenn Kaufman, Dudley Edmondson, and Drew Lanham will share effective strategies for engaging new people with birding opportunities. Participants will leave the conference better prepared to recruit broader audiences for their respective programs and organizations.


The Focus on Diversity conference will bring together interpretive naturalists, park/nature center staff, educators, bird club members, community leaders, and everyone in the birding community.


Conference participants will:

  • further their knowledge of the current birding community; 
  • understand the obstacles to birding for various groups; 
  • identify effective bird outreach strategies, and;
  • develop simple goals to reach new audiences with birding.

Registration information can be found by clicking here.


Fred Bodsworth: Last of his kind
by Paul Baicich


Creative Canadian writer, Fred Bodsworth, passed away on Saturday, September 15.  He was just short of his 94th birthday.


Bodsworth, born 1918, started his writing career in journalism, but, beginning in 1955, he found his niche in the field of freelance writing and editing. The first of his four novels was his most successful: Last of the Curlews  (1955, Dodd Mead).


This book follows a solitary Eskimo Curlew's dangerous 9,000-mile journey from nesting grounds inside the Arctic Circle to the end of South America and back again. The narrative serves as symbolic: a mixture of examining the wonders of migration, the threat of extinction, and the excesses of man's role on the environment. The lone Eskimo Curlew survivor comes to represent the potential for a disappearing species, and for all that is endangered in nature. The book sold over three million copies and has been translated into a dozen languages.

The impact of Bodsworth's writing was seen by many as equal to the influence of Aldo Leopold's Sand County Almanac  (1949) and Rachel Carson's Silent Spring (1962).  Appearing in 1955, in a period between these other two books, Last of the Curlews also served to prepare the public for an environmental movement that was yet to arise. The conservation community was given a real boost by Bodsworth's work, and many a committed environmentalist of a certain age was buoyed by the message of
Last of the Curlews.


On his purpose for writing, Fred Bodsworth explained: "Out of the blending of human and animal stories comes the theme that I hope is inherent in all my books: that man is an inescapable part of all nature, that its welfare is his welfare, that to survive he cannot continue acting and regarding himself as a spectator looking on from somewhere outside."


Last of the Curlews  was even made into an animated film by Hanna-Barbera Productions, the same folks who gave us the Flintstones. It was first shown in October 1972, appearing as the very first ABC Afterschool Special.
It won an Emmy in 1973.


If you have never read the short and wonderful Last of the Curlews, get yourself a copy. I doubt that any bird educator will be disappointed.
National Public Lands Day Presents Volunteer and Bird Education Opportunities

National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is September 29th! It's a day when volunteers are able to give their time and energy to improve and enhance the public lands we use and enjoy. More than 170,000 volunteers are expected at more than 2,100 sites across the country to take part in the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in the United States.
Last year, the event contributed an estimated $17 million in volunteer services to public lands, which include planting about 100,000 trees, shrubs and other native plants, as well as building and maintaining approximately 1,500 miles of trails.

By  promoting volunteerism as a healthy activity, the event has been designed to encourage individual site managers to host and/or promote recreational activities such as nature hikes, runs, bike rides, and other physical activities. Of course, the healthy features of outdoor bird education can always play a role, and should do so in the years to come.

For more information visit

BEN: Connecting Bird Educators TM
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Newsletter maintained by: The Council for Environmental Education, Flying WILD and the BEN Committee.